What Are Zoonotic Diseases?

If you guessed that ZOOnotic diseases have something to do with animals, you are right.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a zoonotic disease is one that can spread between animals and humans under natural conditions—such as in homes, on farms, and at county fairs and petting zoos—and can be caused

Vibrio Infection: Rare, but Worth Knowing About

Planning a beach vacation this summer? You should know about a group of naturally-occurring bacteria found in the warm coastal, especially brackish waters of the US that pose a rare but potentially serious risk to raw seafood consumers, anglers, commercial fishermen and others engaged in salt water-based activities. The culprits are several species of Vibrio

Cleanup in the Aftermath of Flooding

With record flooding in areas of Texas and the 2016 hurricane season just beginning, we think a word to the wise on cleanup in the aftermath of flooding is in order. First, assume that all flood waters are contaminated and that exposure to these waters may raise the risk of diarrhea, dysentery, and even hepatitis,

The Terms of Germ Inactivation

Reducing disease-causing microorganisms—aka “pathogens” or “germs”—on environmental surfaces is a matter of using the right agent for the task at hand.  You would no sooner wash your hands in a bleach solution after gardening than expect surgical instruments to be prepared by washing them in soapy water. Terms that apply to germ reduction on surfaces—cleaning,

Preventing RSV

What is RSV? RSV is “Respiratory Syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) Virus,” a virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages.  In healthy people, an RSV infection resembles a cold (colds are caused by rhinoviruses, another type of virus), but the very young and the very old[1] and those with weakened immune systems may develop more serious symptoms. 

A Fun Way to Teach Kids about Hand-washing

How can you help your children avoid some of the infectious illnesses that will be shared this season? According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper hand-washing is one of the most important ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. But nagging kids to wash their hands is seldom

US Shigella Infections: “A Troubling Trend”

A dramatic increase in the number of recent cases of shigellosis is being recorded in certain areas of the US, including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and northern Kentucky. Shigellosis, also known as “bacillary dysentery” is an acute infection of the intestine caused by Shigella bacteria1. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within

Disinfesting Bed Bugs

A resurgence in bed bug infestations since around 2000 is making travelers wary of hotel beds, and not just lumpy mattresses in budget hotels.  Bed bugs travel the world secreted in luggage and clothing; they respect no boundaries, infesting everything from low-cost housing to five-star hotels. Bed Bug Life Stages In contrast to surfaces harboring

West Nile Virus: A Seasonal Epidemic in North America

This summer North America is once again experiencing a “seasonal epidemic” of West Nile virus that is expected to last through the fall.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the mosquito-borne virus has been reported in 42 US states as of August 11, 2015.  Fortunately, most people who are infected

Naegleria fowleri Infection: Low Likelihood, High Impact

A rare but deadly “brain-eating” waterborne amoeba is making US headlines once again this summer in California, Minnesota and Louisiana.  A 21-year old California woman died on June 20 of an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, according to a news report.  An investigation is ongoing, but the infection may have resulted from her exposure to