Driving the C. diff Infection Rate in Hospitals to Zero
By Barbara M. Soule, RN, MPA, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC

What is C. diff?

Medical illustration of Clostridium difficile Image from CDC website

Medical illustration of Clostridium difficile
Image from CDC website

Clostridium difficile bacteria, aka “C. diff,” is one of the notorious antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that afflict modern healthcare facilities. Nearly half a million C. diff infections (CDI) were reported in 2011, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those, 29,000 patients died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis. Elderly patients who take antibiotics and get medical care are particularly vulnerable to CDI. Between 2011 and 2014, there was an 8% decline in C. diff infections traced to hospital stays, according to CDC. That’s a step in the right direction.

Now there is some encouraging news from a small, 100-bed, Ohio community hospital: Using a multi-component strategy, infection preventionist Lisa Beauch and her team eliminated all CDIs in Mercy Health—St. Anne Hospital in Toledo between July 2016 and July … READ MORE >>


Can Drinking “Raw” Water Make You Sick?
By Chris Wiant, MPH, PhD

Raw WaterAs 2017 came to a close and 2018 began, a growing health fad was reported throughout the news and social media: Americans paying top-dollar to drink bottled “raw” water from a spring. Whether for purported health benefits or a misguided effort to get off the “drinking water grid,” as chair of the Water Quality & Health Council, I felt it imperative to address the very real risks of drinking untreated water.

What Is Raw Water?

As you may have already guessed, “raw” water is untreated, unfiltered, and unsterilized (non-disinfected) in this case spring water that is being increasingly bottled, marketed, and sold as-is for drinking in affluent pockets of the United States.1 In addition to containing unknown and potentially unsafe levels of “naturally occurring” minerals like arsenic, raw water likely contains an unknown level of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa—many of which can make you READ MORE >>


What is Flu and How Does it Spread?
By the Water Quality & Health Council

As we begin the New Year, flu is spreading in the US. The map below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website shows the current geographic distribution of flu. Media coverage of this phenomenon, and unfortunately, our own experience with flu, lead many to ask, “What is flu, and how does it spread?”

Flu View 2

“Flu,” short for “influenza,” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a group of viruses. Flu viruses can infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs of human hosts, according to the CDC. Flu can cause mild to severe illness (and even death), including cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and fatigue. Fever may or may not accompany flu, and young children are more likely than adults to experience vomiting and diarrhea from flu. Some of the symptoms of flu are the same as those of colds. … READ MORE >>


Hand-washing for the Holidays is for the Whole Family
By the Water Quality & Health Council

healthy-holidaysAs we gather to celebrate the holidays, the “gifts” we least hope to share are the unseen pathogens that cause colds, flu and other illnesses. Holiday gatherings are prime venues for gift-exchange and, unfortunately, pathogen-exchange.

It’s not rocket science, and most adults know it, but frequent hand-washing can help reduce the “stealth” pathogen-swapping that goes on when folks congregate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that proper hand-washing is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading illnesses to others.

Do your children understand how important hand-washing is to staying healthy? You might start with this kid-friendly, 30 second video from CDC. Additionally, the American Cleaning Institute offers a fun “Clean Your Paws for Santa Claus Coloring Page”. The image caption clarifies that hand-washing “with soap and warm water for 20 seconds” precedes the reward of reaching for READ MORE >>


Silent Beauty: A Holiday Perspective from Aloft
By the Water Quality & Health Council

earthIt is truly delightful when the holidays afford us quiet moments in which to contemplate life and home from a different perspective. This season we offer you a captivating NASA video featuring views of planet Earth and space from the International Space Station. Relax and enjoy the mesmerizing perspective of those aloft in near-Earth orbit.

If you would like to view the International Space Station circulating in near-Earth orbit, enter your city and state into this NASA “Sighting Opportunities” interactive website for a schedule of space station sightings near you.



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