Avoiding Swine Flu at the County Fair

County and state fairs are popular late-summer events in many regions of America. In addition to cash for the carnival rides, funnel cakes and “food on a stick”, this year’s fair-goers should equip themselves with an awareness of a new flu strain that is being spread by pigs to people—a variant of H3N2 called H3N2v.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Highlights Need for Hygiene in Child Care Settings

Hand, foot and mouth diseasei is a viral illness caused by coxsackievirus. Afflicting mostly children, coxsackievirus normally causes mild fever and rash or sores on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and sores or blisters in the mouth. Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported coxsackievirus A6

Water Wall in Hospital Dispenses Legionella

Question: When does a decorative water wall, installed in a hospital lobby to provide a calming ambience, become a health risk? Answer: When the water wall dispenses a bacteria-laden mist that results in an outbreak of Legionnaires disease. Eight people who walked by just such a water wall in a Wisconsin hospital lobby in 2010

The Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Outbreak: How to Avoid Repeating a Tragedy

Last summer a family-owned farm in Colorado became the focal point of the largest foodborne illness outbreak in the US in 25 years. Tragically, cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria bacteria sickened 146 people in 28 states, killed 30 and caused one pregnant woman to miscarry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The

Tackling C. diff

Here’s a troubling statistic: Over 165,000 patients will acquire Clostridium difficile (“C. diff’) infections while in US hospitals this year. This organism has become a top hospital-acquired pathogen in the US. “Clostridium difficile,” is a spore-forming bacterium that can live in the lower gastrointestinal tract of some humans and is shed in feces. Persons hosting

Listeria Outbreak in Jensen Farms Cantaloupes: Lessons Learned

Bacterial contamination recently turned a nutritious, beta-carotene-rich melon into an agent of foodborne illness for some unfortunate consumers. The Denver Post reports October 26 that the multi-state outbreak, traced to Rocky-Ford brand cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado, has caused 28 deaths and that the Colorado cantaloupe industry will be subjected to stronger

Shigella Outbreak: New Hampshire, Take a Good Look at Kentucky

Children who are not potty trained are no longer allowed in public pools in four Kentucky counties.  In addition, swimmers who have had diarrhea must not venture into pools for two weeks after diarrhea has subsided.  The Northern Kentucky Health Department set new restrictions for all public pools in response to a recent Shigella outbreak

Red Cross Provides Aid to Victims of Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

Haiti’s first cholera outbreak in a century has killed at least 253 people and infected more than 3,000 with the acute diarrheal disease, overwhelming some clinics and causing the country’s worst public health crisis since January’s earthquake. The Haitian Ministry of Health said tests had confirmed the disease outbreak is cholera, while United Nations officials say the Artibonite

Salmonella contamination on farms in Midwest

A national ongoing outbreak of salmonella-contaminated eggs has sickened over 1,400 people since May, according to experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak has been tracked to in-shell eggs from Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms in Iowa, which have launched a nationwide recall of over 550 million eggs suspected of being

Lull in H1N1 Creates Vaccination Opportunity

H1N1 outbreaks seem to be declining around the country; however, officials warn that a “third wave” could strike as the nation enters peak flu season, particularly if people ignore health officials’ advice to get vaccinated. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released statistics that show no states with widespread flu activity. The CDC