Five Microbiology News Articles

Works Cited Article 1 Is It a Cold or the Flu
The article Is It a Cold or the Flu is an easy-to-read, informative article in which the aim of the author is clearly about informing the readers how to distinguish cold from flu.  The author was able to deliver this objective by presenting a simple, fundamental guideline, which the reader can easily use and follow.
The author contends that recognizing cold symptoms from flu symptoms can be difficult.  Hence, the guideline provided is aimed at helping the readers recognize the symptoms and identify if these symptoms are linked to a common cold or to flu.  

This guideline is intended for parents or guardians since the simple test involves recognizing symptoms observed in a child.  The questions are answerable by selecting either item number 1 or 2.  If most of the answers fall in the first category, then, the symptoms are an indication of flu whereas answers that fall in the second category, then, the symptoms are those of a common cold.

Looking at the symptoms of the common cold, it appears that they are relatively milder than the symptoms of flu.  For instance, flu is associated with body aches, loss of appetite and higher fever.  Nonetheless, the author stresses that the severity of symptoms may differ from one child to another.  Why the symptoms are different is presumably related to the nature of the causative agent. Flu is caused by the influenza virus of the family Orthomyxoviridae (Black 304) whereas common cold is primarily by rhinoviruses (Black 648).  They produce symptoms that differ in severity due to the immunocompetence of the child.  This is exemplified by Black in which she contends that a person may have a primary infection such as a cold and may lead to further secondary infection such as middle ear infection (Black 417).  Thus, the author is correct that it is best to consult a doctor to conduct proper diagnosis to determine the kind of infection affecting a child or an individual.  This way a prescription may be given aptly to manage ill condition.

Article 2 Alfalfa sprouts recalled after at least 22 ill
The news article is about the Salmonella contaminated Alfalfa sprouts sold under the Caldwell Fresh Foods brand in Maywood, California. Based on the report, the Alfalfa sprouts have caused illnesses in many people in various locations in California since the sprouts are widely sold in markets and prepared in restaurants.  Investigating team was able to identify the origin of the illness when a four-month old baby got sick from eating the sprout.  Infants are allowed to eat during weaning stage but with only a few selected food varieties, and one of the foods given to the baby is the Alfalfa sprout, which caused him to become ill.  This led investigators to suspect and eventually led to a recall of Alfalfa sprouts.

This article is well-written primarily because it is organized.  It is because while reading the news, series of questions come to mind and with every question comes the authors answer.  The author is successful in the objective of primarily warning people from consuming Alfalfa sprouts and feeding children with it.  This news goes to prove that despite of purchasing branded foods there remains the possibility of contamination.  People cannot be too lax in preparing foods as they may end up risking their lives.

As a matter of fact, there have been other instances wherein eating sprouts caused sickness due to bacterial contamination.  This was confirmed through a study headed by Breuer where they found that the Alfalfa sprouts that caused diarrhea to people from various states had been contaminated with Escherichia coli (Breuer et al.) E.coli is a bacterium that accounts for the major cases (around 40 to 70) of Travelers diarrhea (Black 690).

Closely related to E.coli is Salmonella.  Similar to E.coli, Salmonella belongs to a group of enterobacteria called Enterobacteriaceae (Black 678).  It causes food poisoning in human hosts.
Towards the end of the news article, the author once again calls the attention of the readers.  This is to heighten the awareness as there had been many recent cases of bacterial outbreaks as reported by the CDC.

Article 3 Health official No sign of Haiti diphtheria spike
The news article reports a recent death of a boy from Haiti in his teenage years due to diphtheria, an illness involving infection of the upper respiratory tract by Corynebacterium diphtheriae (Black 407).  His death sparked fear from the local residents.  They dread that there might be an outbreak following the recent huge earthquake that hit Haiti last January 12.  According to the report, the boy was given antitoxin treatments but these treatments proved inadequate when the condition led him to his death.

This is certainly sad news implying that despite of having survived the earthquake life remains to be generally threatened.  The competence of the immune system against pathogen attacks is affected presumably due largely to a lack of adequate nutrition when the earthquake damaged vital resources, agricultural lands, and properties.

The threat, however, was managed when reports such as this assured the public that there is no cause for alarm since the World Health Organization and local health officials declared that it is an isolated case and there are no signs of outbreak.

Local earthquake survivors have the reason to feel not safe due to sordid refuge camps that gave a temporary dwelling place for the now homeless earthquake-stricken Haitians.  The camps that presently hold a huge number of survivors are now a critical zone for easy transmission of deadly diseases, such as malaria and diarrhea.

The news has achieved to inform the residents to pacify them from their anxieties.  Nonetheless, the author still highlights the importance of being vigilant against spreading diseases across the community.

This article is informative although there seems to be a lack of more vital information such as the ways on how to be vigilant against spreading diseases or at least to give a link to government health agencies that can provide assistance with regard to their health.  The author also did not include in the report if what are the contingency plans being or soon to be implemented by health officials.  

Article 4 Chinese baby born with syphilis every hour
The author highlighted in this news the current epidemiology of syphilis in China.  The author seemingly wanted to alert China, especially the sexually active citizens and the local health agencies the need for an action against the alarming rate of syphilis incidence in the country.

Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease caused by an infection of Treponema pallidum (Black 20).  It is one of the common diseases not only in China but in many parts of the world.  In fact, it is one of the commonly reported diseases to the U.S. centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Black 5).

The author managed to identify the factor behind the heightened incidence of syphilis in the area.  According to the author, the indiscriminate sexual relations with prostitutes, homosexuals, and polyoicous lifestyle of married individuals are the major reason behind it.  The author, then, related it to the blossoming economic growth that triggers increased propensity to promiscuity.

The author also stressed the critical worth of the issue as the impact of syphilis extends to the infants who contrive the disease from their infected mothers.  The effects, such as deafness and bone deformities, on the infant are horrible and, as aptly stressed by the author, irreversible.

The author brought into mind an optimistic view in light of the growing dilemma of syphilis in China.  Accordingly, China was nearly able to eradicate the incidence of syphilis in the country. The author also included the factors that caused its recent prevalence and the reasons that prevent health programs of the government to become successful. One of these is related to the mode of the transmission of the disease, which makes it difficult for people to seek medical help or to discuss about it.

This article may be long but needs to be one to include all the information necessary to call for an appropriate action to effectively combat the disease once again. Article 5 Pfizer says FDA OKs updated infection vaccine

The news article brings good news to parents and guardians of newly born infants or young children.  It is because Prevnar, a vaccine containing seven serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae conjugated with proteins from Diphtheria, recently underwent further improvements.

This anti-Streptococcus vaccine is essential in preventing pneumonia and ear infections in young children (Black 653).  Now, the vaccine confers protection against six additional varieties of bacterial infection.  However, the author did not clearly specify what the components of the new vaccine variant are.  Although the article is basically for laypersons not exposed to technical terms, it would help to add legitimacy of the newly approved vaccine if the author included a discussion of the changes or improvements.  Doing so would help the author make convincing report of the importance of the new Prevnar. The author though mentioned the reliability of the effectiveness of the new Prevnar when it was finally given FDA approval.

This news on Prevnar implicates the importance of having the infants and children vaccinated.  Vaccines are essential to prevent the potential health risk and the damage caused by pathogens of the disease on young children.  As the author highlights, the pneumonia is quoted as the top in the list of World Health Organization fatal disease preventable by vaccine. The author did not specify where to find the source or reference to this list.

The news is gratuitously short as it could still include information such as when it would be available in the U.S. market as well as across the globe.  People concerned over the health of their children would want to know some hints when this vaccine would be available for their children.  The author instead concluded with the status of the brand in stocks and trade.  Thus, it is not clear if the article is addressed primarily to business-minded readers or to health-conscious parents.


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