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Vaccine for traveler's diarrhea? 
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Vaccine for traveler's diarrhea? 

Vaccine for traveler's diarrhea? 
Photo Credit: Dreamstime/TNS
One way to attempt to avoid traveler's diarrhea is to drink bottled or boiled water when traveling internationally. (Dreamstime)

Vaccine for traveler's diarrhea? 

Every year, millions of people have vacations and business trips ruined when they succumb to “traveler’s diarrhea” during their journeys. A major cause of traveler’s diarrhea is bacteria called Enterotoxigenic E. coli, or ETEC. A joint effort between the University of Georgia and the University of Texas at Austin has discovered how ETEC works to cause disease. They are using this information in an effort to develop a preventive vaccine for travelers.

The researchers, led by the University of Georgia’s Dr. Stephen Trent—a professor in the department of infectious diseases—teamed up with the U.S. Navy Medical Research Center and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health to study samples taken directly from citizens who volunteered to become infected with ETEC. 

“If we can understand how ETEC causes disease, we can develop new vaccines to prevent infections,” Trent said.

Ingesting contaminated food or water can lead to ETEC infection, which can cause diarrhea for up to a week. Considering the fact that up to 200 million people become infected annually, an estimated 1 billion days of human productivity are lost every year due to ETEC infections. 

Visiting the doctor to get vaccinated before a trip can prevent travelers from catching a disease. Unfortunately, there are no available vaccines to prevent ETEC infections, so travelers must constantly be concerned about what they eat and drink while on vacation. 

The group examined how ETEC behaved inside humans during infection compared to how it behaved in the laboratory. They were surprised to find that ETEC produced more toxins when grown in the laboratory than it did in human infection samples. Bewildered, the researchers sought to figure out why. They discovered that ETEC could sense oxygen in the atmosphere, and that controlled the amount of toxins produced by ETEC. This explained their surprising data: There is more oxygen in the atmosphere than there is in the digestive tract, which resulted in the differing levels of toxin expression. 

This breakthrough gives researchers hope that they have identified the “cue” that ETEC uses to determine when to make toxins that cause disease. How ETEC causes disease via toxins has been studied exhaustively for decades. Previous groups have identified numerous factors that contribute to toxin production in ETEC, but this is the first-time oxygen has been identified as a major player in ETEC virulence. Lead author and University of Texas graduate student Alex Crofts said, “We think ETEC can sense the oxygen given off by our own cells as a cue to produce toxins.” 

The group now hopes to use this oxygen-sensitive ETEC response against the bacteria to prevent infections. “Beyond toxins, we found ETEC regulates many other factors in response to oxygen, and some of those are promising new targets for future vaccines,” explained Trent. “ETEC is a global burden on society, and we are doing all we can to advance our understanding of the disease.”

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  • A second man was arrested nearly two months after a shooting that left four students wounded outside the Atlanta University Center library, authorities said. The alleged shooter was out on bond in connection with a different shooting at the time of the incident, Atlanta police said. Ahmad Coleman, 25, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Mississippi Thursday, Atlanta police said in a news release. He is charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony and reckless conduct, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said. 'This is clearly a dangerous and reckless individual who has no regard for life,' Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields said. 'Our investigators have done a tremendous job of doggedly pursuing this case until they were able to identify him. I'm hopeful that the Courts will give pause prior to releasing this violent felon back into the community again.' RELATED: Man sought after 4 students shot at Atlanta University Center block party The AUC shooting occurred Aug. 20, hours before the start of the new school year, AJC.com previously reported. The four students were attending a block party with about 200 others when shots rang out about 10:30 p.m. The four women — two Spelman College students and two Clark Atlanta University students — were taken to a hospital with injuries ranging from graze wounds to gunshot wounds, according to Atlanta police. 'Initial investigation seems to indicate an argument broke out between two parties prior to the shooting,' Campos said at the time. 'It appears the women were not the intended targets of the shooting.' The students were identified as Erin Ennis, 18, of Powder Springs; Maia Williams-McLaren, 18, of Boston; Elyse Spencer, 18, of Rochester, N.Y.; and Kia Thomas, 19, of Jonesboro. MORE: How fun flashed into fear: AUC shooting victim recalls night of terror Three of the women were taken by ambulance from the scene, while a fourth showed up at Grady Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound, police said. The gathering, hosted by a third-party event company, was supposed to be a celebration of the end of new student orientation and the start of classes the following day. It was an unsanctioned event, Atlanta University Center leaders said.Clark Atlanta University President George T. French Jr., said officials are working with Atlanta police to improve safety on and around the campuses. 'The safety and security of our AUC family is our top priority,' French said in a statement. 'We appreciate the Atlanta Police Department's hard work during this investigation and their increased presence in and around our campuses.' Authorities believe Coleman exchanged gunfire with another man, 21-year-old Isaiah Williams, 21. Williams, who was seen in surveillance footage previously released by investigators, was previously charged in connection with the shooting after turning himself in, authorities said. ALSO: AJC On Campus: Enrollment highs, AUC tightens security after shooting Williams is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and criminal attempt to commit murder, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said. Police said Williams is not enrolled at any of the AUC institutions. ALSO: AJC On Campus: Enrollment highs, AUC tightens security after shooting At the time of the AUC shooting, Coleman was out on a signature bond from the Fulton County jail in connection with a different shooting that happened in March at an apartment complex on Fulton Street. He was arrested April 18 after he allegedly randomly fired multiple rounds from a semi-automatic rifle at an apartment complex over two consecutive days. He was charged with 11 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of first-degree damage to property and 11 counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was released May 16 on a $120,000 bond, jail records show. RELATED: Atlanta police release video of second suspect in AUC shooting Coleman remains in custody in Mississippi. He is awaiting an extradition hearing to determine when he will be transported back to Atlanta, Campos said.
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  • The family of a black woman who was shot and killed by a police officer while watching her 8-year-old nephew in her own home over the weekend has called for an independent investigation into the shooting. >> Read more trending news  Fort Worth police Lt. Brandon O'Neil told reporters Sunday that the officer involved, who was not identified, failed to announce himself as a police officer before he fired the single shot that struck and killed Atatiana Jefferson, 28. The shooting happened around 2:25 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report her home's front door had been left open. Update 2:25 p.m. EDT Oct. 14: Police said an officer who shot and killed a Texas woman Saturday morning in her own home resigned Monday before he could be fired from the Fort Worth Police Department. Police Chief Ed Kraus said Officer Aaron Dean joined the department in August 2017 and was commissioned as a police officer in April 2018. Police placed him on detached duty after the shooting and stripped him of his badge and firearm. Kraus said Dean resigned before he could cooperate with investigators. '(Atatiana's) father called this shooting senseless and I've certainly not been able to make sense of why she had to lose her life,' Kraus said. The chief said the case is subject to an internal and a criminal investigation. He added that authorities have presented the case to the FBI because of possible civil rights violations. Officers also presented the case to Texas Rangers. Kraus and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price apologized to the community for the shooting. 'We are all heart-broken today,' Price said. 'Atatiana was a beautiful, smart, amazing young woman by all accounts who was unjustly taken from her family.' Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 14: The family of Atatiana Jefferson held a news conference Monday, days after the 28-year-old was shot and killed in her home by a Fort Worth police officer. Relatives said an agency other than the Fort Worth Police Department should investigate Jefferson's death. One of her sisters, Ashley Carr, described her as 'a smart, ambitious, kind person with a nurturing spirit.' Carr said her sister had a bachelor's degree in biology from Xavier University and that her coworkers saw her as a person of integrity. Original report: A Fort Worth police officer did not announce that he was an officer before firing a single shot striking Atatiana Jefferson, who was inside the room with the boy, Fort Worth police Lt. Brandon O’Neil said at a news conference Sunday.  “What the officer observed and why he did not announce ‘police’ will be addressed as the investigation continues,” O’Neil said in a statement. “The members of the Fort Worth Police Department share your very real and valid concerns, as do the members of this city and people across the country. This tragic loss of life has major ramifications for all involved, especially the family of Ms. Atatiana Jefferson.” O’Neil declined to answer reporters’ questions and said Fort Worth police Chief Ed Kraus plans to conduct a more in-depth news conference Monday. The family also confirmed Jefferson was watching her nephew at the time. The two typically lived with an older woman who’s been in the hospital. Jefferson’s family is seeking answers. “It’s another one of those situations where the people that are supposed to protect us are actually not here to protect us,” said Jefferson’s sister, Amber Carr. “You know, you want to see justice, but justice don’t bring my sister back.” Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, said the officer never had time to perceive a threat.  “You didn’t hear the officer shout, ‘Gun, gun, gun,’” Merritt said. “He didn’t have time to perceive a threat. 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He is scheduled to be interviewed by investigators Monday.  The shooting comes less than two weeks after a white former Dallas police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of her black neighbor inside his own apartment. Amber Guyger, 31, said during her trial that mistook Botham Jean’s apartment for her own, which was one floor below Jean’s. Merritt also represents Jean’s family. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Rest easy, California students. And later, too. California became the first state in the nation to push back the starting time for high schools and middle schools, the Los Angeles Times reported. >> Read more trending news  Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Sunday that prohibits California's middle schools from starting classes before 8 a.m., while high schools can no longer start class before 8:30 a.m., according to The Sacramento Bee, According to the new legislation, school districts must adopt the law before July 1, 2022, or sooner if districts have collective bargaining units that will allow negotiations before the deadline, the newspaper reported. “The science shows that teenage students who start their day later increase their academic performance, attendance, and overall health,” Newsom said in a statement. “Importantly, the law allows three years for schools and school districts to plan and implement these changes.” The law will be phased in over the next few years. It does not apply to optional early classes -- known as 'zero periods' -- or to schools in California's rural districts, the Times reported. Doctors advocated the later start, asserting that teenagers were not getting enough sleep due to homework loads, after-school sports and jobs, KCRA reported. Doctors said later opening bell times would allow students to get more rest and function better during the school day, the television station reported. According to the Times, an analysis of the 2011-2012 school year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the average starting time for more than 3 million students attending high school and middle school was 8:07 a.m. Some students were required to be in class before 7:30, the report said. State Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, who authored the bill, said Newsom 'displayed a heartwarming and discerning understanding' and put the health of students 'ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change.” “Generations of children will come to appreciate this historic day and our governor for taking bold action. Our children face a public health crisis,' Portantino said in a statement. 'Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier.” Opposition to the law came from teachers unions and school districts that argued the time to begin classes should be determined at the local level and not mandated by the state. “We should not set the bell schedule from Sacramento,” Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, a former schoolteacher, told the Times. “Sacramento does not know best.” “Adolescents function better with more sleep, but we don’t believe that starting school later is the only path forward,” Seth Bramble, a legislative advocate for the California Teachers Association, wrote to lawmakers on Sept. 4. “A mandatory statewide school start time would be an onerous, overreaching mandate on an issue best left to local districts and their parents. The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in California.” In a statement, the association called Newsom's decision to sign the law 'unfortunate,' the Times reported.