Are you aware Lyme Disease has been around for over 15 million years? Lyme Disease may have received its’ name in the 1970’s but was around much longer than a mere 40 years. Scientists recently uncovered a piece of amber which contained a 15 million year old tick trapped inside. The perfectly preserved tick examined by researcher George Poinar, Jr. from the Oregon State University, found the bacteria Borrelia burgdorfer inside the tick. This is the same present day bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. If the bacteria was present in a tick from over 15 million years ago, does that mean ticks have been infecting humans since the beginning of our existence? Were cavemen also infected with Lyme Disease?
Well, there is evidence that suggests Lyme Disease has plagued humans for thousands of years. In 1991, hikers unearthed a partially frozen mummified neolithic man nicknamed by the press as Otzi. Otzi is thought to have lived over 5,300 year ago and guess what? Scientists discovered our friend Otzi had Lyme Disease. Continue reading
Have you walked past a pond, river or lake and noticed a greenish slimy substance floating on the surface of the water? Did you ever wonder what that substance was which was surely polluting the water? Well, that slimy substance is called a biofilm and what is a biofilm? Biofilms are a collection of microorganisms secreted together by a slime layer that forms when in contact with water. These biofilms welcome bacteria and molds to join their slime fest. The problem with biofilms are they are particularly resistant to biocides that are designed to destroy bacteria.
Picture the first pioneers that settled in the Americas. The first colonies of the Americas only were able to survive and grow because they stuck together for survival against the external elements of harsh winters and opposing enemies. Biofilms work on the same concept of safety in numbers. Biofilms are compromised of multiple bacterial organisms that communicate and work together to substain a growing community while at the same time fending off external attacks. Continue reading
The Ebola virus has emerged again in Africa, only this time striking on the Western Coast. The virus is believed to have originated from a two year old boy who lived in the border village of Guéckédou in Guinea. The village lies close to developed roads that bring travelers into Sierra Leone and Liberia. As the virus spread from relatives and friends of the boy’s family it too quickly crossed borders into the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia before health officials were alerted of the outbreak. Today the nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are trying their best to contain this deadly virus, as more cases continue to surface in their nations. As of August 8, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are 1,779 Ebola virus cases with the death toll at 961. With the fatality rate reaching 54%, the rest of the world is concerned the virus will spread out of Africa and into their countries. What would happen if the virus spread outside of Africa? Continue reading