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Hate insects? Afraid of germs? Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying a staph "superbug." Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant staph bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood. Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there's no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread the MRSA germ they were carrying. Two of the bugs had a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these germs, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study's authors.

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Animal therapy in jumbo doses

Four autistic Thai teenagers recently went through a course of animal therapy that was the first of its kind. Instead of the usual dog or cat, their therapy used elephants. Nua Un and Prathida, two gentle female elephants, had the boys smiling in minutes. The boys scrubbed and soaped bristly hides, played ball games with the pachyderms and rode them bareback in Lampang, Thailand. But more research is needed, said Rebecca Johnson, who heads the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri and spoke of the program at the school's Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.