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

Errors & Omissions: You really ought to think carefully before using the word 'real'

Whenever you find yourself writing the word "real", pause for a moment: you should probably cut it out.

Fifty per cent of restaurants use dishcloths that could make you ill

Half of restaurants and takeaways harbour high levels of bacteria which can cause food poisoning, new research shows.

Test offers hope of tuberculosis breakthrough

A blood test that can tell doctors whether someone is likely to develop the active and dangerous form of tuberculosis has become a realistic possibility.

Scientists reveal bacteria have 'noses'

Common bacteria have "noses" that respond to smells, scientists said.

The miracle spray-on glass that stops the bugs

Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool is coating the toys in its wards with a revolutionary form of "liquid glass" that has proven in trials to reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria living on the surface of objects.

Breakthrough in meningitis scourge

Genetic factors behind the deaths of children struck down by meningitis have been identified for the first time. Experts hope the breakthrough will boost development of vaccines that protect against the deadliest strain of meningitis bacteria.

DNA analysis key to beating MRSA

The genes of common bacteria could yield a "treasure trove" of therapeutic drugs to combat the growing problem of drug-resistant bacteria, a leading scientist said yesterday.

In mint condition: Can you cure halitosis in the sweet shop?

If you neglected to brush your teeth this morning, you're not alone. More and more of us are instead relying on an ever-increasing variety of breath-freshening products. But are the sugar-free confections on our shelves really an alternative to old-fashioned oral hygiene and the dreaded visit to the dentist? Nick Duerden investigates

Marlon Lewis: The vast majority of action in the sea is carried out by these microscopic organisms

Aswell as being the food stock for ocean life, it is a vast geochemical factory. Our atmosphere is almost entirely derived from its activity 2.5 billion years ago

Curry spices for cows and sheep could cut methane emissions

Curry spices could hold the key to reducing the enormous greenhouse gas emissions given off by grazing animals such as sheep, cows and goats, scientists have claimed.

Caesarean babies prone to disease

Giving birth by Caesarean section may leave a baby vulnerable to disease and allergy by upsetting its natural balance of bacteria, scientists believe.

Windscreen water could be legionnaires' disease risk

Motorists who do not use screenwash for their windscreen wipers risk getting potentially deadly legionnaires' disease, a study revealed today.

Bacteria may help police identify suspects

Police forces may soon be able to add another forensic tool to their armoury following a study showing that it is possible to identify a person from the bacteria they leave behind after touching an inanimate object such as a computer keyboard or telephone.

Revealed: the 160 species living inside our guts

Scientists have decoded the DNA of the bacteria that take up residence in the typical human body
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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions