Virus-Associated Mystery Syndrome on the Rise: Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Named for its symptoms, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a polio-like, paralyzing neurological condition that primarily afflicts young children aged 2 to 8 years. Although very rare, confirmed cases of AFM have spiked sharply since 2014, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first noted the increase (see box). Available clinical, laboratory, and other evidence all suggest a viral association, and over 90% of confirmed cases had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before developing AFM. CDC is working closely with healthcare providers as well as state and local health departments to investigate and confirm AFM cases, including possible causes, risk factors, and potential treatment options. Yet because much about AFM remains a mystery—including why a small but growing number of people develop AFM after a viral infection while most others recover—some parents and doctors have grown impatient with CDC.

World Water Week 2018: Water, Ecosystems, and Human Development

Established in 1991 and administered each year by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), World Water Week provides a unique forum for confronting water-related challenges and their global impact on public health and the environment. It focuses on innovative thinking and positive action from scientists, decision-makers, business innovators, and especially young professionals from diverse sectors

The Human Body Uses Active Ingredient in Chlorine Bleach to Fight Bacteria Naturally

We live in an age in which scientists regularly reveal remarkable details of the inner workings of the human body. Recently, a group of German researchers shed new light on the composition of the “antibacterial cocktail” that our immune systems concoct to fight off infection.1 The scientists demonstrated that the active chemical in that cocktail

MRSA Bacteria Linked to Sports Equipment

Scanning electron microscope image showing clumps of MRSA bacteriaPhoto courtesy of CDC and Janice Haney Car and Jeff Hageman, M.H.S Participating in team sports is both fun and healthy exercise, but a bacterial MRSA infection among players can signal a losing season. Now, new research traces one potential path of MRSA bacteria through an endless

Stockholm Junior Water Prize Winners Propose Novel Approach to Expanding Safe Water Resources

Striving for a better world by 2030, countries around the globe are beginning to incorporate the new, ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goals into their national agendas. Among the 17 bold goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, is the goal of universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. This goal was front and center at last week’s Stockholm

Climbing the Rungs of the Safe Water and Sanitation Service Ladders

The humble ladder can be a symbol of progress toward lofty goals. The lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” for example, include a moving wish for the singer’s newborn son: “May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung…” Symbolic ladders are also used by the Joint Monitoring Program of the

The Once and Future Water Fountain

In the years since we last wrote on this topic, drinking water fountains—a once ubiquitous feature of the U.S. public health landscape—continue to decline in diversity, maintenance and numbers.1 Yet because many people, including commuters, tourists and the homeless, often rely on fountains for (usually) free and safe municipal water, they should not be taken for granted.

Superbugs and Sewage at the Beach

We seem to be reading and writing a lot about superbugs—antibiotic resistant bacteria that are responsible for at least 2 million infections (including healthcare-associated infections acquired while receiving medical treatment in a hospital) and 23,000 deaths each year in the US.1 But the recent discovery of the “superbug enzyme” NDM2 in bathing seawaters in Ireland

World Water Day 2017: Why Waste Water?

Every year on March 22, the world community celebrates World Water Day by highlighting a water-related theme. This year’s theme, “Why Waste Water?” is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #6, to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” With a clever play on words, “Why Waste Water?” encourages

Indicators of Drinking Water Quality

Providing safe drinking water requires a multi-barrier approach that includes protecting source water from contamination, physically and/or chemically treating (including chlorine disinfection) the raw surface- and groundwater, and storing and delivering the treated water in a manner that prevents re-contamination. Every day, more than a billion glasses of tap water are consumed from over 150,000