Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Infectious Disease

Battling Antibiotic Resistance

By Sally Sapega | September 11, 2015 | Comments Antibiotic resistance

Since the 1940s, antibiotics have significantly reduced morbidity and mortality, but their widespread – and sometimes excessive -- use have come at a price: an alarming rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Indeed, in this country, at least two million people become infected annually with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics; more... Read more

What’s Behind a Recent Uptick in Lyme Disease?

By Paul Foster | July 6, 2015 | Comments Adult_deer_tick

Summer is finally here and for many in the Philadelphia area, that means day hikes along the Wissahickon Creek, picnics in Fairmount Park or maybe a week-long camping trip in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. While those activities are all great options to get away while getting in touch with the... Read more

Clean Hands Save Lives

By Sally Sapega | June 19, 2015 | Comments image from

For the past several years, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – along with many other U.S. hospitals -- has focused on lowering the rate of HAIs (health-care associated infections), using team work and many proven strategies to prevent the infections before they start. But studies show that the... Read more

Identifying Hepatitis C Early, Getting Ahead of a ‘Silent Killer’

By Paul Foster | May 20, 2015 | Comments image from

Of the nearly 3.5 million Americans infected with hepatitis C, less than 50 percent were diagnosed and knew of the infection and just 43 percent of those with the disease had access to outpatient care, according to a 2014 study by Penn researchers. Less than 10 percent of the total... Read more

The New Avengers: Lab-Coated Heroes Honored for Behind-the-Scenes Contributions

By Karen Kreeger | May 5, 2015 | Comments Lab week 2015 logo

Late last month Penn Medicine observed the fortieth Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time to recognize the hard work and dedication of the 600-plus lab professionals in more than 30 laboratories across the health system. Read more

Measles Outbreaks and Vaccinations: Does it Change Anything?

By Steve Graff | April 10, 2015 | Comments Vaccines

In most communities in the United States today, the measles vaccination rate is a relatively high 94 percent. But some areas fall short of that average for various reasons: lack of awareness, lack of access, and a growing vaccine refusal movement. With one of the lowest vaccination rates, Pennsylvania currently... Read more

Penn Center for AIDS Research: ‘We’ve Come a Long Way, But the Battle is Far From Over'

By Steve Graff | January 28, 2015 | Comments IMG_1033

Penn CFAR co-directors James Hoxie, MD, and Ronald Collman, MD Celebrating the Perelman School of Medicine’s 250 years has us looking back at some of the great accomplishments and milestones from all corners of the campus, as well as those that have come out of the longstanding collaborations with our... Read more

Antibiotic Resistance: The Med, Vet Connection

By Steve Graff | January 16, 2015 | Comments Photo 1

Antibiotic resistance is a pressing public health issue in America today. Infections from so-called “superbugs” that can’t be beat with our arsenal of drugs are responsible for over 23,000 deaths a year and two million illnesses. And the cost to treat these infections? About $20 billion a year in excess... Read more

Year in Review: A Look Back at 2014!

By Steve Graff | December 31, 2014 | Comments

Before we ring in the New Year, the Penn Medicine department of Communications is taking a look back at 2014, a year filled with more breakthroughs in medical research, growth at the Penn Medicine campus, and philanthropic support. This year, we took a different approach and put together a year...

Ebola Virus Disease: The Facts Are Important

By Holly Auer | November 6, 2014 | Comments SLP_1734- Brennan

Patrick J. Brennan, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He is an infectious disease physician and a former director of tuberculosis control for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In this guest post, he writes to share important information about the Ebola virus... Read more

ID Week Comes to Philadelphia

By Steve Graff | October 9, 2014 | Comments IDweek2014_4Cfull

The annual infection diseases conference known as ID Week kicked off in Philadelphia yesterday, and it couldn’t be more timely. And it’s not just because of Ebola. A slew of other outbreaks have been in the public eye as of late: enterovirus, MERS, dengue fever. The program organizers have shifted... Read more

First City of American Medicine

By John Shea | September 26, 2014 | Comments image from

Fifty years ago this month, The Philadelphia Bulletin devoted almost its entire Sunday issue to a look at Philadelphia’s place in the history of medicine. The cover featured a Penn doctor who was already an iconic figure -- I. S. Ravdin, former chair of Surgery. When the issue appeared, Ravdin... Read more

Double Trouble: How Parasitic Worms Weaken Antiviral Immunity

By Karen Kreeger | September 5, 2014 | Comments Artis CM cover warhol worms Sept 14

David Artis, PhD, professor of Microbiology and his team, including first author Lisa Osborne, PhD, demonstrated that mice already infected with parasitic helminths were worse at fighting viral infection. Read more

Ebola Prompts Extraordinary Precautions in Hospitals

By Steve Graff | August 22, 2014 | Comments Article-2714168-20347B4A00000578-650_634x482

We’ve all seen the vivid footage on the news these past few weeks: Two hospital workers donned in full body hazmat suits and respirators helping the Americans who fell victim to the Ebola virus out of an ambulance and into air-tight rooms. To many, it seems like the best way... Read more

Penn Medicine Remembers Victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight: A Loss to the HIV/AIDS Community

By Steve Graff | July 25, 2014 | Comments Ribbon

WHYY’s Radio Times’ show last Friday focused on much of the progress that’s been made in the world of HIV/AIDS research and care, but there was one terrible set back that had to be addressed. Earlier that morning, news broke that the Malaysia Airlines plane struck down over the Ukraine... Read more

Medical Missions: Now and Then

By John Shea | July 24, 2014 | Comments image from

Having been an editor of Penn Medicine publications for, um, several years, I’ve been privileged to learn about some of the many medical missions abroad that the institution’s physicians, nurses, and alumni have taken part in. Occasionally, our magazines have covered such initiatives. In the most recent issue of Penn... Read more

Summer Brings More Ticks—and a New Fight Against Them

By Steve Graff | July 2, 2014 | Comments Tick

Ticks of Pennsylvania beware. A new bill expected to be signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett will educate potential victims about you and the Lyme disease you carry, track cases, and pinpoint where you like to hang out. It’s not looking good. The bill—named the Lyme and Related Tick-Borne... Read more

Another Wound Bites the Dust - All-Star Team Treats Chronic and Complex Wounds

By Kim Menard | March 7, 2014 | Comments

The new Penn Center for Wound Healing and Reconstruction – to treat people dealing with unrelenting wounds – aims to simplify the process by bringing a cadre of specialists together, centering around patient needs.

Transcription Factors Key to Using T Cells Against Cancer, Chronic Infection

By Karen Kreeger | March 6, 2014 | Comments Wherry BATF spiral blog post Mar 14

Business is brisk in the lab of John Wherry and his team from the Department of Microbiology and the Institute for Immunology for papers on killer and helper T cells. Two studies -- bound by their focus on transcription factors important in the immune response – have come out of the lab in the last few weeks. And, they both identify potential new targets for cancer immunotherapies. Read more

Cancer in Waiting: Latency in Viral-Based Cancer Explained

By Karen Kreeger | February 18, 2014 | Comments image from

The lab of Erle Robertson, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology, and program leader of Tumor Virology at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, has been studying how Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV) subverts normal cell machinery to cause cancer for more than a decade. Read more

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