Think twice about hooking up: STD rates are at an all-time high. Worse, the latest STD making the rounds could literally make your genitals rot off. Donovanosis, also known as granuloma inguinale, is a sexually transmitted infection that turns a person’s genitals into flesh-eating ulcers. It can also infect the mouth, nose, and chest.
The disease has typically been reported in warm, humid regions including India, southern Africa, central Australia, and the Caribbean, but cases have also appeared in cooler climates. The CDC records about 100 cases in the U.S. each year. This summer, the U.K. saw a rash of cases as well.
As if the reports widely circulated around the globe about the rapid spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the threat posed by these adapted germs were not bad enough, now, there is a new group of bacteria that should concern the general public. If you thought that hand sanitizers were going to protect you from diseases, think again: bacteria resistant to the cleansing effects of hand sanitizers have now been discovered.
A group of doctors and scientists in Australia have recently discovered that a particular species of bacteria, Enterococcus faecium, has shown tolerance to the alcohol-based solution found in hand sanitizers in hospitals. These bacteria are capable of infecting multiple parts of the human body including, but not limited to the skin, bladder, urinary tract, heart, blood, and digestive tract. Beyond Australia, they are the leading contributor to a blood infection called sepsis
When we hear “Bubonic Plague,” Europe in the Middle Ages may come to mind. From 1347 to 1350, the Bubonic Plague or the “Black Death” spread across the continent, killing approximately 50 million people, which at the time accounted for more than one-third of Europe’s population. However, the disease is still very much with us, with roughly 600 cases diagnosed annually across the globe.
The countries currently experiencing the largest incidents of plague include Peru, the Republic of Congo, and Madagascar. In the United States, incidents of Plague are largely confined to rural parts of the country, such as a recent report of a child with Bubonic Plague in Idaho.
We all want to leave a legacy. Whether that takes the form of creative works, breakthrough discoveries, children, or other actions, we all want a way to show we were here. For nearly all of us, though, that legacy will be a literal ton of plastic garbage. Every disposable cup, straw, food wrapper, plastic bag, toy and bottle we use adds up to a lot of trash—9 billion tons of it and counting. The vast majority is still here, and will still be here thousands of years after we are gone. It is our most lasting legacy.
It is a problem of monumental proportions, and a solution is urgently needed. Perhaps science has discovered one. At a recycling plant in Japan in 2016, researchers discovered a microbe that has evolved to eat plastic.
What's Left Behind By the Melting Permafrost Could Be More Dangerous Than Rising Tides, Droughts or Floods
As bad as this year’s flu epidemic has been, at least in the United States, most of us rest easy knowing that deadlier and nastier mass-murdering pathogens such as bubonic plague and smallpox live mostly in our collective memory. Or do they? As climate change melts longstanding permafrost, some scientists fear that “zombie pathogens,” which have been slumbering for centuries, might be waking up, threatening to overtake humanity again.
Permafrost refers to a layer of permanently frozen earth—it has to be frozen for a minimum of two years to qualify—found primarily in most continually frosty parts of the world such as the Arctic Circle, Greenland, Alaska and Siberia. According to National Geographic, there are some 22.8 million square miles of permafrost in the world. Research has shown that Earth's permafrost heated up by 6 degrees Celsius during the 20th century and scientists predict even more dramatic melting by 2100. Not only will this raise ocean levels and exacerbate erosion, it may also mean a release of pathogens better left frozen.
As anyone who’s tried astronaut ice cream as a child can attest, space food can be a bit... odd.
However, it’s about to get much odder, as researchers at Penn State have just found a way to convert astronauts’ poop into an edible substance reminiscent of Vegemite, the controversial Australian yeast spread.
You may think of scarlet fever as one of those Victorian illnesses, now thankfully eradicated with modern medicine, which afflicted the consumption-weakened people of the era. In fact, scarlet fever is the result of a common bacterial infection gone untreated. The culprit is Group A streptococcus, which typically resides on our faces and in our throats, and is responsible for scarlet fever, strep throat, and impetigo.
While the infection has been controlled through better hygiene practices and antibiotics, reducing its incidences, it’s been making a dramatic comeback in the past couple years, leaving scientists scrambling to understand why.