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Random microbiology of the built environment news compilation

Over the last few months we’ve acquired a few “draft” blog posts on various news items that never seemed to develop into full-fledged blog posts.  Rather than let them suffer in silence, I thought I’d post them as a compilation:


A story about finding low levels of MRSA in Chicago-area ambulances.  Instead of the usual scare-mongering this one concludes “These results indicate that first responders are doing a good job of protecting their patients”


An article in the New England Journal of Medicine called “Exposure to Environmental Microorganisms and Childhood Asthma” looking at the hygiene hypothesis and finding that children growing up on farms are exposed to a wider diversity of microbes, and this is correlated with a lower incidence of asthma.  This study got some press coverage that seemed to draw overly strong conclusions from this work, such as “Mold helps reduce Asthma” in Forbes.


Here’s an epidemiological detective story in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that got a lot of popular press (e.g. here, here, and here) about an outbreak of Norovirus caused by a reusable grocery bag.


A ton of press (e.g. here, here, and here) on this (non-open access) research about kitchen pollutants (from gas stoves) and how levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and small particles were all higher in indoor air than along a busy road.


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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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