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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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album