Long-term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution is as bad as Smoking
August 13, 2019
A new study published in JAMA finds that long-term exposure to slightly elevated levels of air pollution can be linked to accelerated development of lung damage as in smoking, even among people who have never smoked.
In this study conducted between 2000 and 2018 that included 5780 participants in 6 US metropolitan regions followed up for a median of 10 years, there was a statistically significant association between baseline ambient concentrations of ambient ozone (O3), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and black carbon with greater increases in emphysema assessed quantitatively using computed tomographic (CT) imaging. Concentrations of O3 and NOx, but not concentrations of PM2.5, over study follow-up were also associated with increases in emphysema. Baseline ambient O3 was significantly associated with a faster decline in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1). The study looked at the health effects of breathing in various pollutants, including ground-level ozone, the main component of smog.
The researchers found that people in the study who were exposed for years to higher-than-average concentrations of ground-level ozone developed changes to their lungs similar to those seen in smokers. The study involved adults living in six U.S. cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, St. Paul, Minn., New York City and Winston-Salem, N.C. Generally, people in the study were exposed to annual average concentrations of between 10 and 25 parts per billion of ground-level ozone outside their homes. For more details please click here.
Largest ever recorded Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Georgia, kills at least one person
August 12, 2019
A widespread outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has killed one person and sickened possibly dozens of others who were all guests at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. The hotel evacuated all its guests on July 15 and remains closed until the situation is remedied. There were 12 lab-confirmed cases of the disease, including one death, and another 63 “probable cases.”
According to the Mayo Clinic Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia,’”, People get sick inhaling microscopic water droplets containing the legionella bacteria. It is not contagious. which explains pneumonia as an inflammation of the lung that is typically caused by an infection. You can’t catch Legionnaires’ disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get Legionnaires’ disease from inhaling the bacteria,” the Mayo Clinic adds, noting that older adults, those who smoke, or those with “weakened immune systems” are the most susceptible.
Public health officials say a dozen guests had tested positive for Legionnaires’, a bacteria that can cause a severe form of pneumonia. For more details please click here.
April 22, 2019
Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. Candida auris, also called C. auris, is a yeast (type of fungus) that causes severe infections and can spread in healthcare settings. C. auris can infect any body part, including the blood or a wound. C. auris infections can be difficult to treat because most are resistant to at least one medicine used to treat fungal infections, referred to as an antifungal medicine. C. auris can also live on the skin or other body parts without making a person sick. This is called being “colonized.”
CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons: It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections, It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management and It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread. For more details about Candida Auris please click here.
CDC REPORTS ANOTHER LARGE Measles Outbreak
March 12, 2019
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of March 7, 2019, 228 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 12 states. The deadly, very infectious, airborne disease outbreaks were reported from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. These outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks are occurring. The number of cases is inching closer to the 372 cases in all of 2018, which was the second highest annual total for cases of the disease in more than two decades. The majority of people who got measles were not vaccinated. In a given year, more measles cases can occur for any of the following reasons: an increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it into the U.S., and/or further spread of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people. The disease is airborne and highly contagious in closed air space. Sometimes doctors and nurses see patients in parking lots to avoid contamination. They’re also asking patients with measles symptoms to come later in the day to avoid spreading the illness during busy hours. For more details click here.
Students exposed to tuberculosis in amherst, ny
December 13, 2018
The Williamsville Central School District, Amherst,NY recently was notified by the Erie County Department of Health that specific students were exposed to active tuberculosis (TB). The health department notified parents of those students by letter dated December 7. Per its protocol, parents who received the letter were instructed by the health department to have their child screened. For families that did not receive a letter from the health department, no action is needed at this time. Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein confirmed Wednesday during a press conference that an active case of tuberculosis has been confirmed in an individual who works with children in Williamsville schools.The health department has notified all of the families of children who may have been exposed. TB testing is being offered at all of the affected schools where students may have been exposed- Transit Middle, Williamsville South, and St. Mary’s School in Swormville .A total of 185 students are potentially exposed. For details please click here.
Taste change and chemotherapy agents
November 14, 2018
Taste and smell changes are common side effects in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments (CT). This can lead to a reduced food enjoyment and an inadequate nutrient intake with a high impact on nutritional status and quality of life. In a recent study evaluating chemosensory alterations of patients undergoing chemotherapy it was found that Xerostomia is the most frequent symptom reported by patients receiving chemotherapy (63.6%), and it is strongly associated to bad taste in mouth. Anthracyclines, paclitaxel, carboplatin, and docetaxel were the chemotherapy agents producing the highest taste disturbance rates. This is the first study that addresses specific chemosensory alterations (metallic taste, taste loss, xerostomia, bad taste in mouth, smell change, and cold hypersensitivity) and their impact according to several chemotherapy regimens. For more information about the study click here
CDC reports record breaking Child flu deaths in 2017-18
As of June 9 there were 172 child deaths reported for the 2017-18 flu season. “This number exceeds the 2012-2013 season, which previously set the record for the highest number of flu-related deaths in children reported during a single flu season (excluding pandemics). Approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season. These deaths are a somber reminder of the importance of flu vaccination and the potential seriousness of flu. ” the CDC said. CDC experts have described the 2017-2018 season as a high severity season, with influenza-like-illness (ILI) remaining at or above baseline for 19 consecutive weeks, record-breaking flu hospitalization rates, and elevated pneumonia and influenza mortality for 16 weeks. People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. For details click here
Canadian Standards and Guidelines Committee POSITION STATEMENT on Cleaning and disinfection of Non-critical Multi-use
A new position statement is issued by the Infection Prevention and Control Canada (iPAC) directed to all health care providers (HCPs) in community settings, which include, but are not limited to, client homes in which health care is provided, ambulatory clinics, physicians, and other health care practitioners’ offices, outreach settings, and other community settings where multi-use equipment and non-critical medical devices are used.
The statement says, Each community health care organization has the responsibility to identify non-critical equipment used in the delivery of care and to ascertain the appropriate cleaning and disinfection method and frequency. Written policies and procedures should be in place and reviewed annually. Multi-use equipment and devices should not be purchased until it is confirmed that they can be cleaned and/or disinfected using established modes and products. As well, audits of cleaning and disinfection practices and the implementation of a quality improvement process related to the audit results are important. It is essential to clean and disinfect non-critical multi-use equipment and devices appropriately, safely, and consistently using an approved low-level disinfectant. You can access the statement here
Measles exposure warning issues for four new york counties
The New York State Department of Health announced that an international traveler from Europe who has been confirmed to have measles potentially exposed others to measles on April 30th, May 1st, and May 2nd, 2018. Anyone who visited the following locations may have been exposed: Old Country Buffet, 821 Country Route 64, Elmira, NY on April 30th between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Ontario Travel Plaza on NYS Thruway (I-90) in Leroy, NY on April 30th between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sheraton Niagara Falls, 300 3rd Street, Niagara Falls, NY from 5:30 p.m. on April 30th to 9:30 a.m. on May 2nd Niagara Falls Urgent Care, 3117 Military Road Suite 2, Niagara Falls, NY on May 1st between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Exit 5 on Interstate 390 in Dansville, NY, on May 2nd between 9:30 a.m. and noon. These times reflect the period that the infected individual was in these areas and a two-hour period after the individual left the area, as the virus remains alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. The risk of developing measles is low for people who have been vaccinated or are immune. To prevent the spread of illness, the Department is advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness. Click here for more info.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Also, measles virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.
Shocking figures on air pollution deaths
After an analysis of data collected from more than 4,300 cities and 108 countries the WHO says nine out of ten people are subjected to high levels of pollutants from the air they breathe. Outdoor and household air pollution, the report says, kill seven million people every year from “exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia. “The data show a staggering proportion of deaths from seemingly unrelated diseases actually have air pollution to blame; 24 percent of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25 percent from stroke, 43 percent from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 29 percent of lung cancer deaths. For details please click here
HIV, Hepatitis infection scare among patients undergone orthopedic surgery
An infection-control breach involving surgical instruments at Porter Adventist Hospital, CO may have put some surgery patients at risk for contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. Orthopedic and spine surgery tools go through a multi step cleaning process, including a mechanical cleaning and heat sterilization. Before those processes, the surgical tools undergo a pre-cleaning. This is where the problem exists. The hospital staff soak and scrub the tools. The breach comes from the tools not being cleaned properly and potentially containing bioburden — pieces of bone, tissue, etc. The staff are wiping down with towels, they’re soaking in bins and specific to orthopedic and spine instruments. Those instruments tend to be highly complex with a lot of nooks and crannies, sharp areas, mechanisms, that exist in those. Staff were doing cleaning, but they felt there should be more cleaning. This incident reiterate the utmost care to be taken while sterilizing surgical instruments. For further details click here.
CDC finds 'nightmare bacteria' spreading across the country
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2017 found more than 200 cases of “nightmare bacteria” that can resist most antibiotics, according to a new report released recently. Germs with unusual resistance include those that cannot be killed by all or most antibiotics, are uncommon in a geographic area or the U.S., or have specific genes that allow them to spread their resistance to other germs. Rapid identification of the new or rare threats is the critical first step in containment strategy to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance (AR). When a germ with unusual resistance is detected, facilities can quickly isolate patients and begin aggressive infection control and screening actions to discover, reduce, and stop transmission to others. “CDC’s study found several dangerous pathogens, hiding in plain sight, that can cause infections that are difficult or impossible to treat,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “It’s reassuring to see that state and local experts, using our containment strategy, identified and stopped these resistant bacteria before they had the opportunity to spread.” For further details click here
Air pollution in Delhi
Delhi has earned the unenviable distinction of becoming the most polluted city on Earth in November 2017, as air quality has reached epically bad proportions. On November 8, pollution surged so high that some monitoring stations reported an Air Quality Index of 999, way above the upper limit of the worst category, Hazardous. (An extra-sensitive air quality instrument at the US embassy got a reading of 1,010).
It is shocking but not surprising: for the last few years, smog over large swathes of north India heralds the winter. Everybody knows it will happen and come November, the air quality index will shoot through the charts. And the failure to prevent this massive public health emergency, year after year, is a perfect example of how we handle pollution crisis. The smog over skies reduces the lifespans. PM 2.5 enters our lungs and our bloodstreams. A World Health Organization report has claimed 2.5 million Indians died of pollution in 2015 alone—the largest number of pollution deaths in the world. Breathing the Delhi air these days is said to be like smoking 45 cigarettes a day.
During November, 2017 there was no escaping the fact New Delhi was facing a public health crisis. The city’s Air Quality Index (AQI), by some readings, soared high. Schools were closed, questions of governmental competency were raised and high-level meetings were convened. Though conditions have improved since then, they’re still far from healthy. Over the past few months Delhi’s AQI has largely fluctuated between “poor,” “very poor,” “severe” and “severe plus.” And it’s not a new problem — on only two days since May 2015 has the city’s air been classified as “good.”.
Though conditions have improved since then, they’re still far from healthy. Over the past few months Delhi’s AQI has largely fluctuated between “poor,” “very poor,” and “Severe plus.” And it’s not a new problem-on only two days since May 2015 has the city’s air been classified as “good.” In order to have the Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi click here.