Microbes in the News – #3


The CDC has warned healthcare facilities in the United States about an outbreak of a resistant super fungus spreading across the United States, so far twelve states have seen outbreaks, with over 600 people infected.

A resistant strain of Candida auras  has killed half of the people infected within ninety days of contraction of the fungus. The outbreak has been associated with hospital stays and is cause for concern as a global emerging threat as a superbug due to it’s resistant to multiple anti-fungal treatments and all antibiotic treatments. It presents with vague symptoms; including general malaise, fever and chills. People with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable, however, the outbreak is of great cause for concern if it has not been cured; at which point the potential for infection would pose a threat for infection to healthy people with healthy immune systems.

Candida auris is a yeast discovered in 2009 in Japan, after which time infection spread across Asia and the Middleast and entered the U.S. in 2013.


In class we have studied fungi and leaned that infections are difficult to treat because they are Eukaryotes and treatment could pose damage to our own cells.

Critical Analysis:

I think the news clip was a great way to get quick information, however, I do not think that it would be the best way to learn sufficient information regarding the topic and the reason why it would be of concern. Also, I think that including a medical perspective was a great idea because she provided an informed discussion.


The medical doctor mentioned that Candida auris is a normal part of the gut micro biome, however, when I checked other sites, I could not find supporting documentation. Is Candida auris a normal inhabitant of the human gut?

Article and Link:

CBS News (  2019, April 19). CDC warns about mysterious “superbug” fungus.  Retrived from https://www.youtube.com.

Candida auris. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved 2019, April 23, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_auris

Recycled Bacteriophage

Title: Recycled Bacteriophage

By: kcasillas

I used materials found in our recycle bin to create the infamous bacteriophage. My inspiration was the viral lytic life cycle of bacteriophages; hijacking host DNA to change and replicate into new bacteriophages. I thought this process was analogous to recycling; using materials purposed for various specific purposes, (because bacteriophage infect specific species), and using them to create a new bacteriophage from existing material. I modeled the recycled phage after a  Myoviridae species, which is a non- enveloped, DNA virus and has been used in the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infectious diseases with phage therapy. My decision to use a recycled breakfast cereal box and a plastic water bottle was based on an article I read about phage therapy in the treatment of gastrointestinal health issues, which found that tolerable doses of the myovirus could selectively promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria while selectively eliminating harmful gut bacteria.


A2: Microbes in the News – Post 2

Title: “A Teenager Was Diagnosed With Schizophrenia – but it Turned Out to Be an Infection From HIs Cat”

By” Christina Oehlea

Healthy Living Newsletter

Link: https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/cat-scratch-schizophrenia


A young Midwestern boy spent two years in and out of the hospital due to a bacterial infection.  The boy was first misdiagnosed with schizophrenia by two physicians, but later correctly diagnosed and treated for neurobartonellosis, which caused him to have psychiatric symptoms such as depression and suicidal thoughts, among other symptoms. After an antibiotic treatment, the boy made a full recovery.


The content of this article relate to our study of the human immune system and antibiotics.

Critical Analysis:

I think that the article was easy and short, which is good for accessibility, however, I think that it should have provided more information about the bacteria strain, which carry Bartonella clarridgeiae.  But overall, I think that it covered the bases for to provide readers with preventive and informative facts. I also think that the article was from a reliable source, because the author cited that the original case was published in The Journal of Central Nervous System Disease, which is a peer-revised journal publication.


How did cats become a vector for Bartonella clarridgeiae and do they infect other hosts?

Microbes in the News and on the Playground

News article link above.

The New York Times article, “The Parasite on the Playground,” by Laura Beil highlights the parasitic helminth zoonotic disease Toxocariasis. Toxocariasis is carried by domesticated canines/felines and transmitted via the fecal-oral route. Although previously thought to be of concern only for rural communities, Toxocariasis is becoming a much more common infection in more urban areas. Because Toxocariasis is transmitted through exposure or ingestion of contaminated soil, playgrounds and parks have become a breeding ground for Toxocariasis and exposure to children has become especially concerning because infection can cause serious lifelong cognitive delays. Although, Toxocariasis is one the most prevalent parasitic infections in the world, about 16 million people in the United Sates have tested positive for developed antibodies, suggesting exposure, limited government research has been conducted.

Although, Toxocariasis has varied life stages, it is a parasite that causes an immunoreaction when infected, creating antibodies, which relates to our study of microbiology, infectious diseases the human micro biome.

The New York Times article is a great channel for coverage on mass media, with out mass media coverage, I think, news about infectious diseases would be limited to science journals and publications, limiting access and knowledge to the public regarding serious issues. I also think that the discovery of an infectious disease in New York City and it’s surrounding boroughs should be of great concern because transmission of the disease could create a mass outbreak which could spread quickly. Although it used to be thought that parasitic helminth diseases were once thought to be a  “third-world” problem and of little concern in the United States, the evidence proves otherwise. Referencing the article, concerning misdiagnosed patients due to lack of concern as a serious infections disease, Toxocariasis, usually goes undetected and untreated.

The fact that several areas in a metropolitan city tested positive for the parasite should be a major concern, my question is, why have we not heard more about Toxocariasis?

A3: Epithet Epitaph

Wolbachia are Gram-negative obligate parasitic bacteria found in nearly 60 percent of all insect species, including the common house fly and certain species of mosquitoes. They most notably infect the reproductive organs; the testes and ovaries of arthropods, insects and mosquitoes. Infection with the bacterial parasite can create infertility and or sterilization in mosquitoes and flies. Infection in females increases the rate of infected offspring, transmitted to female offspring only, increasing the spread of Wolbachia.  However, infection has also been proven to provided resistance to certain pathogens, such as the ones responsible for Zika virus and West Nile virus. Studies have been proposed and implemented using Wolbachia infected mosquitos as a vector control species to combat the spread of serious viral infections carried by mosquitos.

Wolbachia was identified by Marshall Hertig and Simeon Burt Wolbach in 1924 in infected mosquitos. Dr. Wolbach was an American pathologist and  researcher who was born in rural Nebraska. He received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School in 1903, after he travelled the world conducting research, he is credited with identifying the organism that caused the typhus epidemic of Europe in 1920.


Simeon Burt Wolbach. Wikipedia. 08 May. 2018

Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simeon_Burt_Wolbach

Wolbachia. Wikipedia. 06 Dec. 2018

Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolbachia