You Know About Flu Season, but Did You Know About Gonorrhoea Season?

Like clockwork, the influenza virus rears its ugly head every winter and makes our lives miserable. But the flu isn’t the only germ that likes a particular time of year, according to a new paper published this week in PLOS Pathogens. Seemingly every infectious disease, including polio, gonorrhoea, and even HIV, is seasonal, though not always for the same reasons. Read More >>

Genetic Analysis Suggests Squirrels Contributed to the Global Spread of Leprosy

Leprosy is one of the oldest known diseases to afflict humans, yet its origin is mired in controversy. A new study, in which 10 strains of the disease were detected in the remains medieval Europeans, is now complicating the picture even further by pointing to western Europe as a potential launching point for leprosy. What’s more, the evidence also points to squirrels as a major contributing factor in the spread of the dreaded disease. Read More >>

How Scientifically Plausible Is the ‘Simian Flu’ in Planet of the Apes?

The Planet of the Apes prequels did much to explain how humans lost their status as the dominant species on the planet—a cataclysmic set of events fueled by a global pandemic known as the “Simian Flu.” This virus, the product of a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, wiped out the vast majority of humans, but it boosted the brains of apes. And in the latest installment of the franchise, the virus has mutated into an insidious new form, affecting humans in some disturbing new ways. That’s a lot for a single virus to do, prompting the inevitable question: How feasible is the Simian Flu from a scientific perspective? Read More >>

A Shocking Number of People With Ebola Don’t Show Symptoms

Scientists have learned that upwards of 25 per cent of all people who become infected with Ebola show none of the typical symptoms. The finding suggests the recent West African Ebola Epidemic was more widespread than previously thought, and that new methods need to be developed to diagnose and contain the dreaded virus during an outbreak. Read More >>

Human Leprosy is Rampant in British Red Squirrels

British red squirrels are being afflicted by a medieval strain of leprosy that was thought to have disappeared from Europe over 700 years ago, according to a new DNA analysis. Researchers say the chances of the dreaded disease spreading to humans is low, but the discovery suggests this strain of leprosy has been lingering for quite some time. Read More >>

The Ebola Virus Mutated Into a Deadlier Form During the West African Epidemic

A new analysis of the Ebola genome shows the dreaded virus acquired several new mutations during the course of the 2013-2016 West African Epidemic, making it even better at infecting human cells. Read More >>

We Were Wrong About HIV’s ‘Patient Zero’ 

The origin of the AIDS pandemic has been reconstructed in unprecedented detail, showing the disease jumped from the Caribbean to New York City around 1970. The study subsequently clears the name of Gaétan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant long-thought to be “Patient Zero.” Read More >>

Brain-Eating Amoebas Have Reared Their Ugly Heads in South Carolina

The US Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that a South Carolina swimmer has been infected with Naegleria fowleri, a warm-water dwelling amoeba that can cause a life-threatening brain infection. Read More >>

How Olympians Can Survive Swimming in Sewage

Rio’s water is vile — full of raw sewage and dead bodies — and later this week, humanity’s top athletes will plunge into this hellish stew for a jolly ol’ international sporting competition. Read More >>

Sending Sick Workers Home Makes More Workers Sick

To prevent an illness from spreading around the workplace, some employers will send their sick staff members home and replace them with healthy versions. New research suggests this practice does the opposite of what’s intended, causing the disease to spread even more rapidly. Read More >>

Ancient Campfires May Have Unleashed Humanity’s Top Bacterial Killer

The ability to control fire brought our ancestors countless benefits, but as a new study by Australian researchers suggests, it may have also triggered the spread of one of the worst blights to afflict our species: tuberculosis. Read More >>

The Zika Epidemic Has Been Given a Three-Year Expiration Date

Models produced by researchers at Imperial College London indicate that the ongoing Zika epidemic in parts of Latin American will likely burn itself out within three years. Finally, we have some good news to share about this dreadful disease. Read More >>

A Beautiful Illustration of Something Quite Horrible

Up until a few months ago, we knew virtually nothing about the Zika virus — or what it even looked like. But a beautiful new illustration by David S. Goodsell reveals its hidden details, while also showing how the dreaded virus goes to work. Read More >>

This Piece of Paper Can Diagnose Zika Incredibly Fast

Researchers have demonstrated a paper-based device that can detect the Zika virus within two to three hours. It’s affordable, effective, and practical for widespread use—particularly in countries with underdeveloped healthcare infrastructures—and it’s also capable of telling the difference between Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue and chikungunya. Read More >>

We Finally Know What the Zika Virus Actually Looks Like

Here it is, folks—our first glimpse of that abominable virus that’s been wreaking havoc in parts of South America and the Caribbean. This near-atomic scale view of Zika’s external structure could guide scientists as they work to develop effective antiviral treatments and vaccines. Read More >>