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Tag: public health

Where the germs are

[podcast][/podcast] Ah, vacation time! Relaxing by the beach or in the mountains, retiring at night to a filthy hotel room, crawling with germs… Wait, what? Okay, that might be a slight overstatement of the hygienic challenges of hotel rooms, but the fact remains that hotel rooms are, ultimately, public spaces, inhabited by hundreds of different …

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Disease-Hunting Scientists: Jonathan Epstein and the search for SARS

[podcast][/podcast] My next book, due out this summer from Enslow Publishers, is entitled Disease-Hunting Scientist: Careers Hunting Deadly Diseases. Each of its chapters focuses on one particular scientist whose work is related to hunting disease. The chapters are much longer than these science columns, but I thought in honour of the book’s release, I’d try …

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An instantaneous, universal, programmable vaccine?

[podcast][/podcast] Efforts to immunize people against disease go back to at least 600 B.C., when the Chinese attempted to immunize people against smallpox by putting smallpox material in their nostrils (the permitting of which, I would think, would require a great deal of faith in your doctor). Modern immunization began in 1796 when a British …

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Level Four labs

The images are familiar from TV and movies: scientists in plastic space suits in a high-tech laboratory, desperately trying to identify some mysterious germ threatening to wipe out humanity. Usually, such scenes are set at the Centers for Disease Control laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia, but in the future, they could be set in Winnipeg, where …

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As the latest crop of First Graders trundle off to school, I can’t help thinking back to my first year of school in Texas, and the badge of maturity I proudly wore on my left arm: the round scar produced by smallpox vaccination. It proved I was practically grown-up. Today, kids no longer receive smallpox …

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Kitchen germs

In my small, elderly house, the bathroom opens onto the kitchen, which has always worried me: I keep picturing armies of bacteria marching out of the bathroom to contaminate my food. It turns out my concern is misguided: a recent study indicates it’s more likely bacteria from the kitchen will contaminate my bathroom.. Scientists from …

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The single phrase that’s probably heard more this time of the year than any other, aside from “Cold enough for ya?”, is “the flu.” “Jimmy’s come down with the flu.” “I won’t be in today, I’ve got a touch of the flu.” “Hey, have you caught the flu that’s going around?” Although we tend to …

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