Foodborne Illness: It’s Not Just about Meat, Poultry and Seafood
Linda Golodner

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the stuff of healthy diets, so it may surprise you to know that fresh produce can be implicated in foodborne illness.  Salmonella, Listeria and other foodborne pathogens can contaminate your salad ingredients just as they can contaminate meats, poultry and seafood.
Recently, imported cucumbers from Mexico were reported to be responsible for 671 cases of Salmonella Poona infection in 34 states, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  As of September 29, CDC reports 131 people have been hospitalized, and there have been three deaths linked to the outbreak.  Bottom line:  Good food safety practices include an awareness of the risks of foodborne illnesses from fresh fruits and vegetables.  Recall information and advice to consumers, restaurants and retailers are available on this CDC webpage. READ MORE >> READ MORE >>

Sharing the Gift of Water Treatment in a Packet
Joan B. Rose, PhD

How is drinking water purified in regions of the globe where treatment facilities are unavailable?  The answer can lie in a tiny packet of powdered “point-of-use” water treatment chemicals.  For example, the Proctor & Gamble [P&G]Purifier of WaterTM is a mini-treatment system in a packet that helps extend the advantages of water treatment to people in developing countries, refugee camps and other venues in which safe water is needed but not centrally supplied.  The product was developed in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been used to help provide affordable, life-sustaining drinking water around the world for over 10 years. P & G recently announced that for every view of its “Power of Clean” video (above), it will donate one day’s requirement of clean drinking water to one child in the developing world. READ MORE >> READ MORE >>

How to Drain a Residential Swimming Pool
Chris Wiant, MPH, PhD

Summer’s nearly over and many backyard swimming pool owners will soon undertake their annual “pool draining ritual.” Draining the water helps prevent damage to pools in geographic areas subject to freeze-thaw cycles. This article provides information to help you drain your pool responsibly.

What’s the Big Deal?

It’s easy enough to fill your pool with water, so why is draining it a big deal? First, all summer your swimming pool water has been treated with chemicals to help keep it safe for you and your family. Chlorine-based sanitizers, for example, probably were used to help destroy waterborne pathogens that can cause diarrhea, swimmer’s ear and skin infections. These germs can enter the pool on the bodies of swimmers and in animal feces. Chlorinated pools also prevent your backyard pool from becoming a mosquito breeding ground; mosquitoes potentially spread diseases like West Nile virus. But the same low levels … READ MORE >>


US Shigella Infections: “A Troubling Trend”
Barbara Soule, R.N. MPA, CIC, FSHEA

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 one or two days of exposure to the bacteria, most people infected with Shigella develop watery or bloody diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Others may become infected and experience no symptoms, but pass the bacteria on to others. There are no vaccines for this disease. A person with shigellosis can remain infectious for up to four weeks after symptoms resolve.

Shigellosis is a disease that is maintained through infections in the human population; there is no other significant reservoir for this pathogen. Shigellosis likely … READ MORE >>


Disinfesting Bed Bugs
Linda Golodner

Bed Bug Life Stages

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.

In contrast to surfaces harboring disease-causing microorganisms, such as E. coli, and norovirus, which should be disinfected with EPA-registered disinfectants like chlorine bleach, items harboring bed bugs should be disinfested with an appropriate EPA-registered insecticide.  Because bed bugs are very difficult to eliminate, a licensed professional exterminator is your best bet.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bugs are flat parasitic insects ranging in size from one to seven millimeters (about the size of Abe Lincoln’s head on the face of a penny).  They are visible to the human eye and are usually active at night.  When the lights … READ MORE >>


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