UV Irradiation and Its “Sleeping Beauty Effect” on Bacteria

Until the late 1970’s, chlorine was virtually the only disinfectant used to treat drinking water, thanks to a number of desirable attributes including its effectiveness against most known pathogens, residual protection, operational reliability and cost. New challenges in the past several decades, however, including the identification of chlorine-resistant parasites Giardia and Cryptosporidium, disinfection byproducts, and

What Happened to Toledo’s Drinking Water: Understanding Microcystins

This summer, 500,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio were alerted that their tap water had been declared undrinkable as a result of microcystin contamination.  For several days, residents could not shower or cook with their tap water and they were instructed to drink bottled water while some restaurants, schools and businesses closed, inconveniencing many. 

Cleaning up Safely after Flooding

Torrential rainfall in the Midwest and Northeast US this week led to flash flooding, filling basements with water and sewage, which can contain hundreds of pathogens. Residents should assume flood waters are contaminated and that exposure to these waters may raise the risk of diarrhea, dysentery, even hepatitis, skin and eye infections and respiratory disorders.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus: MERS-CoV

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, “MERS,” is a respiratory illness caused by an emerging coronavirus1. Although other coronaviruses are common, the MERS coronavirus (“MERS-CoV”) has only recently been reported to infect people. Symptoms of MERS include fever, cough and shortness of breath. MERS has proven fatal for approximately 30 percent of individuals infected. There is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for MERS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Supportive therapy, such as assisted breathing devices may be provided to patients during the illness.

CNN Highlights the Water Crisis in Haiti

A sixteen year old girl in Miami wakes up on a normal day, showers, dresses, eats breakfast, and is off to school, filled with thoughts of friends and classes. Seven hundred miles away in Haiti, sixteen year old Vidjinia Methelus begins her day at dawn with a 30 minute walk to an irrigation stream where

Cleaning and Disinfecting Electronic Devices

Cell phones, computers, remote controls, touchpads…electronics are at our fingertips at every turn, and our fingertips are both boarding and landing sites for a wide variety of microbes. Is this a problem? There are lots of microbes–microscopic life forms–in and on us, and on surfaces all around us. Many are harmless and even helpful, but there are also those that spread sickness—germs—like colds, flu, MRSA and norovirus.

Naegleria Death in Louisiana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the rare “brain-eating” parasite, Naegleria fowleri, killed four-year-old Drake Smith, Jr. this summer in St. Bernard Parish, near New Orleans. The boy is thought to have inhaled Naegleria-contaminated water while playing on a backyard water slide.  The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals confirmed the

A Disappointing Show of Hands in New Hand-washing Study

Hand-washing among the public is not what it should be, according to a Michigan State University research group.  Their new study found only five percent of individuals observed in restrooms throughout a college town exhibit hand-washing behavior that conforms with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to wash with clean, running water and

The Matter of Fecal Matter in Swimming Pool Filters

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent waves of disgust through the public when they learned that a 2012 study found the filters of Atlanta area public pools were teeming with fecal bacteria.  The CDC used the findings to underscore the importance of swimmer hygiene.  A pre-swim shower with

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting: What’s the Difference?

We all want to live in a clean indoor environment, but of course there are degrees of “clean” and different requirements for “clean,” depending on the living space targeted. The “clean your room” chore given to children generally refers to straightening up and organizing stray objects into drawers, closets and onto shelves. It might involve