Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'd love to marry you right now but I cantaloupe, because I just shit myself

Ah, word play. My partner and I laughed for a good hour last night about possible listeria-themed titles for my next blog update. You should have been there, it was pun-tastic.

So, I have to admit, I have been avoiding writing a new update because I just couldn't choose a topic to write about. There is so much going on right now in terms of fun diseases and outbreaks, and I don't want anybody to feel left out.

...which is why I've decided to do a quick round-up!

Listeria monocytogenes - Listeriosis
I feel like I'm the only one that actually cares about this. I've caught my parents eating cantaloupe on multiple occasions since the major listeria outbreaks hit the news. Maybe I just like to play it safe? Maybe I don't really like cantaloupe all that much to begin with? Maybe my parents are risk takers?

Either way, if you haven't heard by now, one of the "most dangerous" food-borne illness outbreaks is happening RIGHT NOW. Colorado-grown cantaloupes that were shipped to 25 states and various international countries are contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a very deadly, gram positive bacteria. Last year, there was a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in celery.

You might be thinking, "why is this so dangerous? We hear about food-borne illness outbreaks all the time", but this is an interesting microbe with an interesting motive. Not only is this the first case of Listeria monocytogenes in cantaloupe that we've ever seen, but there have been almost 80 infection cases reported, and 13 people have died since the initial reports of the outbreak.

This is awesome! Original posting by Katalini here.

According to the CDC, Listeriosis can take up to one week to 2 months before you start showing signs of infection after being exposed to the bacteria. It could be in you right now! Funnnn! What's even more fun is that Listeria monocytogenes can continue to flourish in cold environments, meaning storing your cantaloupe in the fridge will not stop colonies from expanding.

Listeriosis has very diverse symptoms and can depend on how advanced your infection actually is. It can present itself as an upset stomach, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, loss of balance, sore neck and muscles, convulsions, miscarriage, stillbirth and death.

If you think you may have Listeriosis, contact your local clinic or medical provider and request a test. The earlier the diagnosis, the better. Listeria monocytogenes is responsive to antibiotic treatment.

UPDATE: Listeria monocytogenes has just been traced to lettuce as well.

Two Heads are Better than One
Also, this happened:

I know the woman is saying "Frank AND Louie", but I really like the idea of her naming the cat "Frankenlouie".

Science Justifies Your Vices, Sometimes
Some idiot scientist decided to test the effects of caffeine and coffee consumption on women's moods and magically discovered that consuming 4 or more cups a day will improve your mood.

...I'm sorry, what? This is news?

Let's just get something straight before we jump into this. Caffeine is a stimulant drug. Yes, you heard me. While sometimes it is naturally produced, it can also be synthetically produced. Caffeine affects your central nervous system. Additionally, it takes about 12 hours for caffeine to completely leave your system. If you're drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day, I can almost guarantee that your brain wont have a moment to rest.

Just think about it.

RIG-1 Protein Identified to Fight Viral Infections
RIG-1 is a cytoplasmic pathogen recognition receptor that identifies viral RNA from cellular RNA, which is a huge breakthrough for possible drug treatments for viral infections, such as Hepatitis C, Measles, Rabies, West Nile Virus and Influenza. Researchers discovered that some viral RNA is typically double-stranded, whereas cellular (or self) RNA is single stranded.

Hollywood Exploits Nationwide Paranoia: Contagion

For weeks, everyone has been telling me that they think of me when they see ads for "Contagion". I kept thinking it was a new public health effort to reduce cold and flu cases this year through early education. Silly me!

There are some big names in this feature! Unfortunately, I think I'm the only person on the face of the planet that would actually enjoy seeing this. So, I'm going to take myself on a date. "One ticket for Contagion, please! ...yes, it's only me. Yes, I'm lonely."

EDIT: Listen to an interview with the real virologist who consulted on the film! 

I've decided to review this movie. If you've seen it already, feel free to email me with your comments!