Toxin : the cunning of bacterial poisons by Alistair J. Lax

By Alistair J. Lax

Alistair Lax takes a desirable examine those such a lot devious molecules, explaining the various creative mechanisms they use to penetrate our cell's defences, and the lethal pandemics that consequence. a narrative not just of ailment but additionally of human competition and patience in our fight to appreciate, strive against, and harness those strong pollutants. - ;What do the next have in universal: the promise of Botox because the key to Read more...


Alistair Lax takes a desirable examine those so much devious molecules, explaining the various inventive mechanisms they use to penetrate our cell's defences, and the lethal pandemics that outcome. A Read more...

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Extra info for Toxin : the cunning of bacterial poisons

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Humans can catch the infection, as skin infections or more dangerously gastrointestinal and inhalational disease, from animals. There is no evidence of human-to-human spread, and in that sense it would not have been thought to be infectious. Those working with animal skins are most at risk. These include tanners exposed to contaminated leather and people sorting wool for the carpet trade who are prone to inhalational anthrax, which is usually fatal and known as woolsorters’ disease. 6 It was only in the mid-eighteenth century that the disease symptoms were properly described in animals and humans, although at the time a connection was not made between the human and animal diseases.

The heavily contaminated Thames, a major source of drinking water, flowed past Parliament choking MPs with its evil smell. Eventually it was decided that London’s waste had to be dealt with. The Metropolitan Board of Works, under the control of its brilliant young chief engineer, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, constructed an enormous innovative sewage system that could take London’s waste out to the lower reaches of the Thames, where it could be dumped into the tidal river. Bazalgette’s far-reaching scheme included the construction of the embankments beneath which the vast main sewers ran and took 18 years to build.

Carbolic acid does not create a particularly pleasant environment, and by the end of the nineteenth century aseptic techniques were being employed where pathogens are excluded by the use of masks, gloves, and gowns, as opposed to killing what was there. None of these advances really proved that bacteria caused disease. In 1850 Casamir-Joseph Davaine and Peirre Rayer had found a large bacterium in the blood of cows dying of anthrax. The bacterium was also found in cases of the disease by Aloys Pollender.

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