News This 1348 painting shows how plague devastated European cities like Florence

Black rats are also implicated in both outbreaks, which took place 800 years apart

Human beings can smell sickness in others

Study suggests the human sense of smell can detect when a person's immune system is fighting an illness

Rohan Glynn with his two Dalmations and German Pointer

Dog owners in Hampshire warned about mystery disease killing canines in the New Forest

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure for a big surprise – especially if you have dogs.

Alabama Rot eventually leads to kidney failure and is more commonly seen with greyhounds, but there are fears that it is now beginning to affect other breeds

Signs warn dog owners of deadly 'Alabama rot' disease in New Forest

Signs are to be put up in the New Forest warning dog owners about the outbreak of a mystery disease which has killed 17 dogs in the United Kingdom.

Danone to sue New Zealand's Fonterra over baby milk scare

An investigation found Fonterra’s bacteria warning was a false alarm

If all people lived in isolation for a year, would we wipe out all contagious diseases?’

Each person is teeming with bacteria, and we have a lot of viruses, too. A lot of the bacteria that live on and in our bodies can cause disease even if they aren't causing problems at the moment (for instance, E coli in the gut). So, no way. If each person lived in isolation for a year they'd still come out teeming with germs. But maybe it would theoretically wipe out some certain pathogen – I can't think of any, though. We actually need our bacteria, a lot of what goes on is a symbiotic relationship.

These are human cheeses made from armpit bacteria and feet.. so would you eat yourself?

What kind of cheese do you think you would make?

Bleach could reverse ageing and treat skin damaged by sunburn and radiotherapy

Scientist say household bleach could be used to fight signs of ageing as well as heal radiation dermatitis and sunburn

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria colonies on blood agar plate

A valuable weapon in war against drug-resistant superbugs: Antibiotic offers hope

Tests show that drug is effective against the same kind of chronic bacterial infections that have killed hospital patients

Preventing flu: Scientists find bacteria in Japanese pickled turnips which could boost immune system

Study on mice in Japan has led to start of promising human trials using new probiotic drink

Scientist who mapped human genome says we will be able to 'print' alien life from Mars

J. Craig Venter says the next revolution in genetics will come from synthetic biology, as we learn to design and 'print' organisms with computers

Sample polymer ten and five pound banknotes

Filthy lucre: Bank of England's new plastic notes provide ideal environment for nature's nastiest bacteria

Filthy lucre just got a new meaning. Plastic notes of the type chosen this week by the Bank of England as the next generation of paper money have been found by researchers to be the host of choice for some of nature’s nastiest bacteria.

‘Artificial nose’ scents blood-poisoning bacteria

An “artificial nose” that could save lives by swiftly sniffing out blood-poisoning bacteria has been developed by scientists.

Bacteria growing naturally in the human gut could be playing a decisive role in determining whether someone becomes overweight or obese

Gut bacteria could be behind why some 'identical' people are fatter than others

Findings of research on mice could mean re-colonising obese people's guts with healthy, lean-triggering bacteria could help them lose weight

Fonterra chief Theo Spierings executive apologises over botulism scare

Diary product giant announced last week that some products may contain contaminated whey-protein concentrate

Scientific breakthrough unlocks secrets of microbes

A team in the US reveals how they were able to sequence the genetic code of 201 microbes for the first time

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering