SciBites: Week of April 10th

SciBites: Week of April 10th

Drinking iced tea may boost cholera risk

A new study finds that that drinking iced tea, not always boiling drinking water, and other factors were all associated with an increased risk of cholera in countries where the disease is regularly found. Researchers from the Pasteur Institute in Vietnam interviewed 60 people who were infected with cholera during a 2010 outbreak and found that 22 percent of people with cholera reported drinking iced tea in the week prior to their disease, whereas only 3 percent of people without cholera had drunk iced tea in the week before being interviewed.

In addition to drinking iced tea and not always boiling water, the researchers found that having a main water source near a toilet, living with others who have diarrhea and having little or no education were all associated with an increased risk of cholera. Drinking stored rainwater and eating cooked seafood or steamed vegetables were protective against the disease.


Gonorrhea manipulates an anti-infection mechanism in the female reproductive tract

Gonorrhea is a widespread sexually transmitted disease caused when Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria infect the normally protective inner lining of human genital tissues. In women, the opening of the uterus, known as the endocervix, serves as a primary infection site for N. gonorrhoeae. In newly published research, researchers found that the bacterium that causes gonorrhea infects the female reproductive tract by breaking connections between cells in the tract’s protective lining.

The scientists showed that this bacterium disrupts cellular connections and causes cell shedding by promoting activation and accumulation of a human protein known as non-muscle myosin II. Depending on the genes being expressed by N. gonorrhoeae at any given time, the team found, it can either promote or inhibit this penetration mechanism.



Jen is the Editorial Media Manager at PLOS. Before her time at PLOS, she's worked in broadcast news, radio and online media.

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