What Are Zoonotic Diseases?
Water Quality & Health Council

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 by viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi.  Ironically, animals that can transmit zoonotic pathogens (disease-causing germs) to people often have no symptoms of disease and simply act as carriers.

Zoonotic, Emerging, and Waterborne Diseases

Zoonotic diseases are also very common:  At least six out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are thought to be spread from animals.  Wildlife serves as a “reservoir” for many diseases common to domestic animals and humans.  Moreover, zoonotic pathogens are closely tied to so-called emerging (or reemerging) infectious diseases, and up to 75% of emerging pathogens are thought to … READ MORE >>


Your Guide to Removing Swimming Pool Stains
Bruce K. Bernard, PhD

The swimmers at the summer games inspired awe in all who viewed those exciting events, including the littlest backyard pool athlete who has dreams of winning gold.  Recently, the sparkling blue of the dive pool in Rio was transformed into a deep green, sparking fears of algae.  In fact, the color change was blamed on a decline in alkalinity, caused by insufficient levels of chemicals that buffer pool water pH.  A significant drop in pH can make the water corrosive to metal fixtures and equipment, which could cause metal leaching and discoloration of the water.

If you are maintaining a backyard pool for your family, you may be wondering about the appearance of stains in your pool – not only in the water, but on pool surfaces.  What causes them and how should they be treated?  A recent article1 by Terry Arko in The IPSSAN (The Independent Pool READ MORE >>


Stepping up Our Game against Zika Virus
Bob G. Vincent

“Ground zero” for the first likely cases of locally transmitted Zika virus in the US has been identified as a one-mile square patch in the Wynwood neighborhood north of downtown Miami.  The virus has not yet been found in local mosquitoes, but Florida Department of Health officials are aggressively implementing disease and environmental surveillance while city and county agencies conduct mosquito control measures.   These include ground level spraying of the “ground hugging,” mosquitoes (aerial spraying is less efficient and effective), treating storm drains and removing standing water in affected neighborhoods.  Blood donations from the affected region are being screened for the virus. In short, it’s “game on” for Zika virus prevention in Florida where I work as an environmental administrator.

CDC poster illustrates measures to protect against mosquito bites

Health Officials Working Together

The Florida Department of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are partnering … READ MORE >>


Unusual Uses for Chlorine Bleach
A guest article by Dominique M. Williams

I have had the privilege of spending the last four years of my life on one of the most beautiful college campuses in Maryland. Everything I ever needed was within a short walking distance of my dorm room—the dining hall, library, mailroom, and student center, you name it! Yet even with all of these nearby resources, I spent most of my time in my room doing homework. This is the classic scenario for any undergraduate science major. Living in a building with more than 100 fellow students, the laundry room instantly became the most in-demand place in the entire residence hall. Keeping that in mind, I always ensured that I stocked up on two items each semester: detergent and bleach.

Bleach, chemically referred to as an aqueous solution of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), is one of the most common household chemicals used across the United States. Bleach is primarily used to … READ MORE >>


Sepsis Explained
Barbara M. Soule, RN, MPA, CIC, FSAHEA and Ralph Morris, MD, MPH

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection.  Sepsis causes inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Sepsis is a serious complication of septicemia, also known as bacteremia or blood poisoning.  Septicemia occurs when a bacterial infection somewhere in the body (e.g., the skin, kidneys, urinary tract, abdominal area or lungs) spreads into the bloodstream.

We recently wrote about human Vibrio infections from contaminated shellfish and coastal and especially brackish waters.  Some Vibrio infections progress to sepsis, which is why we highlighted the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries advisory that fishermen in saltwater carry with them “basic disinfectant (chlorine bleach mixed one part bleach to four parts fresh water1 or tincture of iodine, or antibiotic ointment) and use if skin is punctured while handling fishing tackle, … READ MORE >>


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