It might seem surprising that a colony of ants would tolerate the type of guests that gobble both their grub and their babies. But new research shows there's likely a useful tradeoff to calmly accepting these parasite ants into the fold: They have weaponry that's effective against their host ants and a more menacing intruder ant.
A strain of the disease responsible for killing nearly two thirds of the UK's greenfinch population has spread to myna birds in Pakistan. In 2011, the disease was discovered to have reached European finch populations. Now it has been found in an entirely separate songbird species -- the common myna, native to India and one of the world's most invasive species. Although it is not generally fatal to them, they may pass it on to other species.
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in those with low level infections, according to a study co-authored by researchers at Yale and the nonprofit company InnovationsCZ.
The malaria parasite is highly dependent on a unique protein for infecting new mosquitoes. This protein could be a target for the development of new drugs. It was discovered recently by researchers from Radboud university medical center and colleagues from the Humboldt University of Berlin. The results were published in Cell Reports on April 18.
Researchers who analyzed blood samples from 33 farm-raised, white-tailed fawns in Florida report that about 21 percent -- seven of 33 -- were infected by malaria parasites at some point during the first eight months of life. This research was published in mSphere, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, Blood samples were collected at three months, six months, and eight months of age.
Pre-school children in sub-Saharan Africa should be tested regularly for a common infection known as snail fever, which would reduce the spread of the disease.
Researchers have shown, in mice, that norovirus infects a rare type of intestinal cell called a tuft cell. Noroviruses tucked inside tuft cells are effectively hidden from the immune system, which could explain why some people continue to shed virus long after they are no longer sick. These 'healthy carriers' are thought to be the source of norovirus outbreaks, so understanding how the virus evades detection in such people could lead to better ways to prevent outbreaks.
A serum developed by Yale researchers reduces infection from malaria in mice, according to a new study. It works by attacking a protein in the saliva of the mosquitoes infected with the malaria parasite rather than the parasite itself. If the novel approach proves effective in further studies, it could potentially be used to enhance existing malaria vaccines, the researchers said.
A Michigan State University study, published in the current issue of Nature Scientific Reports, shows that the postmortem microbiome -- populations of micro-organisms that move in after death -- can provide crucial insights into public health. What's telling is that regardless of many factors -- sex, ethnicity or even type of death -- the microbiome is consistent and distinct, depending on the number of days after death.
The human piece of a malaria infection puzzle has been revealed for the first time, solving a long-standing mystery. A protein displayed on the surface of malaria parasites called 'TRAP' is a high-priority vaccine target, but how it interacts with human host cells has remained a puzzle. Wellcome Sanger Institute scientists have discovered a receptor protein on the surface of human cells that the TRAP protein interacts with as it navigates through the body.