What Makes A Bacterial Species Able to Cause Human Disease?

Global effort produces first cross-species genomic analysis of Leptospira, a bacterium that can cause disease – and death – in targeted mammals, including humans —

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), have created the first comprehensive, cross-species genomic comparison of all 20 known species of Leptospira, a bacterial genus that can cause disease and death in livestock and other domesticated mammals, wildlife and humans. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Joseph Vinetz

Dr. Joseph Vinetz

Joseph M. Vinetz, MD, senior author of the study, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the UC San Diego Center for Tropical Medicine and Travelers Health.

Fellow UC San Diego Division of Infectious Diseases faculty members Michael A. Matthias, PhD, and Douglas E. Berg, PhD, are the other Department of Medicine investigators in the international multi-center leptospirosis project. Dr. Berg is Professor of Medicine and Professor of Genetics, and Dr. Matthias is Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Vinetz conducts his research in tropical infectious disease in laboratories at UC San Diego and at Instituto de Medicina “Alexander von Humboldt,” Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru.  He focuses his work on malaria and leptospirosis.

Read the article in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases (Open Access)

Dr. Joseph Vinetz and Colleagues Discover a New Species of Leptospirosis Bacteria

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Joseph Vinetz and colleagues have discovered a new species of bacteria that may be a major cause of a potentially fatal tropical disease.

The disease, leptospirosis, is transmitted from animals to humans. Severe forms of leptospirosis have high fatality rates.

Joseph Vinetz, M.D., is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. In the study, he collaborated with researchers at other North American centers and the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru.

The study was published in the April 1 issue of Neglected Tropical Diseases:

Matthias MA, Ricaldi JN, Cespedes M, … and Vinetz, JM. Human Leptospirosis Caused by a New, Antigenically Unique Leptospira Associated with a Rattus Species Reservoir in the Peruvian Amazon. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2008 April; 2(4): e213. Published online 2008 April 2. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000213. Read the report

Read the full story from UC San Diego Health Sciences Communications

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