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LA Times: Dr. Berger Answers Questions About Food and COVID-19

LA Times Cooking Editor, Genevieve Ko, turned to GIDEON founder, Dr. Stephen Berger, to get an expert opinion about COVID-19 and food transmission. Dr. Berger provided answers to some common questions people are asking such as:

  • Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food? If so, how?

Dr. Berger: There have been no cases of COVID-19 associated with the ingestion of food, but the question is well-founded. COVID-19 is, after all, caused by a virus that enters the body through the nose or mouth. Food items are, after all, objects which may be contaminated with the virus and placed in the mouth — but like many other viruses, bacteria, and parasites, these will be swallowed and most likely destroyed by stomach acids. Should the virus survive into the intestine, no pathway will carry it to the lungs.

  • Can COVID-19 be transmitted in the process of consuming food or only through the respiratory system?

Dr. Berger: The virus of COVID-19 must enter the respiratory system to produce disease. There is the possibility that material could travel from the mouth through the larynx and into the lungs. It is thought that acquisition of COVID-19 through this route rarely, if ever, occurs.

  • If COVID-19 is on food, can it be killed by cooking? If so, at what temperatures?

Dr. Berger: SARS virus, a close relative of the virus of COVID-19, is inactivated at temperatures of 56 to 65 degrees Celsius (132.8 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • Can you acquire COVID-19 from food?

Dr. Berger: The bottom line answer is … no.


You can read the entire article here. 

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HealthDay talks to Dr. Berger about ‘best practices’ for disinfecting

If you are one of those people who think you need to scrub down everything after an outing, here’s some good news…you can save some of that disinfectant. GIDEON’s co-founder Dr. Stephen Berger provided practical advice about what items should be disinfected in your home. [Spoiler alert: It’s not your keys, money, or credit cards!] 

Here’s what Dr. Berger had to say to HealthDay

“We are all swimming through an invisible swamp of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Those bookshelves and those pictures on the wall are teeming with ugly microbes. Not to mention your cellular phone, wristwatch, eyeglasses, and everything else in your world.”

But he did explain that there’s no need to scrub everything down once you return from outside. 

“The good news is that you are in no danger from most of this,” Dr. Berger said. “And you have no reason to compulsively avoid, or even clean, every object in your personal world. With one exception: your own hands!”

Proper handwashing is what the experts have been stressing from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and a message that Dr. Berger, who is double board-certified in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, reinforces.

You can read the entire article here

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates on our new interface!

GIDEON’s Dr. Stephen Berger offers up important coronavirus safety tips in article

Besides consistent hand washing, self-quarantining, and social distancing, people want to know the best ways to remain healthy and reduce their risk of getting COVID-19. wrote about ‘14 Ways to Stay Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic’, which included everything from maintaining good support systems to consistent exercise to covering your face and how that can and can’t protect you. GIDEON co-founder Dr. Stephen Berger discussed important information to remember when it comes to wearing face masks.

Here’s what was covered in the article:

Realize that covering up your face is not an excuse to not social distance.

In early April, the CDC made the recommendation that Americans should wear masks and cloth face coverings whenever going out in public. But experts want you to know that this is not a reason to now get together with friends or to forgo the social distancing recommendations of keeping 6-feet away. While face masks can help to reduce the amount of viral respiratory droplets released into an environment, they are not 100% effective at keeping you safe from the coronavirus.

“Extremely small particles, including the virus itself, might pass through the spaces that allow air to pass,” Dr. Berger, told Parade. He added that facial coverings do not cover the eyes, which is another channel in which the virus can be transmitted.
“And face masks do not protect our hands, clothing, objects that we may be carrying. All of these are exposed to contaminated secretions and might infect us at some later time.”

You can read the entire article here

Dr. Stephen Berger on why COVID-19 is different for men than women in Healthline article

GIDEON founder, Dr. Stephen Berger was recently interviewed about gender disparities and COVID-19. Experts have been watching the data in Europe and have found that 68% of the COVID-19 deaths have been among men. And in New York City, men have been dying at twice the rate of women, according to the city’s health department.
Dr. Berger says genetics, preexisting conditions, and bad habits may be to blame.

“Some of the underlying reasons why COVID-19 may be more deadly for men than women may include the fact that heart disease is more common in elderly men than in elderly women,” Dr. Berger told Healthline. “Studies also find that high blood pressure and liver disease are more prevalent in men and these all contribute to more negative outcomes with COVID-19.”

Dr. Berger also explained that habits, like smoking, can negatively affect lung health, which may play a key role in COVID-19’s impact on men. He said that in China, for example, smoking is more popular among men, which could result in chronic lung disease. This puts them at a much greater disadvantage should they contract coronavirus. 

You can read the entire article here


Filgen distributes GIDEON in Japan

Filgen logoWe are pleased to announce that Filgen (フィルジェン株式会社) will be selling GIDEON in Japan.

Filgen, Inc. was founded in 2004 at Nagoya, Japan.
Filgen is a leading company of life science in Japan and offers various and cutting-edge analysis services by utilizing many technologies such as microarray, mass spectrometer, and next generation sequencing. The company also provides many biological reagents, instruments, and bioinformatics software. In addition, the company manufactures and provides machines for the nano-scientific field.

More information from Filgen about GIDEON

GIDEON AND O’Reilly Media announce partnership to distribute 411 Infectious Disease Ebooks

— Features up-to-date information on 347 infectious diseases and 200 countries —
— Available for Kindle, iPad, mobile devices and computers in PDF, mobi and ePub formats —

LOS ANGELES, Calif., November 1, 2010 – GIDEON Informatics Inc ( today announced a partnership with O’Reilly Media, Inc. to distribute a new series of 411 GIDEON ebooks on infectious diseases ($49 each) that can be read on Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, mobile devices and personal computers. The GIDEON ebook series makes it easier for medical professionals to stay up to date on developments in the field of Infectious Diseases and provides the first comprehensive compilation of disease data for every country in the world.

The new GIDEON ebook collection features one series of ebooks dedicated to infectious disease data by country, and another series that details the “global status” of each disease. The GIDEON ebook series encompasses over 95,000 pages of text, supplemented by 30,000 graphs and 200,000 clickable linked references.

“Keeping up with new information on infectious diseases is a significant challenge for medical professionals, and these new ebooks now make all of the world’s data more accessible,” said Dr. Stephen Berger, Chief Medical Officer of GIDEON. “The ebooks in this series retail at $49 each, making them affordable and ideal for medical professionals, public health departments, students, educators, researchers and pharmaceutical companies.”

The country series of GIDEON ebooks includes a complete and comprehensive review of the status of every infectious disease – for each of 200 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The “global status” GIDEON ebook series summarizes the clinical features and epidemiology of every individual disease, with an entire book dedicated to each condition – from Acanthocephalan worms to Yersiniosis. The GIDEON ebook series even includes entire ebooks for lesser-studied countries, such as Andorra, Djibouti and Kiribati; and diseases such as Acanthocephalan worms, Coltiviruses, Dicrocoeliasis and Australo-Pacific Arboviruses.

Additional titles in the GIDEON ebook series include: Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism and Infectious Diseases of the World. GIDEON Online also offers a free ebook on Infectious Diseases of Haiti (314 pages, 36 graphs), which has already been downloaded over 10,000 times. It is available for free download or on for $1, for the US: Kindle version.

In addition to all diseases which are endemic to a given country, each book includes all published data regarding imported diseases and infection among expatriates. The entire series will be updated annually.

“We are excited to distribute the GIDEON series of ebooks through O’Reilly’s new Digital Distribution Services,” said Pascal Honscher, General Manager Digital Distribution of O’Reilly Media, Inc. “These quality infectious disease titles from GIDEON will now be easily available through a large number of resellers.”

O’Reilly Media’s Digital Distribution Service provides ebooks in multiple formats to leading online book retailers and channels, including: Amazon, Apple iTunes, Book Glutton, eBookPie, Barnes & Noble, PaperC, Dawson, Scribd, Follet, Diesel eBooks, Entourage eDGe, Kobo, Examville, Immateriel, Woodslane, Bookshare and Android market. The GIDEON ebook series is available through these channels and directly on the GIDEON Online website at

“We are thrilled to partner with O’Reilly Media, a market leader in ebooks digital distribution with an extensive distribution network,” said Uri Blackman, CEO of GIDEON Informatics, Inc. “This new ebooks series on infectious diseases makes this vital information easily available in a variety of formats.”

The data in these ebooks are based on the GIDEON Online database (, which incorporates all relevant information from text books, peer-review journals, Health Ministry reports and ProMed, supplemented by an ongoing electronic search of the medical literature. GIDEON’s ebooks complement its web application by expanding easy access to GIDEON’s vast content without a subscription or internet access.

About GIDEON Informatics
GIDEON Informatics Inc develops and markets point-of-care medical-decision support applications that help reduce diagnostic errors. Founded in 1992 by Uri Blackman and Stephen Berger, MD, one of the foremost experts on Infectious Disease, GIDEON Informatics is managed by an expert executive team and medical advisory board. Its comprehensive, easy-to-use, interactive Web-based infectious disease knowledge management tool helps medical personnel worldwide diagnose and treat infectious diseases, and identify microorganisms, including bioterrorism agents. GIDEON is in use by hundreds of medical institutions, universities and public health departments worldwide including Children’s Hospital Oakland, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Yale University, Hong Kong University and the Los Angeles county health department. For additional information on GIDEON Informatics, visit or call 888-664-3366.

About O’Reilly
O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O’Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying “faint signals” from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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Media Contact:

Lisa Hendrickson
LCH Communications for GIDEON Online

Available on:

GIDEON review in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease

Dr. Stephen Toovey wrote a nice review of GIDEON in the Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease journal. He says “…there is no doubt that travel medicine practitioners, infectious disease physicians and microbiologists in need of a serious database will have to consider Gideon”

Common Travel Illnesses

forbes-traveler-logoFollowing up on The Ten Worst Travel-Related Diseases post, Terry Ward at Forbes Travel interviewed Dr. Steve Berger for her article, 8 most common travel illnesses. Steve spoke about diarrhea:

“It’s very hard to avoid. About 40 percent of people will get diarrhea when traveling in an undeveloped country, which covers most of the world,” says Dr. Stephen Berger, founder and medical advisor for GIDEON, an online infectious diseases database. Exposure to different strains of the E. coli bacteria, present in all of our bodies, says Berger, is what usually causes diarrhea in travelers, and it can happen in any country.

… referenced chikungunya:

“And with the chikungunya outbreak in Italy in 2007, that’s not tropical any more either,” says Dr. Berger, referring to another mosquito-borne illness that manifests with terrible joint pain, muscle pain, a fever, and often a rash. An outbreak in Ravenna, Italy, in 2007 showed the disease was spreading beyond the tropical realm. “The mosquitoes that cause these things turn out to be mosquitoes that also invade non-tropical areas,” says Berger, “Chikungunya is extremely common in the Indian Ocean region, and it’s becoming more and more common to see it in travelers in the U.S. and Europe, too.”

and more.

Read both the article and the slide show.

46 Cases of Swine Flu (H1N1) Reported in 2008; 50 Cases In Humans Reported From 1958 to 2005, According to GIDEON Informatics

Los Angeles, Calif. (PRWEB) May 5, 2009 — The first recorded outbreak of influenza occurred in 1580, according to GIDEON (, the online infectious disease database used by medical professionals worldwide. As of 2003, an additional 31 pandemics had been documented, including 21 million deaths estimated from an H1N1 pandemic during 1918 to 1919. From 1958 to 2005, 50 cases of swine influenza virus infection (mostly H1N1) were reported in humans (

GIDEON reports that up until 2006, a total of 46 cases of human infection by swine influenza (more…)

Tainted Pistachios and Infectious Diseases from nuts


Today, in the Sacramento Bee, an article about tainted pistachios quoted GIDEON and added a graph:


Reported cases of salmonella in the United States rose in the late 1980s and early 1990s but have gone down since, according to Gideon Informatics Inc., a firm that tracks infectious disease trends. Lately salmonella cases have been holding steady at around 15 to 16 per 100,000 Americans annually, the company’s data shows.

Outbreaks of infectious diseases from nuts are rare. GIDEON, a database which follows the status of all infectious diseases in all countries, has recorded sixteen such episodes. GIDEON currently contains details concerning 777 outbreaks of salmonellosis – of which nuts were implicated in only 1.2%.

Food-related outbreaks associated with nuts, in chronological order:

  • 1986 – An outbreak (9 cases, 2 fatal) of botulism in Taiwan was caused by contaminated commercially preserved peanuts.
  • 1991 – An outbreak (4 cases) of cholera in Maryland was associated with commercial frozen fresh coconut milk imported from Thailand.
  • 1992 – An outbreak of shigellosis in Thailand was associated with consumption of a coconut milk dessert.
  • (more…)