Germs cause infectious diseases, which kill more people worldwide than any other single cause, according to the National Institutes of Health. Germs are in air, soil and water, and can infect a person simply through breathing. Help prevent infections through vaccines, proper hand washing and medications.
Dylan Ryan and Danny Wylde knew each other online -- she's read his blog, he's seen her tweets -- before they met in person in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. A bit awkward, they made small talk, spending an hour or so getting to know each other.
Several years ago, an 81-year-old woman with a raised patch of dry skin on her arm visited Mississippi dermatologist John Abide, M.D.
When 2-year-old Malyia Jeffers developed a fever one Sunday afternoon in November, her parents gave her a children's Motrin and kept a cautious eye on her throughout the night.
Here's what Katie Roche expected when she went into the hospital for spine surgery: two titanium rods, a bone graft, 17 screws in her vertebrae, eight hours in the operating room, and a week's stay in the hospital to recover.
The Badger family holidays are filled with medical catastrophes.
Nicole Longaro felt like she was at the pediatrician every other day when her now 3-year-old daughter, Alyssa, first started day care. Alyssa was 4 months old, and Longaro had to return to her job as a human resources manager for a large commercial bank.
Eric McCoole, 38, called in sick on St. Patrick's Day in 2000, and no, he didn't have a cold, the flu, or a sinus infection. He didn't even have the sniffles.
Lab tests found hundreds of cases of salmonella contamination at an Iowa farm in a nearly two-year period before the outbreak that prompted a massive recall of eggs this summer, congressional investigators said Tuesday.
Federal investigators have found salmonella bacteria in chicken feed and in barn and walkway areas at Iowa farms at the center of the nationwide outbreak, officials said.
It was prom night, May 2009, and Linda Rivera of Las Vegas, Nevada, was making goodies for her twin sons' party.
Food safety regulators don't expect any more recalls after last week's withdrawal of about 550 million eggs from the U.S. market, but inspections are still going on following a salmonella outbreak traced to two Iowa farms, federal officials said Monday.
Jeanette Potter was in the Atlanta airport when she started to feel a bit off.
Whooping cough, declared an epidemic in California last week, may look like just a cold or a persistent cough in adults. But in infants, it can be fatal, making adult vaccination essential, doctors say.
It started as an itch on James Madol's right ankle and festered. Two days later, the boy cried when he saw a thin white worm emerge.
The H1N1 vaccine was the "most ambitious immunization campaign ever," but vaccination rates need to improve in minority communities and among health workers, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday.
Cases of E. coli 0157, a strain of bacteria in the E. coli family that can cause severe food poisoning, dropped significantly in 2009, according to surveillance data for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since 1980, one disease has been erased from the face of the Earth: smallpox. Health officials believe Guinea worm disease will soon be next.
When Linda Thomas of Frederick, Maryland, found out her 2-year old beagle, Henry, had Lyme disease, she was pretty upset. Her dog hardly went outside. But after his diagnosis, Henry's vet told Thomas that Lyme disease, which is transferred to pets by deer ticks, is fairly common in Maryland, and Henry probably should have been vaccinated for it.
The legendary Egyptian "boy king" Tutankhamun, commonly known as King Tut, died of conditions including malaria and complications from a leg fracture, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Nearly 2,000 people, mostly adolescent and young adult males in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and New Jersey, have contracted mumps since last summer, according to health officials.
Dr. Roberto Feliz and Dr. Hiba Georges were quickly jolted from the most modern of medical care in Boston, Massachusetts, to the most rudimentary of care when they flew to Haiti last week to work at a hospital housed in two tents run by the University of Miami.
For years, Alfonso Torress-Cook followed the rules in his quest to eliminate hospital-acquired infections. Patients at his hospital received large doses of antibiotics and were scrubbed down with alcohol-based soaps, as he and his colleagues aimed to kill every bacterium possible. Search and destroy was the mantra.
Maddy Schaffrick has a lot on her mind for a 15-year-old. Along with schoolwork and friends, she's also got a good shot at making the U.S. Olympic snowboarding team.
The devastation caused by Tuesday's earthquake could decimate what fragile medical care exists and spawn a "perfect storm" in a country already struggling to fight rare tropical and infectious diseases, health experts said.
Four days after Haiti's massive earthquake, efforts are under way to bury the dead as thousands of bodies crumpled in the streets of Port-au-Prince lay exposed to the sun or draped in sheets and cardboard.
In the rare cases when the H1N1 virus kills, scientists have found, it penetrates deep into the lungs, creating widespread damage -- a pattern similar to what killed millions during previous flu pandemics in 1918 and 1957.
Hayli Murphy hears her mother's cell phone ring, and she bounces off the couch to get it. Watching her run around, it's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, the 9-year-old was heavily sedated in a pediatric intensive care unit, a ventilator doing the job her lungs -- ravaged by H1N1 flu -- could no longer do.
Only 32 states are currently reporting widespread H1N1 flu activity in the United States, down from 48 states three weeks ago, federal health officials said Monday.
Pat Folsom, 54, knows the importance of preventive medicine. As a health care worker, she goes for scheduled checkups. So when she went in for a routine dental exam last year, she didn't expect more than a cleaning, maybe a filling. But her dentist found something more serious.
Teen girls can skip Pap tests, according to new guidelines that say women should start cervical cancer screening at age 21. But some experts are concerned that rates of sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies could increase without the Pap test to prompt a doctor's visit.
It was early on a Monday, just the seventh week of school, when Danelle Olivares decided she would have to keep her 5-year-old daughter home from kindergarten. Trinity had a nasty stomach bug, but no fever, and Olivares figured that a day of rest at home would make things OK.
Nearly 3,900 people, including about 540 children, are believed to have died from the H1N1 flu in the first six months of the epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
A preliminary report suggesting that N95 respirators -- filtering devices worn over the mouth and nose -- protect against swine flu better than surgical face masks seems to be incorrect, researchers revealed during a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
The H1N1 virus has now become the dominant influenza virus around the globe, with high levels and an increase of activity in many regions, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
On a recent flight from San Francisco, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Julie Gerberding was thrilled to get bumped up to first class. The thrill, however, quickly disappeared: As she did her victory walk to the front cabin, she noticed that the woman in the seat next to hers was hacking up a lung.
In the new "super flu" era, who among us hasn't thought of bundling up our kiddos in hats, gloves, and surgical masks this winter? Better yet, how about plastic bubbles? (Remember that true story?)
The dream started inside a gray canvas backpack.
New research suggests that nearly half of patients hospitalized with the H1N1 virus had no underlying conditions, an increase from prior findings, a federal health official said Tuesday.
Swine flu vaccines are rolling out this month -- finally. Health-care workers in Indiana and Tennessee were the first to get the nose-spray version, while New Yorkers clamoring for the H1N1 vaccine finally had their chance too.
A Fort Lauderdale nurse has resigned and more than 1,800 patients have been notified that they may have been exposed to diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, after the nurse allegedly admitted to the hospital that she used disposable IV equipment on multiple patients, a violation of safety standards.
At least three of the four makers of H1N1 vaccine have begun shipping their products, their representatives told CNN Tuesday.
At the beginning of the school year, a couple of hundred parents, myself included, gathered in the middle school lounge for the principal's back-to-school speech. The chatting hushed as the principal walked from the back of the room to the podium. As she proceeded down the aisle, parting the crowd of parents, she carried with her the biggest bottle of hand sanitizer I've ever seen.
There will be more than enough doses of the H1N1 vaccine to go around in the United States, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday.
The reminders are everywhere: Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizers. Stay away from class if you're sick.
When Tyra Smith's boyfriend, Chris Lewis, first suggested they be guinea pigs in a H1N1 vaccination study in August, she wasn't so crazy about the idea. But then she warmed to it: While she doesn't like needles, she thought she'd help out because she knew H1N1 was a serious virus.
Health officials expect more than 3 million doses of H1N1 flu vaccine to be available in the first week of October.
For the past several months, Amy Wolf has been glued to the television, intently watching for information on how best to prepare for H1N1 flu.
If the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho scared you, here's another reason to scream: A new study says that potentially disease-causing germs can get trapped in showerheads and grow into biofilm, or coats of slime that deliver a bacteria blast along with your hot water.
A single low dose of H1N1 vaccine may be enough to protect adults from the flu virus that has been spreading around the world, new data shows.
Federal authorities said Tuesday that health care providers could consider simply watching for flu symptoms in some individuals rather than prescribing preventive antiviral drugs right away if a person has been exposed to the flu.
China has developed a vaccine for swine flu and is set to become the first country in the world to begin mass inoculations, but there are concerns over possible side effects, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Children with high-risk medical conditions or disabilities should be among the first to be vaccinated against H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Thursday.
An advisory panel is recommending a major step up in protection for health workers dealing with patients suspected or confirmed to have H1N1 influenza.
Andrew Stein, 10, and his brother, Nathan, 7, are having a typical end-of-summer vacation: hanging out at the pool, visiting their grandparents and waiting for the beginning of school.
The H1N1 flu virus could cause up to 90,000 U.S. deaths, mainly among children and young adults, if it resurges this fall as expected, according to a report released Monday by a presidential advisory panel.
It started with a sore throat. Then her chest was burning.
The world will soon see an "explosion" of swine flu cases as the H1N1 virus spreads rapidly around the world, a top World Health Organization official said Friday.
The Obama administration Wednesday urged employers to adopt "flexible and non-punitive" sick-leave policies as it released new guidelines for containing the spread of the H1N1 virus in the coming flu season.
From Mexico to China, people around the world have worn face masks to protect against swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus. The problem? Experts could never say for sure whether such masks actually help you stay healthy.
So ill he could not move, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart supposedly sang parts of his final masterpiece, "Requiem," from his deathbed. Two centuries later, the exact cause of the Austrian composer's premature death, in December 1791 at age 35, is still a mystery.
When Raffi Darrow brought in her two daughters, Wendy and Alice, for their annual back-to-school checkups this week, for the first time in her career as a mom, Darrow decided to be a rebel.
Imagine you're about to travel to a foreign land. You've heard it can be a mighty dangerous place, but you have to go there -- you have no choice. You don't know exactly where the threats lurk, and you don't speak the language. Wouldn't it be nice to have a guide?
Nathan Wolfe is a hunter, but he doesn't carry a gun. His prey are invisible to the naked eye.
Nineteen former patients at a Denver, Colorado, hospital have tested positive for hepatitis C, federal prosecutors said Thursday as they announced new charges against a former hospital employee accused of exposing the patients to the virus.
The investigation of the E. coli outbreak linked to Nestle Toll House cookie dough is nearly over, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The cause of the contamination has not been identified.
When the swine flu burst onto the scene in April, the bug arrived with a few particularly ominous signs: The flu was resistant to a class of drugs often used to fight flu in the past, and experts were surprised that a nonhuman virus could have such rapid human-to-human transmission. Why was swine flu resistant to current medicines, and was this strain a new supergerm?
Mainland China reported its first case of swine flu -- a 30-year-old man "currently enrolled in a university in the United States," the country's ministry of health said.
A former hospital employee may have exposed hundreds, or even thousands, of surgical patients to hepatitis C after taking their fentanyl injections and replacing them with used syringes filled with saline solution, authorities say.
A Nestle plant linked to an outbreak of illness has been shut temporarily, and the company said Monday that it expects to lay off more than 200 workers as a result.
The World Health Organization raised the swine flu alert Thursday to its highest level, saying the H1N1 virus has spread to enough countries to be considered a global pandemic.
A sharp increase in the number of reported cases of the H1N1 virus in Australia may prompt the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the first global pandemic in over forty years.
A report released Thursday commended the government for developing plans and stockpiling antivirals after the avian flu scare but warned that gaps still exist and that the health system may not be prepared in a more severe outbreak.
The World Health Organization announced Tuesday it is still considering increasing its pandemic alert level to phase 6 because of growing worldwide cases of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received a candidate vaccine virus for swine flu from one institution Friday, spokesman Thomas Skinner said in an e-mail.
As the summer swim season starts Memorial Day weekend, water quality and health experts have a message for swimmers: Please don't pee in the pool.
Public health officials are seeing a number of outbreaks of swine flu at schools nationwide, but closing those schools may not always be the best public health measure, a federal scientist said Tuesday.
Health officials say the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu, is likely to cause more illnesses and deaths in the United States, even though much of the initial anxiety has eased.
An assistant principal who died after being hospitalized with the H1N1 virus did have an underlying condition, the New York City's health commissioner said Monday.
With mostly mild cases of swine flu in the United States, swine flu fears are lessening. But viruses have a way of re-appearing. While nobody has a crystal ball, here are some thoughts about what the 2009 H1N1 virus might do in the months to come.
While investigators trudge through pig farms and remote villages in Mexico, searching for clues about the new swine flu, answers about the virus' origin may finally appear on a computer, based on genetic codes.
Roy Braswell was 9 years old when the flu pandemic of 1918 hit.
When the World Health Organization raised its influenza pandemic alert from a Phase 4 to a Phase 5 last week, there was a bit of a gasp heard round the world.
The swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus, is all over the news. A string of cases have been reported across the United States, as well as across the globe, with Mexico the hardest hit country, so far.
If there's a blessing in the current swine flu epidemic, it's how benign the illness seems to be outside the central disease cluster in Mexico. But history offers a dark warning to anyone ready to write off the 2009 H1N1 virus.
Over the past week, I've been inundated with questions about swine flu, via Facebook, Twitter, CNN blogs and e-mail. So this week I'm empowering people with information about swine flu: how to protect yourself, what all the numbers mean and why you shouldn't freak out.
In Mexico City, the government ran out of surgical masks after handing them out to one of every five residents.
A total of seven cases of a previously undetected strain of swine flu have been confirmed in humans in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. None of the patients has had direct contact with pigs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating two cases of swine flu detected in children in the San Diego, California, area last week.
More than 5,000 patients of a South Dakota urology clinic may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV when the facility reused single-use medical products, state health officials said Friday.
Public health officials in Chicago said Monday that they have tested at least 10 family members of the medical intern linked to a tuberculosis scare in the city.
If you have a stash of pistachios in your house, pistachio ice cream in your freezer or trail mix in your backpack, don't eat any of it.
Men who are circumcised are less likely to get sexually transmitted infections such as genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), but not syphilis, according to a study of adult African men published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Your saliva is doing all kinds of useful things for you all the time -- for instance, helping you chew and taste food. It's also home to more than 600 species of bacteria, which are harmlessly enjoying the moisture of your mouth.
It was 10 a.m. on a recent weekday and the emergency room at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, was quiet, except for a little boy crying in room 45.
A new crop of drug-resistant superbugs is in our midst, and experts believe that they could rival the deadly superbug MRSA.
Antibodies taken from humans could provide protection from lethal strains of influenza, including the bird flu and the 1918 Spanish flu strain, according to research published this week.
With a chance of winning an Oscar on Sunday, the director of "The Final Inch" says she hopes her documentary will shed light on the often over-looked issue of polio eradication.
The chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee is "outraged" at the growing number of food-borne illnesses nationwide, he said Thursday.
One look at her photo, and you can't help but ask: How could someone so young and vibrant die so quickly from an infection?
A childhood illness that has mostly been curbed through vaccinations has killed one child and sickened four others in Minnesota, health officials said Friday.
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