Congress Passes Zika Funding Bill

Congress passed and President Obama signed a 10-week continuing resolution, which includes $1.1 billion for Zika virus research.

ASM Acts to Counter Zika Virus Outbreak

The emerging threat of Zika virus infection.

ASM Urges Action to Combat Zika Emergency

Current events linked to the Zika virus make aggressive public health actions and funding to combat this emerging infectious disease more crucial than ever.
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  •  ASM Sends a Letter to Members about Biosafety Laboratory Lapses
  • ASM Biodefense Committee Chair Heads New CDC External Laboratory Safety Workgroup
  • ASM Sends Letter Supporting the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act
  • ASM Participates in CDC Ebola Telebriefing
  • ASM Presents Recommendations to CMS on the 2015 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule
  • ASM Attends CCCLW June Meeting
  • Joint ASM and CLSI S. aureus and Ceftriaxone E-test Report Released
  • Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter


  • ICAAC 2014
  • New NRCM Registrants
  • ASM Designates University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Bacteriology MIM Site
  • ASM Conferences
  • ASM Journal Articles of Interest
  • ASM Press


  • House Committee Leaders Expand Investigation of Recent Safety Lapses Involving Select Agents
  • New Safety Protocols in Place, First CDC Lab Resumes Transfer of Inactivated Materials Out of High-Containment Laboratory
  • NIH Scientists Identify Gene Linked to Fatal Inflammatory Disease in Children
  • NIH Launches Phase I Clinical Trial of Novel Drug to Treat Clostridium difficile Infection
  • FDA Updates Findings in the Cold Storage Area on the NIH campus
  • First U.S. Acquired Chikungunya Case Reported in Florida
  • CDC Discontinues Routine Distribution of Paper Copies of MMWR Weekly
  • MMWR Articles of Interest


  • Fall ASCLS APHL Webinar Series
  • ASCP 2014 Annual Meeting
  • New Institute of Medicine President Takes Office
  • Articles of Interest


ASM Sends a Letter to Members about Biosafety Laboratory Lapses
ASM President Timothy Donohue and PSAB Chair Ronald Atlas sent a letter to ASM members about the recent events at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Because significant lapses in laboratory safety have been revealed, members are encouraged to review their procedures carefully. To see the letter, please go to http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy-2/93-policy/93014-biosafety-7-14.

ASM Biodefense Committee Chair Heads New CDC External Laboratory Safety Workgroup
In response to widely reported laboratory mishaps, CDC announced the formation of an external laboratory safety workgroup of the Advisory Committee to the Director of CDC. This group will provide advice and guidance to the CDC Director and CDC’s new Director of Laboratory Safety and is co-chaired by Kenneth Burns, past president of ASM and current chair of the PSAB Biosafety committee. Michael Pentella, member of the PSAB Laboratory Practices Committee and Director of the Bureau of Laboratory Sciences at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Massachusetts is also a member of this workgroup. To read more, please go to http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/s0724-lab-workgroup.html

ASM Sends Letter Supporting the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act
ASM President Timothy Donohue sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Chair Harkin in support of S. 2658, “A Bill to Prioritize funding for the National Institutes of Health to Discover Treatments and Cures, to Maintain Global Leadership in Medical Innovation, and to Restore the Purchasing Power the NIH had after the Historic Doubling Campaign that Ended in Fiscal Year 2003” which was previously known as “The Accelerating Biomedical Research Act.” The letter can be seen in full at http://www.asm.org/index.php/publicpolicy-2/statements-testimony/137-policy/documents/statements-and-testimony/93012-abra-2014.

ASM Participates in CDC Ebola Telebriefing
ASM staff members participated in the July 28 Telebriefing on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Deputy Director of CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) Stephan Monroe described the work the CDC and World Health Organization and other partners have been actively engaged in responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. To read the transcript in its entirety, go to http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/t0728-ebola.html.

ASM Presents Recommendations to CMS on the 2015 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule
On July 14, PSAB Professional Affairs Committee Chair Robert Jerris submitted ASM’s recommendations with respect to payment determinations to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) for select new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to be included in the 2015 Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule. To see the full list of ASM recommendation, click on http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy-2/137-policy/documents/statements-and-testimony/93008-2014-fee.

ASM Attends CCCLW June Meeting

PSAB Professional Affairs Chair Robert Jerris joined members of the Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce (CCCLW) in their June 30 organizational meeting in Chicago, IL.  Among the key topics for discussion was a new focus on the impact of the laboratory workforce on patient outcomes.  To see more of the projects CCCLW member organizations are undertaking, go to http://www.ccclw.org/.   


Joint ASM and CLSI S. aureus and Ceftriaxone E-test Report Released

The PSAB Committee on Laboratory Practices, in collaboration with the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), have prepared a joint release titled “MSSA and Ceftriaxone Etest issue: CLSI & ASM White Paper” to discuss problems with reporting ceftriaxone resistance in methicillin sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) isolates. The document reports the discordant results of side by side testing of MSSA isolates with Etest strips versus the broth microdilution reference method.  To read the report, please go to http://www.asm.org/images/PSAB/MSSA-Etest.pdf.

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter
The July issue of the Minority Microbiology Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM). ASM members can read the newsletter by going to this link:https://www.asm.org/index.php/publicpolicy-2/newsletters/minority-microbiology-newsletter/2-uncategorised/93010-mmm-7-14


ICAAC 2014
The 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, ICAAC, the premier conference on antimicrobial agents and infectious diseases, showcases the latest-breaking science and lectures from top researchers from around the world.

September 5 -9, 2014
Washington, DC

For more information, please go to http://www.icaac.org/

New NRCM Registrants
The National Registry of Certified Microbiologists (NRCM) certified 39 new Registrants for 2014. The list can be found by going to http://www.asm.org/index.php/professional-practice/105-professional-development/professional-certification/2828-new-nrcm-registrants.

ASM Designates University of Wisconsin Madison Department of Bacteriology MIM Site
ASM has designated the University of Wisconsin, Madison Department of Bacteriology as a “Milestones in Microbiology” (MIM) site. The dedication ceremony will take place August 30, 2014. The ASM Milestones in Microbiology program recognizes institutions and the scientists who worked there that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. To see more about the Department’s history, please go to https://www.asm.org/index.php/choma3/71-membership/archives/93020-university-of-wisconsin-madison-department-of-bacteriology-designated-as-a-milestones-in-microbiology-site.

ASM Conferences

5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes
September 27-30, 2014
Washington, DC

5th ASM Conference on Cell-Cell Communication in Bacteria
October 18-21, 2014
San Antonio, TX

3rd ASM Conference on Viral Manipulation of Nuclear Processes
October 30 - November 2, 2014
Washington, DC

1st ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections
November 13 – 16, 2014
Washington, DC

For a complete list of upcoming ASM conferences, please see http://conferences.asm.org/

ASM Journal Articles of Interest

MERS-CoV Detected in Air Sample of Saudi Camel Barn
Using RT-PCR, Saudi researchers have discovered Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the air sample of a barn which held an infected camel. The DNA shed from the camel matches that found in the air sample. To read more about the findings and to see the paper on mBio®, please go to http://www.asm.org/index.php/journal-press-releases/93015-mers-coronavirus-detected-in-the-air-of-a-saudi-arabian-camel-barn.

New Influenza Treatments Could Target Immune Response, not Virus
Influenza virus pathogenicity is due partly to tissue damage that arises from an overly robust immune response. Researchers at the University of Washington, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have used host transcriptomic profiling to computationally predict drugs that reverse the host response to H7N9 infection, and identified six FDA-approved drugs that could potentially be repurposed to treat pathogenic influenza viral infection. To read more, see http://www.asm.org/index.php/journal-press-releases/93011-potential-new-flu-drugs-target-immune-response-not-virus.

Impact of Antimicrobial Stewardship Intervention on Coagulase-Negative Staphylococcus Blood Cultures in Conjunction with Rapid Diagnostic Testing

A quasiexperimental study was conducted to analyze the impact of rapid diagnostic testing with MALDI-TOF plus antimicrobial stewardship team (AST) review and intervention for adult hospitalized patients with blood cultures positive for coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS). Antibiotic prescribing patterns and clinical outcomes were compared before and after implementation of MALDI-TOF with AST intervention for patients with CoNS bacteremia. For more, go to Journal of Clinical Microbiology at http://jcm.asm.org/content/52/8/2849.full.

Probiotic-Associated Aspiration Pneumonia Due to Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Lactobacilli are low-virulence, commensal organisms of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts and are commonly used as “probiotic supplements.” This report describes an episode of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis with bacterial superinfection secondary to administration of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in an 11-month-old female. For more, go to Journal of Clinical Microbiology at http://jcm.asm.org/content/52/8/3124.full.

Simple Objective Detection of Human Lyme Disease Infection Using Immuno-PCR and a Single Recombinant Hybrid Antigen

Multiple antigens are required for an accurate overall diagnosis of the multiple stages and types of Lyme disease. This study compares the performance of a new optimized Lyme disease iPCR protocol with that of the current 2-tier method of Lyme disease diagnosis. To read more, go to Clinical and Vaccine Immunology at http://cvi.asm.org/content/21/8/1094.full.


Bordetella pertussis Lipid A Glucosamine Modification Confers Resistance to Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides and Increases Resistance to Outer Membrane Perturbation

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an important Gram-negative bacterial surface structure that activates the immune system via TLR4 and enables susceptibility to cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs). This article shows modification of the Bordetella lipid A of the LPS region increased resistance to numerous CAMPs. The entire article can be read in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy at http://aac.asm.org/content/58/8/4931.full.

ASM Press

Scientific Integrity, Fourth Edition
Author: Francis L. Macrina
Paperback, 450 pages, illustrations, index
(9781555816612) for more information, please visit the e-store at:



House Committee Leaders Expand Investigation of Recent Safety Lapses Involving Select Agents
House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders continued their investigation of recent safety lapses involving anthrax, smallpox, and avian influenza. Committee leaders today sent letters to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Health and Human Services Inspector General seeking further information about the recent incidents and federal management of select agents. See more at http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/committee-leaders-expand-investigation-recent-safety-lapses-involving-anthrax-smallpox.

New Safety Protocols in Place, First CDC Lab Resumes Transfer of Inactivated Materials Out of High-Containment Laboratory
After intensive review by CDC’s internal Laboratory Safety Improvement Working Group (internal working group), CDC Director Tom Frieden, has lifted the moratorium on a specific type of material transfer for the CDC’s Clinical Tuberculosis Laboratory. The moratorium remains in place for other high-containment (BSL-3 and BSL-4) laboratories. Labs supporting direct patient care are receiving priority review. To read more about which laboratories will be reviewed, go to http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/s0724-lab.html.

NIH Scientists Identify Gene Linked to Fatal Inflammatory Disease in Children
Investigators have identified a gene that underlies a very rare but devastating autoinflammatory condition in children named STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI). STING, a known signaling molecule whose activation leads to production of interferon, is a key immune regulator. When overproduced, however, interferon can trigger inflammation. For more, please go to http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jul2014/niams-17.htm.

NIH Launches Phase I Clinical Trial of Novel Drug to Treat Clostridium difficile Infection
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has launched an early-stage clinical trial of CRS3123, an investigational oral antibiotic intended to treat C. difficile infection. The Phase I trial will enroll up to 30 healthy men and women ages 18 to 45 in a dose-escalation study to evaluate the investigational drug’s safety and tolerability. To follow the study, please go to http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/Pages/CdifficileTrial.aspx.

FDA Updates Findings in the Cold Storage Area on the NIH campus
On July 1, 2014, biological samples were found in the cold storage area of U.S. Food and Drug Administration laboratories on the National Institutes of Health campus. The investigation found 12 boxes containing a total of 327 carefully packaged vials labeled with names of various biological agents such as dengue, influenza, Q fever, and rickettsia. Upon the discovery of these vials on July 1, 2014, FDA employees followed standard protocol and turned them all over to the appropriate NIH safety program officials, who in turn transferred them to the appropriate investigative agencies, as per standard protocols.

This collection was most likely assembled between 1946 and 1964 when standards for work with and storage of biological specimens were very different from those used today. To read more, please click the link http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm405434.htm.

First U.S. Acquired Chikungunya Case Reported in Florida
Seven months after the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya was recognized in the Western Hemisphere, the first locally acquired case of the disease has surfaced in the continental United States. The case was reported July 17 in Florida in a male who had not recently traveled outside the United States. Over 240 cases have been reported in travelers. More information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0717-chikungunya.html.

CDC Discontinues Routine Distribution of Paper Copies of MMWR Weekly
Effective August 1, 2014, subscribers who currently receive printed copies of MMWR at no cost directly from CDC each week will no longer receive them. This decision was reached after careful consideration of the costs of printing and mailing. All MMWR publications are available at no cost online. 

MMWR Articles of Interest

Prevalence and Correlates of Cryptococcal Antigen Positivity among AIDS Patients, 1986-2012
There are few data from the United States on the prevalence of cryptococcal antigenemia. To estimate the prevalence, stored sera collected from 1986–2012 from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study and the Women's Interagency HIV Study were screened for Cryptococcal antigen (CrAg). To be eligible for the study, specimens needed to come from study participants who were HIV-infected, had a CD4 T-cell count <100 cells/µL, and had ≥0.5mL of stored serum available for testing. 

Interim CDC Guidance for Polio Vaccination for Travel to and from Countries Affected by Wild Poliovirus
On June 2, 2014, CDC issued a health alert providing guidance to U.S. clinicians regarding new WHO polio vaccination requirements for travel by residents of and long-term visitors to countries with active poliovirus transmission. Three countries are still endemic for polio (Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan) and countries where wild polio virus (WPV) has circulated during the previous 12 months include those with polio outbreaks or environmental evidence of active WPV circulation during this time (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Israel, Somalia, and Syria). 

World Hepatitis Day
July 28, 2014, marks the 4th annual World Hepatitis Day. Nearly 400 million persons are living with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, and more than 1 million die annually as a result of their infection. This year, the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) reaffirmed the global commitment to prevent and control viral hepatitis. 


Fall ASCLS APHL Webinar Series
The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) have partnered to offer a series of webinars in September and October, 2014. To register, please go to http://www.ascls.org/index.php/professional-development/online-education/ascls-aphl-webinars.

ASCP 2014 Annual Meeting
The American Society of Clinical Pathology Annual Meeting will be held in Tampa, FL October 8-10, 2014. Discounted registration is now available by going to http://www.ascp.org/2014-Annual-Meeting/index.html.

New Institute of Medicine President Takes Office
Victor Dzau began his new role as president of the Institute of Medicine July 1. Dzau takes the helm at IOM after serving nearly 10 years as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and CEO for Duke University Health System. Before that, Dzau held posts with Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Stanford University. To read more about the new IOM president, go to http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=07012014.  

Articles of Interest

Chikungunya hits Gloucester, Burlington counties
Newark Star Ledger
July 30, 2014
Three South Jersey residents are among 25 people in the state who have tested positive for the mosquito-carried chikungunya virus. Health officials said those with the virus recently traveled to the Caribbean.

Fear of Ebola Breeds a Terror of Physicians
New York Times
July 27, 2014
Health workers here say they are now battling two enemies: the unprecedented Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 660 people in four countries since it was first detected in March, and fear, which has produced growing hostility toward outside help.

In Chesapeake Bay Waters Warmed by Summer Sun, a Deadly Pathogen Lies in Wait
Washington Post
July 27, 2014
Vibrio vulnificus is a rapid-spreading flesh-eating bacteria that naturally occurs in saltwater or estuaries, particularly from May to October. Six cases of Vibrio vulnificus infection have been reported already this year, according to the Maryland Department of Health. Last year, there were 14.

Quick-acting Protein Could be Used to Fight Viral Infections
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
June 30, 2014
Saumendra Sarkar and his group at University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s cancer virology program have determined the mechanism of action for the oligoadenylate synthetases-like protein or OASL. The study describes the function of OASL as a first line of cellular defense against viruses once they expel their RNA into cells’ cytoplasm.