Contagious or Not: A dissection of infectious disease

Bridging Biotech

Figure 1 - Infectious Disease  Photo Credit: Dr. Shannon Hedtke (Evolutionary Biology, The University of Texas) Figure 1 – Infectious Disease: Photo Credit – Dr. Shannon Hedtke (Evolutionary Biology 2011, The University of Texas)

I love Austin, TX, it’s an amazing place to call home.  Unfortunately, this past month it seems like microbes apparently share the same sentiment.  A new form of “keeping Austin weird”? — micro-organismic diversity. Infections seem to be running rampant, and practically everyone I know has been infected with some variation of virus, bacterium, or wandering DNA particle (manifesting in what we Austinites know intimately as allergies).  I’ve been astounded at the sheer diversity of these infections.  Just this past week five people tested positive for a highly pathogenic strain of Swine Flu at the place of my employment and many more of my friends have undiagnosed upper respiratory infections.  (see previous post on different forms of influenza:  http://meganjrutherford.com/2013/04/01/2-men-in-china-die-of-lesser-known-strain-of-bird-flu/ )

After two weeks of battling the fierce Austin allergens (mold and…

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