Zagreb hostel Swanky Mint was named the best in Croatia by the world hostel agency Hostelworld, and to make the story even better, recognition was awarded based on reviews, ie guest ratings.The great atmosphere and the story they tell in the Swanky Mint hostel through three years of work has already brought them several awards, both domestic and foreign. Since the recognition of the Croatian Tourist Board as one of the three best hostels in the country, 5 Star Hostel from the European portal Hostel Geeks, the last mentioned award of HostelWorld is somehow like icing on the cake because it is the world’s largest hostel agency.” We managed to bring this “social”, social element between hotels and hostels from the global idea and trend to the local. The location, the decoration, the various programs are certainly a plus and the specificity of our story, but the biggest part of our success that we are especially proud of is the attitude of the staff towards the guests. We managed to make our guests really feel at home “Said Ante Grancarić, marketing manager of the Swanky Mint hostel in ZagrebPhoto: Swanky Mint TeamIt is this social segment that sets Swanky Mint hostel apart from others, we are not in Croatia but in the whole of Europe. The highlight of the service is when the guest feels at home and when he is delighted with the whole story, and even when we add great content to that story, success is guaranteed.As this is no coincidence the proof is the ratings and reviews of the enthusiastic guests on TripAdvisor-in which Swanky Mint declared the best in Croatia with a score of 97 percent, Booking.com-with a grade of 9.1, as well as the last mentioned recognition Hostel World-with a grade of 94/100.Word of mouth marketing has always been and always will be the best advertisement, and that’s what they are in Swanky Mint hostel very aware.
The Tourist Board of the city of Vinkovci is celebrating fifty years of its activity in the oldest city in Europe, where the oldest European calendar Orion was found, as well as the birth of two Roman emperors. On the occasion of the jubilee, a program of activities was presented in which all citizens of Vinkovci, as well as visitors on the occasion of the City Day and the celebration of this great anniversary, will be able to enjoy.The program begins July 04, 2016 at 19:00, with the exhibition “Our Half a Century”, in the City Theater “Joza Ivakić” organized by the Tourist Board of Vinkovci and the State Archives in Vukovar. With this exhibition, the Tourist Board of the City of Vinkovci continues its cooperation with the State Archives in Vukovar, whose material represents the most reliable witnesses of the past, without which we would lose our own identity. Thus, for the purposes of this exhibition, the State Archives in Vukovar donated historical archives preserved in the funds of the former Vinkovci Municipal Assembly and the Vinkovci Secretariat of the Interior, which contain fully preserved files of official registrations of civil associations, federations and societies on their activities, members and context. time continuity from 1945-1990. The author of the exhibition is Mirela Baličević, senior archival technician at DAVU.July 08, 2016 during post office hours- Croatian Philatelic Society Vinkovci, use of commemorative stamps and commemorative envelopesJuly 15, 2016 from 19:00 p.m. – preparation of fish on Šetalište D. Švagelja with music program. We want to bring the charms of our Bosut closer to all visitors through a series of activities that we are planning in the future, and we are starting with the preparation of fish. Namely, last year the Tourist Board of the city of Vinkovci organized the Fish Festival in the pedestrian zone, and this year we want to revive the former “peaks” of the city, one of which is certainly the coast of Bosut. Teams registered at the Tourist Office and Cafe Bar Krnjaš will take part in the preparation of the fish, and all those present will be entertained by excellent tamburitza players.July 16, 2016 at 10:00 am – Living History program “Stari Vinkovci bana Šokčevića” and at 11:00 the program Living History “Slavonian blood of Vinkovci writers” in the pedestrian zone. In order to acquaint our fellow citizens with part of the program we do for tourists, we decided to organize a performance of the Living History program for them, which is shown for us by the Nova Scena Theater and the Mika Živković Theater.Finally, July 19, 2016 at 19:00 p.m. The promotion of the Tourist Guide and the presentation of the tourist offer of Vinkovci will be held in the Great City Hall of the City of Vinkovci. All activities we organize are free, follow the official one the website of the Vinkovci Tourist Board to find out all announcements and other activities.
The total border traffic of passengers at the entrance to the Republic of Croatia in January 2017 amounted to 4,2 million, which is 2,1% more than in January 2016, when 4,1 million passengers entered. The entry of domestic passengers increased by 3,6%, and foreign passengers by 1,2% compared to January 2016, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.Compared to January of the previous year, the data for January 2017 show an increase in passenger entries at road, rail and air border crossings and a decrease at maritime border crossings. There were no passenger entrances at inland waterway border crossings.In January 2017, the entry of passenger vehicles in road border traffic fell by 0,1%. Of that, the entry of personal vehicles fell by 0,2%, and the entry of buses increased by 8,8% compared to January of the previous year. Of the total number of passengers entering, 1,9 million passengers entered the road border crossings across the Croatian-Slovenian border, which is 4,5% more than in January 2016, and 1,6 million across the Croatian-Bosnian border, which is 6,3% more than in January 2016.Road border crossings with a higher number of foreign passengers entering the Republic of Croatia in January 2017, which show an increase compared to the same month last year, are: Bregana (7,4%), Macelj (6,6%) and Plovanija (10,2%) ).
Share on Facebook Pinterest LinkedIn Share Email Share on Twitter Admitting that you have a weight problem may be the first step in taking action, but a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that an increasing number of overweight adolescents do not consider themselves as such.“Adolescents with accurate self-perceptions of their body weight have greater readiness to make weight-related behavioral changes and are more effective in making the changes,” explained lead investigator Jian Zhang, MD, DrPH, from the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro GA. “By contrast, overweight adolescents who do not perceive their weight status properly are less likely to desire weight loss, and are more likely to have a poor diet.”When dealing with self-perception, many factors may come into play. For example, as obesity prevalence has more than doubled in adolescents during the past 20 years, socially accepted normal weight may also be shifting accordingly. “In the wake of the obesity pandemic, the media, weight loss industries, and medical communities have encouraged adolescents to maintain slender frames. Facing harsher messages, more and more overweight and obese adolescents may be increasingly reluctant to admit that they are overweight,” noted Dr. Zhang. Researchers used data from adolescents aged 12-16 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 1988-1994 (“early,” n=1,720) or 2007-2012 (“recent,” n=2,518). The self-perception of the participant’s weight was obtained from the Youth Questionnaires in the early survey and the Weight History Module in the recent survey. In both surveys, the respondents were asked: Do you consider yourself to be overweight, underweight, or just about the right weight? Participants were categorized as obese, overweight, or normal weight using body mass index (BMI) scores.The study determined that after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, sex, and family income, the probability of self-perceiving as “overweight” declined by 29% for overweight/obese adolescents interviewed during 2007-2012 compared with adolescents interviewed in 1988-1994. This misperception was most pronounced among whites and least among blacks.The researchers also suggest that the Social Comparison Theory may provide an additional explanation. According to this theory, individuals compare themselves to others, rather than to some absolute scale. With more overweight friends, adolescents may have a more positive image of their own weight.Further contributing factors are that adolescents in general experience significant changes in body appearance as they progress through puberty and the definitions of overweight and obese have changed over time.Nevertheless, Dr. Zhang and co-investigators caution that, “Becoming conscious of one’s excess weight is the precursor to adopting behavioral changes necessary for appropriate weight control. The declining tendency of correctly perceiving overweight status presents a vast challenge to obesity prevention among adolescents, making the overweight and obese adolescents less motivated to actively engage in effective weight loss behaviors.” On the other hand, the increasing proportion of overweight adolescents self-perceiving their body weight as the right weight may suggest a reduction in social pressure on adolescents and less psychological distress among adolescents to maintain lower weights. The researchers call for novel strategies to delicately protect adolescents’ attitude towards body image while correcting the body misperception to motivate adolescents.
Brain activity in the hippocampus changes after silencing the enthorinal cortex“We know that the hippocampal neurons generate pulses of activity when the animal is in a particular space,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Daoyun Ji, assistant professor of molecular & cell biology at Baylor.To measure the electrical activity in the hippocampus, the researchers inserted tiny probes – thinner than a human hair – into the brains of mice. “We inserted the probes into the hippocampus where they could detect the electrical signal generated by active neurons. We recorded this signal while the animal explored its surroundings. As the mouse learned its environment, we picked up the electrical pulses produced by the neurons – up to 50 neurons simultaneously – so that we could examine the pattern that emerged. When the animal was in one area of the room, a particular brain pattern emerged. The pattern changed as the animal moved to another area. We could predict where the animal was by looking at its pattern of brain activity,” said Ji.When the researchers turned off the entorhinal cortex with ivermectin, they saw the pattern of electrical signals in the hippocampus changed. Signals that had previously been associated with a particular location now became active in a different part of the room. “We found that the hippocampus had remapped, the memory code was scrambled,” said Ji. But would mice whose mental map had rearranged itself also lose their memory for the location they learned before re-mapping?To answer this question, the researchers trained mice to find a hidden escape platform submerged in a water maze using visual clues. Then some of the mice received ivermectin to inactivate the entorhinal cortex, while others did not. “The mice had been trained for 7 to 10 days, so they knew where to go to escape the pool. But when we turned off the entorhinal cortex, their hippocampal map got scrambled and the animals couldn’t remember how to exit the pool,” said Ji.“Our findings put us one step closer to understanding how our hippocampus may be required not only to learn a new environment, but also to remember it later,” said Jankowsky. “The system we used to silence neurons with ivermectin adds to a growing set of genetic tools created over the last 10 years to probe brain function. Because ivermectin is both safe and inexpensive, this particular system can be used for longer periods of inactivation appropriate for studying chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. That’s the thing I am most excited about with this work,” said Jankowsky. Share on Facebook Email Share Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Two interconnected brain areas – the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex – help us to know where we are and to remember it later. By studying these brain areas, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute have uncovered new information about how dysfunction of this circuit may contribute to memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Their results appear in Cell Reports.“We created a new mouse model in which we showed that spatial memory decays when the entorhinal cortex is not functioning properly,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Joanna Jankowsky, associate professor of neuroscience at Baylor. “I think of the entorhinal area as a funnel. It takes information from other sensory cortices – the parts of the brain responsible for vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste – and funnels it into the hippocampus. The hippocampus then binds this disparate information into a cohesive memory that can be reactivated in full by recalling only one part. But the hippocampus also plays a role in spatial navigation by telling us where we are in the world. These two functions converge in the same cells, and our study set out to examine this duality.”The new mouse model was genetically engineered to carry a particular surface receptor on the cells of the entorhinal cortex. When this receptor was activated by administering the drug ivermectin to the mice, the cells of the entorhinal cortex silenced their activity. They stopped funnelling information to the hippocampus. This system allowed the scientists to turn off the entorhinal cortex, and to determine how this affected hippocampal function.
LinkedIn Email Share on Twitter Pinterest Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Pennsylvania State University have found that a student’s fitness level and iron status could be the difference between making an A or a B.In the study based at Penn State, evidence suggested female college students who were fit and had normal iron levels achieved higher grade point averages than unfit women who were iron deficient. The difference in grade point average was as much as 0.34 — enough to drop or increase a letter grade.“GPA is a very easy measure of success and something everyone can relate to,” said Karsten Koehler, assistant professor of nutrition and health sciences at Nebraska. “That’s something that resonates pretty well. It’s always nice to show an association that has a meaningful effect that translates into something everybody can apply.” Share on Facebook Share Iron helps the body with essential functions such as transporting oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency is associated with fatigue, lower work capacity and poor academic performance. Physical fitness is also known to influence overall health, cognition and learning. Koehler and his colleagues wanted to explore the lesser known combined effects of fitness and iron deficiency on grade point average.The 105 women analyzed were all enrolled at Penn State and had an average GPA of 3.68. Data showed that women with the highest levels of stored iron had the highest grades. In addition, those who were fittest and had adequate iron stores had higher grades than less-fit women with lower iron stores.Koehler, who is also conducting research on the relationship between iron and athletic performance in adolescents in Nebraska, says that the impact of fitness was greater overall than the impact of iron status, but taken together, the impact was even greater.“Improving fitness or maintaining a high level of fitness can be important for collegiate success,” said Koehler. “Ideally, we should also make sure the diet is appropriate to prevent nutrient deficiencies.”An unfit person who makes good on a New Year’s resolution will not suddenly improve their GPA, Koehler said, “but there’s profound evidence that it goes hand-in-hand–that training has an effect on cognitive performance.”The study was published in January’s edition of The Journal of Nutrition and is available online.
Share on Facebook New research published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences provides additional evidence that more intelligent individuals are more likely to prefer instrumental music.“I first became interested in this topic while working on a project looking into the relationship between personality traits and musical preferences. At the time, I was studying evolutionary psychology and became familiar with Satoshi Kanazawa’s Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis,” said study author Elena Racevska, a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University.According to the hypothesis, intelligence evolved as a way to deal with new and unfamiliar things — resulting in more intelligent individuals having a greater preference for novel stimuli than less intelligent individuals. Pinterest Share LinkedIn Email “After reading Kanazawa’s papers, one of which was on the relationship between intelligence and musical preferences, we decided to further test his hypothesis using a different set of predictors — namely, a different type of intelligence test (i.e. a nonverbal measure), and the uses of music questionnaire,” Racevska explained.“We also measured a number of variables likely to have an effect in this relationship, such as taking part in extra-curricular music education, its type and duration.”The study of 467 Croatian high school students found that higher scores on the intelligence test were associated with a preference for instrumental music, including ambient/chill out electronica, big band jazz, and classical music.“From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, intelligence can only predict differences in the preference for instrumental music. Individuals with higher intelligence test scores are more likely to prefer predominantly instrumental music styles, but there are no differences in the preference for predominantly vocal or vocal-instrumental music that can be predicted with intelligence test scores,” Racevska told PsyPost.The researchers also found that participants used different genres of music for different reasons. For example, those who reported using music cognitively, such as finding enjoyment in analyzing compositions or admiring musical technique, tended to be more fond of instrumental music.But the study — like all research — include some limitations.“Intelligence is only one of the constructs connected to musical preferences, there are many others, such as personality traits, gender, age, degree of education, and family income,” Racevska said.“Future studies could focus on untangling the relationship between complexity and novelty in shaping preferences — complexity of vocalisation is preferred by many species, which could mean that it is evolutionarily familiar.”“It would also be wonderful to conduct a longitudinal study of how musical preferences change throughout developmental stages of the human life, and how they interact with numerous social and personal variables, such as societal pressures and peer relationships. A cross-cultural study could examine and control for influences of culturally specific ways of experiencing music, and other music-related behaviours,” Racevska added.The study, “Intelligence, Music Preferences, and Uses of Music From the Perspective of Evolutionary Psychology“, was authored by Elena Račevska and Meri Tadinac. Share on Twitter
Jun 3, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Scientists say they have identified factors that helped enable antiviral-resistant seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses, which previously were regarded as evolutionary weaklings, to spread around the world starting in 2007.Writing in Science, researchers at the California Institute of Technology report the discovery of a pair of secondary mutations that improved the “fitness” of H1N1 viruses carrying the mutation that confers oseltamivir resistance, helping to pave the way for their global dissemination. One implication is that these secondary mutations could be a predictor of the spread of oseltamivir resistance in other flu viruses, such as the pandemic H1N1 or avian H5N1.Seasonal H1N1 viruses—one of the three flu subtypes that typically circulate in any given season—began to show resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in the 2007-08 Northern Hemisphere flu season, and in the following season the resistant strain spread around the world.In the recently ended 2009-10 season, the seasonal H1N1 strain was pushed aside by the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, which in most cases remains susceptible to oseltamivir. But why the resistance spread globally has remained a mystery, because oseltamivir was not used widely enough to create strong evolutionary pressure in favor of the resistant strain.Oseltamivir and similar antivirals target the neuraminidase (N) protein of flu viruses. After a flu virus enters a host cell and reproduces, new copies of the virus use neuraminidase to help them exit the cell. As explained in a Caltech press release about the study, new viruses leaving a cell bind to sialic acid on the cell surface, and neuraminidase cuts the sialic acid, freeing the virus to invade other cells.Oseltamivir binds to neuraminidase, preventing it from cutting the sialic acid and setting the virus free. But the H274Y mutation slightly changes the shape of a crucial region of neuraminidase, blocking oseltamivir from attaching to it.This resistance mutation, however, “seemed to interfere with the virus’s ability to replicate and be transmitted,” Jesse D. Bloom, first author of the study, said in the news release. The team hypothesized that the mutation was preventing neuraminidase from reaching the cell membrane, blocking its function of helping the virus escape the cell. The researchers confirmed this by injecting neuraminidases from resistant and nonresistant viruses into cells and assessing the neuraminidase activity at the cell surface, according to their report.Bloom and colleagues further hypothesized that some other neuraminidase mutation or mutations must have arisen to compensate for the handicap associated with the resistance mutation. They searched for such mutations by analyzing the gene sequences of H1N1 viruses in the lineage that acquired oseltamivir resistance.They found two such mutations, called V234M and R222Q, in drug-resistant H1N1 viruses from the 2007-08 season. In a series of experiments, they then confirmed that the two mutations restored the fitness of the H274Y viruses to the level seen in nonresistant viruses, according to the report. The authors’ examination of viral gene sequences showed that the two mutations had emerged before the resistance mutation became widespread.”The evolution of oseltamivir resistance was therefore enabled by ‘permissive’ mutations that allowed the virus to tolerate subsequent occurrences of H274Y,” the scientists write. “An understanding of this process may provide a basis for predicting the evolution of oseltamivir resistance in other flu strains.”In a commentary accompanying the report, Edward C. Holmes of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University agrees with this suggestion, saying viral lineages that have the V234M and R222Q mutations should get special scrutiny for possible drug resistance. He adds that the pandemic H1N1 virus is the most important target for such forecasting at this point.Holmes notes that resistance in the pandemic virus has been fairly rare so far, with only about 1% of the 2,500 pandemic H1N1 sequences in GenBank having H274Y. And neither V234M nor R222Q has been found in any of the pandemic H1N1 viruses. Holmes says the absence of these mutations may be the reason oseltamivir resistance has not become widespread in the pandemic virus.While acknowledging that the two “permissive mutations” seemed to restore the fitness of resistant seasonal H1N1, Holmes says it is still not fully clear why the resistant viruses spread around the world, since oseltamivir does not seem to have been used widely enough to create strong pressure in that direction.One possibility is that H274Y became linked by chance to “a major fitness-enhancing mutation” somewhere else in the viral genome, but genetic analysis of seasonal H1N1 viruses have provided no evidence for such an event so far, Holmes writes. Another possibility, he says, is that the V234M and R222Q mutations not only restored the fitness of resistant viruses, but made them even more fit than their nonresistant counterparts.Bloom JD, Gong LI, Baltimore D. Permissive secondary mutations enable the evolution of influenza oseltamivir resistance. Science 2010 Jun 4;328(5983):1272-5 [Abstract]Holmes EC. Helping the resistance. (Commentary) Science 2010 Jun 4;328(5983):1243-4 [Abstract]See also:Jun 3 Caltech press releasehttp://media.caltech.edu/press_releases/13352
Sep 23, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – The European Medicine Agency (EMA) said today it is not clear if there is any link between narcolepsy cases and the Pandemrix vaccine for 2009 H1N1 influenza, and it will take 3 to 6 months to investigate the possibility fully.The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) concluded that further studies are needed, the agency said in a news release. In the meantime, the panel agreed that there is no need to restrict the vaccine’s use, as the benefit-risk balance continues to be positive.The EMA launched a review of Pandemrix on Aug 27, in the wake of reports of narcolepsy in vaccinees, mainly from Sweden and Finland. The vaccine, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline and contains an adjuvant, was administered to 30.8 million Europeans during the H1N1 pandemic.As of Sep 17, there were 81 reports from healthcare professionals suggesting narcolepsy, all collected through spontaneous reporting systems, the EMA said today. These included 34 from Sweden, 30 from Finland, 10 from France, 6 from Norway, and 1 from Portugal. Another 13 “consumer reports” have come from Sweden and 2 from Norway. Patients range from 4 to 52 years old.”The ongoing review is complex and will take some three to six months to complete,” the EMA said. “The Agency is working with experts from across the European Union to carefully scrutinize all available reports. Owing to a potential overlap of narcolepsy symptoms with several other neurological and psychiatric disorders, diagnosis is very often not confirmed until several years after symptom onset.”Recent reports of narcolepsy in children seem to outnumber those in previous years for some countries, but many uncertainties need to be clarified, the EMA said. Earlier diagnoses of narcolepsy might have contributed to the apparent increase, and the H1N1 pandemic itself might have influenced the numbers, the statement said.About 2 weeks ago, Swedish regulators said their own preliminary investigation had shown no link between narcolepsy cases and Pandemrix.On Sep 1 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had reviewed information from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and found no signs of a connection between narcolepsy cases and the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines used in the United States, where Pandemrix is not licensed.See also:Sep 23 EMA news releaseSep 9 CIDRAP News story “Sweden finds no link between H1N1 vaccine, narcolepsy”
Oct 13, 2011Study: HAI titers don’t translate well to flu vaccine efficacyThe level of hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) antibodies, while helpful as a correlate of influenza vaccine protection, should not be used alone to definitively gauge vaccine efficacy, researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health have concluded. In their study, published yesterday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, they vaccinated 259 volunteers with the injected trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) and 289 with live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), as well as injecting 110 with a placebo. The study was conducted in 2007-08, a season that saw type A H3N2 flu dominate, a strain that was a close match to one of the three vaccine strains. After vaccination, the TIV group had 22 (8.5%) lab-confirmed flu cases, compared with 53 (18.3%) for the LAIV group and 30 (27.3%) for the placebo group. The team found that the frequency of postvaccination seroconversion as measured by HAI titer (a postvaccination HAI titer of at least 32 if prevaccination titer was less than 8, or a fourfold or greater increase in HAI titer if prevaccination titer was 8 or higher) did not significantly differ for cases and noncases in either vaccine group. They called this finding surprising, given that “seroconversion is used as a major indicator of the activity of a vaccine.” They conclude, “This does not mean that the level of HAI antibody should not be considered a correlate of protection, but rather that an absolute titer may not correlate directly with protection and should only be viewed as a guide.”Oct 12 J Infect Dis abstractIran reports H5N1 outbreaks in ducksIran’s agriculture ministry today reported two H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in the country’s Mazandaran province, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The locations are villages in two different counties, Jooybar and Savadkooh. The province is in northern Iran on the coast of the Caspian Sea. The outbreaks, the first reported from Iran since August 2008, began Sep 13 and have sickened 535 birds and killed 343 more. Officials culled the remaining 2,337 birds to control the spread of the virus. An investigation into the source of the virus is under way. The H5N1 findings were confirmed at Iran’s Central Veterinary Lab on Sep 15 and at the Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza in Padova, Italy, on Oct 10.Oct 13 OIE reportH6N5 flu strain from wild bird deadly to mice but not other animalsSouth Korean researchers isolated an uncommon H6N5 avian flu virus from a wild bird and reported that it proved deadly to mice, transmissible in ferrets, not transmissible in pigs, and transmissible but not pathogenic in ducks and chickens. The H6N5 virus, identified during routine flu surveillance, killed all mice that were inoculated intranasally with it as well as contact mice, replicated well in the lungs, and spread to the brain, heart, kidney, liver, and spleen. In contrast, H6N1, H6N2, H6N8, and a different H6N5 subtype produced no symptoms and significantly lower lung titers and did not spread beyond the lungs. In ferrets the H6N5 strain produced high viral loads but only mild clinical symptoms, as well as transmission to one of two contact animals. Inoculation of pigs failed to show evidence of replication or transmission in nasal washes or lung tissue. Experimental H6N5 infection of wild mallard ducks and domestic chickens failed to lead to symptoms but did produce respiratory viral shedding in both species, as well as fecal shedding in a third of the ducks. The authors wrote that genetic and molecular analyses of the H6N5 strain showed sequences of the PB1 protein to have the “highest evolutionary relationship to those of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses.”Oct 12 J Virol abstractResearchers: Plague pathogen changed little since Black DeathA US, Canadian, and German team of researchers has sequenced the entire genome of the Yersinia pestis bacterium that caused the Black Death in the 14th Century, showing that it differs little from the pathogen that causes plague today, according to their study in Nature. Their accomplishment marks the first successful sequencing of an entire ancient pathogen, according to a press release yesterday from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, home to several of the scientists. They analyzed samples from Black Death victims buried in London. “Comparisons against modern genomes reveal no unique derived positions in the medieval organism, indicating that the perceived increased virulence of the disease during the Black Death may not have been due to bacterial phenotype,” the authors wrote. One of the authors, McMaster geneticist Hendrik Poinar, added in the release, “We found that in 660 years of evolution as a human pathogen, there have been relatively few changes in the genome of the ancient organism, but those changes, however small, may or may not account for the noted increased virulence of the bug that ravaged Europe.” The authors concluded that other factors, such as environment, vector dynamics, and host susceptibility likely explain why Y pestis is much less deadly today. The team had earlier sequenced 99% of one of the bacterium’s three plasmids, reporting those findings on Aug 29, and say their method could be used to sequence other ancient pathogens.Oct 12 Nature abstractOct 12 McMaster press releaseAug 30 CIDRAP News item on earlier findings