Will “good” viruses replace antibiotics in the future?

A major health concern for the future

Antibiotics have been around for almost 100 years now, and have proven to be very effective against fighting harmful bacterias. However, during this time, these bacteria had time to evolve and many of them are now becoming “drug-resistant”, meaning that these bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics. There are even some bacteria, known as “superbugs”, that have become resistant to nearly every existing antibiotic. If a person is infected with a “superbug”, this means they cannot seek treatment from antibiotics and will have to rely solely on their immune system to fight the disease. This could result in death by diseases that were once treatable. According to the United Nations World Health Organization, “By 2050, estimates indicate that more people could die from antibiotic resistant infections than those who currently die from cancer” (2016), making drug-resistant bacteria one of the most serious health concerns that we face. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

So if antibiotics are becoming ineffective, then what can be done? Researchers are now turning towards a “good virus” called a “bacteriophage”, or simply phage, that kills bacteria, which was previously overlooked by researchers and scientists.

Phages: The Virus that kills drug-resistant superbugs

First of all, what is a phage? Simply put, phages are viruses that infect specific bacteria (Motherboard, Vice). This means that bacteriophages do not infect human or animal cells. There are more phages on earth than any other living specimen, and they can be found almost anywhere. There are also many different kinds of phages, and each phage does not fight the same bacteria.

Phages kill bacteria by binding themselves to the membrane of the bacteria when they come in contact with it and then releasing an enzyme that drills a hole in the bacteria cell. The phage then injects its own DNA into the cell and reproduces more phages inside of it. This causes the bacteria cell to explode (Motherboard, Vice). Phages can therefore be used as a natural alternative to antibiotics, and may prove to be even more effective.

 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

In the early 1900s, phages were studied by many researchers and scientists all over the world, however, after the invention of antibiotics, Western countries became less interested in phages and any research about the viruses were put to a halt. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, kept investing in phage research and Russia, Georgia and Poland are among the only countries that use phage therapy today as a bacteria-fighting technique. Research scientist Benjamin Chan (Yale University) explains that the United States has been “hesitant to use bacteriophages because they’re a virus.” However, he goes on to explain that there are many types of viruses and virus does not always mean that there is a disease involved.

Will phages replace antibiotics in the future?

Maybe. It will take some time, as much research still needs to be done by Western countries. Many science researchers believe that they will begin to be used out of desperation. One thing is for sure though: our current antibiotics will no longer be a sustainable option and we need to find another alternative and fast!

For more information on the subject, watch the video below by Vice:

 

SOURCES:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9kdbqa/bacteriophages-phage-therapy-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria?utm_source=mbfb

http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2012/06/14/les-phages-des-virus-guerisseurs_1718745_1650684.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotics

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54928#.WnikApM-cWo

Will Quebec experience a higher than usual number of influenza cases again this year?

From December 2017 to February 2018, across all types of healthcare facilities in Quebec, the number of Influenza cases was much higher than anticipated. While the number of cases were high all across Canada, Quebec seems to have experienced the greatest number of flu cases. In Canada, in the week from Feb. 4 – Feb. 10, the overall percentage of positive tests for the flu went from 31% to 34%!

Source: PxHere

Influenza A and influenza B were the two types of flu viruses in circulation in Quebec. For A, the most common flu type in Quebec was A(H3N2), which made up about 95% of flu cases. As for B, the virus B/Phuket was the dominant one. While there were reported cases of both influenza A and B, the more shocking of the two was the elevated numbers of influenza B, which usually only starts to see an increase in cases during the month of March. This increase in B during the months of December to February is primarily responsible for the higher numbers of flu cases.

The former Quebec Minister of Health and Social services stresses that the number of flu cases are still very high. It is recommended by the government that people get the flu vaccine, especially if they have a weakened immune system.

In addition to this, we’d like to offer you some further advice on how to prevent the flu:

  1. Frequently wash your hands with an antibacterial soap.
  2. If you do not have soap or water, use an antibacterial wipe to clean your hands.
  3. Disinfect high-touch surfaces with a disinfectant.
  4. Finally, avoid touching your face if possible; apparently we touch our faces about 5000 times per day, which is not only gross, but can make us sick!

Source: http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/document-001973/ (Volume 8, numéro 3).

Is Nipah Virus the Next Epidemic Crisis?

Nipah-Virus-Grey-Headed-Flying-Fox-Size

According to the CBC:

A rare virus spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage, has killed 10 people in southern India, health officials said on Tuesday, with at least two more cases being monitored.

The virus was first detected in Malaysia in 1998, and India’s eastern state of West Bengal has suffered two outbreaks in the last decade, killing 50 people, the WHO has said.

There has been a another preivous outbreak in Bengladesh in 2004. It would be the third outbreak if confirmed.

Is there any risks in Canada?

The risk to Canadians is considered to be low as there are no species of fruit bats in Canada. However, people working with swine in Southeast Asia should be aware of the risk.

Mode of transmission of Nipah Virus

nipah virus

Public Health Canada states that:

The mechanism for the transmission of the virus from fruit-bats to animals is unknown, but may involve consumption of fruit contaminated with urine or saliva from infected bats. Transmission from animals to humans appears to occur by direct contact with contaminated tissues/body fluids of infected animals, especially pigs. Other infected animals, such as cats and dogs, may also be involved in spreading the virus. Human to human transmission is likely to occur by direct exposure to an infectious inoculum shed in the respiratory secretions of the infected individual, as well as by close physical interaction and frequent contact with the infected individual’s saliva.

Human-to-human transmission has been documented in several of the more recent outbreaks in Bangladesh, before which human-to-human transmission was considered to be a rare event

 

Sources:

Special Thanks: Remi Charlebois

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/india-nipah-virus-death-toll-1.4672446

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/nipah/en/

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/diseases/immediately-notifiable/nipah-virus/fact-sheet/eng/1303439340158/1306100144027

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/laboratory-biosafety-biosecurity/pathogen-safety-data-sheets-risk-assessment/nipah-virus.html

Mystery virus Nipah virus identified in Kerala, 9 dead, Central team on way

Grey-Headed Flying Fox

Infection control in schools

Every parent knows it: when kids are in school, they are way more likely to get sick than when they are not. From sharing toys, chairs, desks, computer keyboards, water fountains and door handles, kids are the most prone to getting sick. Elementary and preschool students are the most prone to getting sick at school, mostly because their immune system is not fully developed yet. On average, elementary students will have 12 colds per year (yikes!). And let’s not forget that many school staff also end up getting sick from their students. So what can be done to help stop the spread of infection among students and staff?

Source: Pixabay

Sure, you can remind kids to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, etc, but how effective will it really be? Schools must play a very important role in the cleaning and disinfection within their buildings in order to protect both employees and students. The primary person responsible for the upkeep of the school building is the custodian, and, as such, he should be trained in infection control methods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the following recommendations on how to properly clean and disinfect schools and what procedures to follow:

  1. Knowing the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing
    The CDC stresses the difference between the three methods of “cleaning”. While cleaning involves the removal of dirt and germs, it does not necessarily kill the bacteria. Disinfection, on the other hand, uses chemicals to kill bacterias, and does not focus on a clean surface, but rather a bacteria-free one. Finally, sanitization is the process of lowering the number of bacteria to a safe level.
  2. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often
    This point speaks for itself; many schools already have a specific procedure regarding what should be cleaned more often, such as desks, compared to something that does not have to be cleaned often.
  3. Do routine cleaning and disinfecting.
  4. Clean and disinfect correctly.
    It’s simple to say, however, many people and institutions are not trained to know exactly what “correctly” means. It is important to pay close attention to the detailed instructions provided on the label of product.
  5. Use products safely.
    Pay attention to warnings and hazards on the label of product. Make sure that proper equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) are used when necessary.
  6. Handle waste properly.
    Avoid touching tissues/napkins when emptying waste baskets. Wear gloves, if possible. Wash hands after handling waste.
  7. Learn more.
    CDC provides more follow up information on their website about disinfection and cleaning for schools.

Let’s prevent staff and students from getting unnecessary illnesses and work together for a more clean and safe learning environment!


SOURCES: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm

http://www.standard.net/Health/2015/09/24/Everyone-gets-sick-when-school-starts

Surface Damage and its implications for healthcare facilities

Preventing and controlling the spread of contamination and infection is of very high importance for healthcare facilities, and it is safe to say that many measures have already been taken in order to reach these goals. However, like many things, there is still much room for improvement moreover when it is about surface damage.

medical equipment surface damage

Source: Shaw Air Force Base

Evidently healthcare facilities use a wide variety of equipment, from monitors to surgical instruments to cleaning tools, and over time, this equipment wears down. Sometimes, equipment will break completely and be unusable, however sometimes there will only be a few scratches or other small damage.  But what happens when these scratches or other forms of damage become shelters and areas of growth for microorganisms? This is an example of how surface damage may not only impede the prevention of bacteria growth, but also provide the microorganisms with a place to grow.

What is surface damage?

According to Infection Control Today, surface damage is defined as:

a quantifiable physical or chemical change from the original manufactured state of an object (surface or device).

While it is recognized that surface damage of medical equipment poses a potential threat in the spread of bacteria in healthcare facilities, there is no standardized method for healthcare workers to determine what is considered surface damage, and at what point the damage is likely to cause the spread of bacteria. In a later blog post, I will discuss the ideal surface damage testing protocol, proposed by Peter Teska et al. in “Infection Control Today.” In this article, the authors discuss ideal methods of avoiding the problems that surface damage presents.

Are your surfaces damaged?

At Lalema, when we talk about hygiene and cleanliness, we offer a wide range of technical and consulting services. Find out more.

You can also read this article about The complete guide for hospital cleanliness.

Source: Infection Control Today. Vol. 21. No. 12. January 2018.

Free Webinar: Fighting Healthcare Associated Infection with Environmental Hygiene

Fighting Healthcare Associated Infection with Environmental Hygiene.


The main objective of this webinar is to review the basics of cleaning and disinfection:

  • The updated burden of HAI’s in Canada
  • Why do we disinfect
  • Best practices in cleaning and disinfection
  • Using the right product
  • Validation technique

This 40 minutes long webinar was originally broadcast on December 15th, 2016. Watch it now on replay for a limited time!

Zika Virus, Where Does It Come From?

zika-1

Source : NEWSCOM/SIPA

Everything started back in the 40s. A research team in Uganda, lead by Alexander Haddow, was studying the yellow fever virus near Entebbe. In April 1950, the team isolates a new virus from a monkey used as a test animal in the Ziika forest.

The first human clinical case was described in 1954 in Nigeria. Then, in 1956, an experiment was conducted on a volunteer who got infected with the Zika virus through bites of infected mosquitoes. The subject developed a weak fever with a mild skin rash. The symptoms disappeared within a week. No more doubt, the Zika virus can infect human being via a mosquito bite.

The Zika virus was isolated in numerous species of Aedes mosquitoes in Africa and Malaysia. In 2007, the virus was identified in Micronesia, in what was the first large scale epidemic. Since then, the Zika virus has been considered as an emerging virus.

zika-2

Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

During 2013, an outbreak was raging in French Polynesia. The virus rapidly spread  and was confirmed in the five archipelagos of French Polynesia which count roughly 270,000 inhabitants. Between October 2013 and March 2014, the number of infected persons is estimated at 28,000 individuals. 73 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome were described during this epidemic. The Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare affection that can cause muscle weakness and even paralysis. Sporadic cases of Zika virus disease were described throughout Oceania.

In Brazil, at the start of 2015, an increasing number of patients presenting symptoms similar to the Dengue virus disease were observed. This increase stroke the attention of Brazilian Public Health authorities. An infectious disease specialist evaluated some patients and laboratory results confirmed that the virus was not the Dengue nor the Chikunguya virus. In March 2015, the Zika virus was confirmed by the Carlos Chagas Institute. It was the first time that Zika virus disease was contracted in the Americas.

The virus strain isolated in Brazil is somewhat close to the Asian strains with similarities to the virus isolated in Oceania a few years ago. Some experts believe that the virus was imported into Brazil during the World Championship of pirogue (va’a) that was held in Brazil in August 2014. Four Oceanian countries where the virus is circulating were present at the Championship. To this day, it was estimated that about 1.5 million cases of Zika virus disease occurred in Brazil, which makes it the biggest Zika virus outbreak ever recorded. It is now spreading to other countries where the Aedes mosquitoes are present. The Zika virus is suspected to be linked to microcephaly touching the fœtus of infected mothers. According to the Brazil Health Minister, 4,783 suspects cases of microcephaly were described so far (February 2016). Active research is  ongoing to find if and how can the Zika virus be related to birth defects.

Zika Virus is there a Risk for Surface Contamination?

zika virus

Zika virus is an arbovirus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. It was discovered in 1947 in a monkey in Uganda. Zika virus is mainly present in Central America and South America but also in Africa and Oceania.

Zika virus, what is it?

With the Zika virus, it is reporteded that nearly 3 out of 4 infections do not present any symptoms. When symptoms occur, it looks like the flu: fever, headache, body aches with rashes, beginning 3-12 days after being bitten by mosquitoes. Zika virus can also manifest as conjunctivitis or pain behind the eyes, as well as swelling of the hands or feet. The disease is not directly fatal.

Why are pregnant women particularly at risk?

If a pregnant woman is infected, she can pass the virus to her baby through the placenta or during birth.

It is suspected that pregnant women infected with the virus could give birth to babies with microcephaly. Babies are born with a head circumference below 33 cm and irreversible mental retardation.

However, there is no fully proven causal link between Zika and microcephaly and because some mothers do not believe they had the virus.

What precautions should you take?

There is no vaccine against the Zika virus. It is recommended to protect yourself against bites by wearing long clothing and using insect repellent and mosquito nets.
According to the official website of the Government of Canada (canadaensante.gc.ca)

No local transmission of Zika virus have been reported in Canada. At present, the mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are not found in Canada because of the climate. So the likelihood of transmission is very low in the country.

Lassa fever could become a topic of much more serious concern

The media focus on the Zika virus is currently brings shadow on the epidemic of Lassa fever now raging in Nigeria and Benin. Lassa fever is a hemorrhagic fever often compared to the Ebola virus.

Low potential for contamination of surfaces

Zika virus is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites. However, hygiene and safety should follow their normal procedures including disinfection of high potential contamination of surfaces and hand washing.

Press release of the MSSS

On 29 January 2016, the national public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, also issued a statement to inform the public about Zika. You can read the detail here

MERS-CoV: Practical Tips for Disinfection

mers-cov

MERS-CoV: Practical Tips for Disinfection

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is slowly spreading through the Middle East and Asia. Transmission, so far, seems to happen when a close contact with an infected individual occurs. This type of transmission has led to many healthcare associated infections to this day. As an example, a patient that waited for 2.5 days in a Seoul emergency department, end up transmitting the disease to 55 persons.

So far, the case-fatality rate is around 36 %, which is very high. However, this number may not be representative of a normal population and its kill rate is likely to be overestimated. A bias might exist when looking at the population who acquired the virus in Korea. Of the 171 cases, many had underlying medical conditions and have a median age of 55.

Official recommendations

CDC and Health Canada issued a few recommendations on infection control and prevention so far, and more is likely to be available soon. Regardless of their recommendations few data are available on environmental hygiene and disinfection practice regarding MERS-CoV in healthcare settings. Also, the transmission through the environment is not well known for this virus.

How to disinfect?

Regarding disinfection few information are available.  Coronaviruses are non-enveloped virus which makes them more resistant to certain disinfectant. As an example, it is known that a 400 ppm solution of quaternary ammonium compounds is ineffective against those viruses. Sodium hypochlorite at a minimum of 1,000 ppm seems to be sufficient, however a higher concentration would be optimal in healthcare settings. Very few data exist regarding other disinfectant technology.

At this moment, isolation with contact-droplets precaution is advised. In spite of the fact that it was suggested during the SARS outbreak that this type isolation might not be sufficient. Even though these two viruses are similar, we must remember that many differences exist. Thus we must be careful with extrapolation of data.

Beware, microbes can survive in hospital environment

microbes

For a long time, cleaning has been all about the look; fresh smell and the absence of stains or dirt were the criteria to determine that a place is clean. Today, these criteria are still generally accepted in environments such as offices and classrooms.

It’s common knowledge, however, that microbes (bacteria or viruses) invisible to the human eye represent a risk for spreading infections. Take the example of the influenza virus: it can survive for up to 48 hours on a hard surface!

Without cleaning and disinfection procedures or a quality check procedure, microbes can survive in hospital environment.

Three key elements have to be considered in order to perform an infective risk analysis:

  • Is the patient carrying a disease agent? Disease agents are classified based on their spreading capacity and their virulence. The choice of a disinfectant will be based on this.
  • Do the functional activities of a sector represent a risk of spreading infections from the environment? E.g.: food service, offices, Intensive Care, etc.
  • The intensity of contact is related to the traffic and the surfaces that are more likely to be touched. E.g.: bathroom fittings.

Have you already performed an infective risk analysis? We can help, make sure to visit our unique offer for Diagnostic Analysis of Hospital Housekeeping Service. My next post is going to explain how cleaning allows reducing risks of infection among patients.

A brief history of the Influenza

Emergency_hospital_during_Influenza_epidemic_Camp_Funston_Kansas_-_NCP_1603

Historical picture of the 1918 Spanish flu at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many ill patients. Source: WikiCommon

 

I would like to talk to you about the Influenza. My mother always told me: “Son, a small flu lasts a week and a big one lasts 7 days.” and she was right. Influenza is a respiratory infection that also spreads very easily. It is caused by the influenza virus.

The origin of the flu

Influenza hit human beings in China as early as around -2500 B.C. With birds, the virus goes back more than 8000 years ago.

Hippocrates had clearly described Influenza

In -2400, the writings of Hippocrates clearly describe the symptoms of the flu. And since then, history is full of influenza pandemics description. However, before 1850, the data are sometimes difficult to analyze because the symptoms of flu are similar to other diseases such as diphtheria, bubonic plague, typhoid fever and others.

Major known influenza pandemics

Major known flu pandemics
Pandemic Date Death Subtype involved Severity Index
Asian Flu (Russia) 1889–1890 1 million H2N2 ? ?
Spanish Flu 1918–1920 30 à 100 millions H1N1 5
Asian Flu 1957–1958 1 à 1,5 millions H2N2 2
Hong Kong Flu 1968–1969 0,75 à 1 million H3N2 2
A (H1N1) Flu 2009–2010 18 138 H1N1

Discovery of the virus

It was long thought that influenza was caused by bacteria. In 1931, the virus was identified in pigs and two years later, in 1933, humans from levy on the throat of a researcher contaminated with the flu.

Discovery of the vaccine

In 1935, we managed to “grow” the virus in embryonated chicken eggs. The first clinical trials between 1936 and 1938 are inconclusive. In 1944, with support from the US Army, we obtained the first effective vaccine based on influenza virus. Research has continued since.

The vaccine in Quebec for 2014-2015 is available since November

The injectable vaccine against influenza 2014-2015 offered in the program framework contains the following three strains:

  • A / California / 7/2009 (H1N1)
  • A / Texas / 50/2012 (H3N2)
  • B / Massachusetts / 2/2012
  • The intranasal vaccine contains four strains or B / Brisbane / 60/2008 in addition to the same three strains contained in the vaccine injection.

Even if you have been vaccinated against the flu last year, you still need to receive it this year. Indeed, antibody levels fall about 6 months after vaccination against influenza, particularly in people whose immune system is weakened.

The index of influenza activity in Quebec for the week of 7 to 13 December 2014 (CDC 14-50) is HIGH tends UPWARD.

f23239b08c69e43c4a2aa6999e06ee5a

Preventive measure against the flu

If we can not escape it, there is still prevention methods:

  • It maintains a proper hygiene program (particularly hand washing).
  • It is vaccinated.
  • This ensures clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.

For more info on how to fight a flu epidemic (or pandemic if it degenerates there), see this presentation (in french):

sources:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grippe
http://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/sujets/prob_sante/influenza/index.php?accueil

Ebola, how does it spread?

top-2014-ebola-virus

The Ebola Virus

Ebola is a virus. There is currently no vaccine or treatment. It causes severe disease, causing serious symptoms including vomiting and bleeding. The mortality rate can reach 90%. Primary infection comes from a contact with an infected animal and it can spread quickly.

How can you get infected by Ebola?

By coming into contact with following bodily fluids such as blood, urine, feces and vomit. Of by one of the following means: by contact with a dead victim, by ingestion of infected animal meat or by having sexual intercourse with an infected person.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

The symptoms of Ebola are fever, headache, nausea and fatigue. It may also include bleeding from nose, mouth or eyes, coughing, diarrhea or vomiting with the possible presence of blood.

How to prevent ebola transmission

The risk of transmission of the Ebola virus in Canada is very low. However, certain precautions must be taken. The Public Health Agency of Canada also recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

There is a risk only if you have been in contact with sick people. In such case, if you experience symptoms, call 8-1-1 (Quebec) and inform them of your discomfort. You will be directed to the healthcare center care that can help you.

What to do to prevent the spread of Ebola virus

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in collaboration with the Institut nationale de santé publique du Québec has issued recommendations in case of an outbreak. It is important that each healthcare center that can receive a potentially infectious patient put in place appropriate precautionary measures. Thus, it is important to have the required equipment for this type of care.

Robots to destroy Ebola?

xenex-robots

Credit photo: Xenex website

Robots are soldiers in a war againt HAI’s

Two Canadian hospitals have recently acquired a machine enabling surface disinfection in health institutions.

The Juravinksi hospital in Hamilton has started a year trial of a robot that costs 95 000 $ that burns the bacteria with UV rays: the Xenex Robot System. The general hospital of Vancouver has also started a trial of a UV robot that is 1.65 meters tall, called the Tru-D Smart UVC, working with UV rays as well. The effectiveness of these machines relies on the properties of the UV rays, or rather on the xenon UV rays, to sterilize and kill microscopic contaminants.

Ebola outbreak

Recently, with the Ebola Outbreak, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where 42-year-old Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US, was being treated, also uses such device. But was it enough? See this other blog post from my collegue: The Dallas case rises a question: Should protocols for infection control be revised?

What about your hospital?

The goal of these robots is not to replace the cleaning staff, nor the products employed for critical disinfections, but rather to complete their work, and to avoid that a single microscopic bacteria could take the life of a person whose immune system is weak.

Is your plan ready? Is your staff trained well enough? Do you have a stabilized chlorinated cleaner disinfectant in stock?

Do not miss our next post, which is going to explain how UV disinfection works!

More about Ebola Virus

There are a lot of ramblings about Ebola in 2014 on the web, you will find these articles interesting:

Ebola, How to disinfect surfaces

Ebola virus, Are we Ready?

Cleaning in Hospitals (part 2)

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source: http://tvanouvelles.ca/lcn/infos/lemonde/archives/2014/10/20141007-174935.html

The Dallas case rises a question: Should protocols for infection control be revised?

protocol-ebola

A nurse from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where a patient was treated for Ebola, contracted the disease. This is the first case of Ebola transmission in North America. Although the authorities are reassuring, the question arises in hospitals: Are protocols in place really effective?

The nurse in question, Ms. Nina Pham wore protective equipment as directed by the hospital. Indeed, she claims to have followed protocol at all times and she is unable to identify how she could have contracted the virus. It is assumed that methods of environmental control were in place so the room was disinfected daily with sodium hypochlorite as prescribed.

A breach of protocol?

The director of the CDC (Center for Disease Control), Dr. Thomas R. Frieden believes that treatment protocols were not followed to the letter “Clearly there was a breach in protocol. We have the ability to prevent the spread of Ebola by caring safely for patients.”

CDCs are investigating in order to identify how Ms. Pham may have acquired the infection. Protocols are of course being examined. They would be sufficient to protect healthcare workers from infection by the virus if followed properly. Nevertheless, removing the protective equipment is always pointed out as a critical step. In Europe, another investigation is under way to understand how a Spanish nurse found herself in the same situation.

No reported case in Quebec, yet

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in collaboration with the Institut nationale de santé publique du Québec has issued recommendations in case of an outbreak. It is important that each healthcare center that can receive a potentially infectious patient put in place appropriate precautionary measures. Thus, it is important to have the required equipment for this type of care.

At Lalema, we can help you by providing all the necessary protective equipment and disinfectant ! For any special needs, please contact us.

A virus transmitted from computers to humans

virus-norwalk-norovirus

Virus on my keyboard, really?

Did you know that your keyboard and mouse are covered with bacteria and viruses? This may sound obvious when we think about it. Using computers is very common and the risk to be infected seems banal. However, in certain environments such as hospitals this contamination could reveal critical.

In fact, many bacteria and virus breaks have been associated with computers. It’s the case for a hospital in Great Britain, where a study revealed that 42% of tested keyboards were contaminated with the MRSA bacteria, which was directly related to higher MRSA infections as compared to other hospitals where keyboard contamination was lower (1). Another study carried out in Great Britain found that keyboards had been a breeding-ground for the norovirus, which then lead to a break of gastro-enteritis. A virus transmitted from computers to humans… who would’ve thought about that!

Don’t panic, solutions exist!

First and unforgettable is hand washing. In order to limit bacteria and virus spreads, hand washing is essential. Then, to avoid washing our hands every time we use a computer, an alcohol-based antiseptic liquid would do the trick. If our hands are dirty, washing hands before touching the keyboard is also recommended. Finally, it is wise to disinfect your keyboard and mouse from time to time. A renowned researcher named William Rutala, or Bill for his friends, has demonstrated that computer keyboards do not seem to deteriorate after being cleaned 300 times with different disinfectant solutions.

Long story short, we often forget daily objects as being a breeding-ground for viruses and bacteria. For example, mobile phones are often neglected as well despite the fact that we touch them and constantly put them on our face.

But no need to become hypochondriac, it’s enough to follow basic preventive measures. In other words, make little changes and set frequent disinfections based on the risk associated with your environment.

 

(1). Devine J., Is methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ward-based computer terminals a surrogate marker for nosocomial MRSA transmission and handwashing compliance? J Hosp Infect. 2001;48:72-5

(2). Morter S., et coll. Norovirus in the hospital setting: virus introduction and spread within the hospital environment. J. Hosp Infect. 2011 Feb;77(2):106-12