Researchers have posited another benefit of reducing obesity rates: limiting the toll of viral infectious diseases. According to a study of Nicaraguan households spanning 3 flu seasons, the influenza A virus sheds longer in obese people because of chronic inflammation…

Global warming is allowing an array of forgotten pathogens to emerge from the thawing permafrost—and possibly reinfect humans.   Organic matter like dead animals, moss and plants, long preserved in ice, are now thawing, rotting, and releasing gases that not only spur global…

Each species of bat could unleash 17 zoonotic infections—those that jump from animals to humans—while every species of primate and rodent could launch 10, according to predictions of a new study by EcoHealth Alliance published in Nature.

There’s more bad news about the H7N9 bird flu virus, which caused a surge in human infections this spring. With just a few genetic tweaks, H7N9 could pass from human to human, according to a PLOS Pathogens study published yesterday.  

In subtropical regions, where flu viruses can circulate 8-12 months of the year, vaccinating pregnant women year round could yield dramatic health gains for mothers and and babies, according to a Nepal-based study in Lancet Infectious Diseases (paywall).  

Two researchers in Switzerland and the US have won the Open Science Prize for a genetic tool that maps how viruses spread in real time.   Richard Neher, of the University of Basel, and Trevor Bedford, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will each get $115,000 to…

Kevin Olival is a virus hunter, traveling to some of the word’s most remote locales to identify animal viruses unknown to science. His goal: to find the next pandemic virus before it jumps from animals to humans.   NPR follows Olival, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist…

For patients who contract dengue fever more than once, rogue antibodies developed fighting the virus a second time may increase the severity of the illness.  

Why has dengue virus re-emerged across Latin America and the Caribbean? Hoping to answer that complicated question, researchers reviewed and analyzed existing scientific literature on the different genotypes of the virus detected in the region from 2000 to 2013.  

Making a concerted effort to identify and catalog all the unknown viruses in the world could help humanity ward off—or at least survive—the next pandemic, say some researchers and global development workers.   One effort along these lines is the nascent Global Virome…