In the midst of a global crisis, it is difficult to see a week into the future, but teachers, administrators, and parents are turning their attention to the fall. In the United States, most schools have been closed since mid-March. The 2020-2021 school year will bring a list of new challenges, from the academic challenges of school closing early last school year to maintaining a clean and safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.
To fully appreciate the access to vaccines and understand the importance of infection control as we know it today, we need to take a trip back in time, to 1861, when Louis Pasteur published his germ theory, which proved that bacteria caused diseases. Pasteur's work was then expanded upon by Robert Koch, who began to isolate the specific bacteria that caused certain diseases, such as TB and cholera. Before the development of the germ theory, people did not understand the need for hygiene and sterilization. Illnesses spread, unintentionally, through contamination.
In the healthcare world, there aren’t many things that are more important than practicing proper infection control procedures. One slip up could cause a staff member or patient to contract a life-threatening infection. An outbreak could also bring the CDC down upon your facility and harm your facilities reputation. When it comes to infection control, it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you are practicing proper handwashing, proper disinfecting, and wearing appropriate PPE to reduce the risk of dangerous Hospital Acquired Infections.
We all know how devastating hurricanes can be for a city. Flooding destroys homes and businesses, leaving people without jobs and places to live for days, even months, at a time. One of the most recent hurricanes, Hurricane Harvey, may cause more issues than structural damage to the people of Houston, Texas.
Microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, typically cause infectious diseases. These microbes are not always harmful to we have thousands of simple organisms living in and on our bodies. Although, under certain conditions, bacteria can cause disease.
In this presentation, ISSA Senior Training Specialist Mark Warner speaks about cleaning and disinfecting facilities for the upcoming school year and provides input on how to remain germ-free throughout the year. Warner explains that it is the school’s responsibility to thoroughly clean all appliances and utilities before kids return to school. Therefore, it is a mission of ISSA to help schools prepare during summer. At the same time, Warner notes that it is impossible to disinfect every single surface. And no matter how unblemished the building may be, “as soon as people start entering the building, they bring along with them anything they could be carrying on their skin or the soles of their shoes for that matter”. His advice? Be on your own guard. Wash your hands often and refrain from touching your face and scratching wounds in order to keep sickness away.
“You would think that a hospital is the most germ-free place, specifically designed for people to recover from illness, not catch them” but a recent study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention points to a different conclusion. The research study tracked 40 nurses who wore three types of scrubs (a traditional cotton-polyester blend; one treated with silver-alloy inside fibers; and one treated to kill bacteria) over three 12-hour shifts in which they monitored one or two patients in a medical or surgical intensive care unit.
Communication failures between healthcare facilities can lead to infection outbreaks. A two-year research study conducted by OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy, the Oregon Health Authority, and other collaborators suggests that statement is true. Researchers focused on an opportunistic pathogen associated primarily with infections among patients who have compromised immune systems and are in health care facilities known as Acinetobacter baumannii. The pathogen is extensively drug-resistant and can contain many antibiotic resistance genes that can be transmitted to other organisms. Multiple sites in the Pacific Northwest were studied, where “scientists identified 21 cases, including 16 isolates, of Acinetobacter baumannii that contained a rare gene responsible for resistance to the carbapenem class of antibiotics.”
Each year, approximately 30,000 to 50,000 cases of Hepatitis A occur in the United States. Since late 2016, San Diego has been attempting to combat an outbreak of this disease. Hepatitis A is spreading like wildfire, primarily affecting the homeless population and heavy drug users in the San Diego area. On September 1, the county declared the outbreak a public health emergency. According to the San Diego Health & Human Services Agency, as of Sept. 5, 2017, the outbreak has infected 398 people, caused 279 hospitalizations, and 15 deaths. “Once Hep A is transmitted in a community like this, its kind of hard to stop.”