BUGS ON THE MOVE

Many diverse factors affect the spread of disease. Roger Dobson reports on a new book charting the medical geography of Britain

Technoquest

Questions for this column can be submitted by e-mail to sci.net@campus.bt.com

Letter: Depression is not a 'flaw in my character'

The Multiple Sclerosis Society has not, as you suggest, turned its back on funding virology research. The prevailing theory is that MS is an auto-immune disease in which both genetics and environment play a part. It is widely considered that viruses may be among factors which trigger the condition.

A life of facts

It's highly unlikely that you will spend the Bank holiday weekend doing the spring cleaning. But here are some stats about the cash we spend on household aids you won't be able to live without.

ME taking toll in the classroom

The chronic fatigue illness ME is the biggest cause of long-term sickness absence in UK schools, a study published today claims. A survey responded to by 1,100 schools revealed ME was responsible for 51 per cent of long- term absence, while a fifth of schools had experienced cases of ME.

Health: The truth about - killing germs

We all know about the bleach that kills 99 per cent of all known germs. But here comes another miracle product for weary housewives: Microban, a new type of disinfectant, that according to the blurb will enable the kitchen of the future to keep itself clean, with every surface being lethal to any bug that comes into contact with it.

Letter: BSE scandal won't go away

Sir: Dogs developing a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy like BSE (report, 28 April); 6,117 BSE carcasses buried; blood transfusions may actually be a risk ... why should this come out three days before an election? Full marks to The Independent for finding it out and letting us know, but could it be that the Ministry of Agriculture would rather that this data came out then than into the hands of a new government? Hidden information leads to public or judicial inquiries ... and the ministry wouldn't want that, would it?

Deadly threat of micro-organisms

The key emerging military threats identified in the latest survey from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) are biological weapons and the spread of cruise missiles.

Letter: Low-dose danger of pesticides

Sir: There may well be no risk to anyone from BSE buried in open tips ... but there might. There may well be no risk from the bovine incineration plants through the smoke and ash they produce ... but there might. Risks have been already taken and tips such as Rowley (report, 12 March) can only add to them by a relatively low amount.

Butcher reopens with a clean slate

He looked like a man waking from a long dream. Or, as he put it, a nightmare.

Scotland hit by new food poisoning outbreak

Medical and environmental health experts investigating the cause of Scotland's latest outbreak of E. coli 0157 were due to meet today to try to pinpoint the source of the illness.

Letter: Act now to curb latest CJD risk

Sir: Yes, too little action was taken on BSE and too late; and indeed the Government was told at the time what to do by scientists who were ignored (Who deserves censure for BSE?", 14 February; letters 17 February).

Network: Masses of bugs

The outbreak of food poisoning that killed 18 in Scotland was contained locally, but the war against nasties such as E coli must be fought everywhere. Hugh Aldersley-Williams explains why

Twenty infected by new E.coli outbreak

At least 20 people have now been infected and two have died in the E.coli food poisoning outbreak in Arbroath it was confirmed yesterday, as new scientific evidence suggested that some yoghurts could protect against the bacterium.
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