Hantavirus in North America: Rare but Deadly
Ralph Morris, MD, MPH


The Deer Mouse is one of at least four rodents known to spread hantavirus
(photo courtesy of CDC)

Spring cleaning time is here, and chores may include sweeping out garages, basements, sheds, cottages and cabins.  Keep in mind that these environments may contain rodent droppings, which can present a rare but deadly health risk from hantavirus.  Hantavirus was first recognized in North America in May, 1993 in The Four Corners area of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. The first case probably occurred in Utah in 1959.  It has since been found in other states and other countries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website, people become infected with hantaviruses through contact with infected rodents, their urine or their droppings.  To date, CDC has identified Deer Mice, Cotton Rats, Rice Rats and White-footed Mice as hantavirus carriers. Descriptions of these rodents and maps showing … READ MORE >>

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Does Exposure to Bleach Cause or Help Prevent Childhood Infections?
The Water Quality & Health Council

A short report in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine concludes passive exposure to weekly use of bleach in the home could promote some infections in school-age children.  The report is poorly documented, highly speculative and although the researchers recommend exercising caution when interpreting their results, some in the media have erroneously interpreted the findings as definitive, with headlines such as:  “How cleaning with bleach can make children ill:  Those living in super clean houses are 20% more likely to catch flu, tonsillitis and pneumonia.” … READ MORE >>

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Easter Egg Safety
Water Quality & Health Council

Dyeing Easter eggs and organizing Easter egg hunts are treasured traditions in many families. Enjoying these traditions safely—without foodborne illness—is a matter of following a few commonsense guidelines.  We provide the following Easter egg safety tips based on US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendations with our wishes for a healthy, enjoyable holiday.

Buying Eggs

Buy eggs from a refrigerated case.  Open the carton and inspect for clean, uncracked shells. The egg carton should be imprinted with a USDA grade shield and indicate a future “sell by” date (see photos below).… READ MORE >>

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Storing and Handling Pool Chemicals Safely
Bob G. Vincent

This YouTube video on Pool Chemical Safety provides tips on avoiding pool chemical accidents and injuries.

What’s more refreshing than swimming in crystal-clear pool water?  It takes chemistry to achieve “crystal clear”—the appropriate use of disinfectants, pH adjusters and algaecides.  Pool water would quickly become a cloudy, hazardous “microbial soup” without pool chemicals, but as with all chemicals, the ones we use in the pool must be treated with a heaping dose of healthy respect.  The following three case studies, taken from recent news reports, illustrate the unfortunate and sometimes tragic results of mishandling pool chemicals.  “Lessons learned” from these examples are highlighted below.… READ MORE >>

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World Water Day, 2015:  A Vital Role for Dihydrogen Oxide in Sustainable Development
Chris Wiant, MPH, PhD

World Water Day, March 22, is an annual celebration of one of humanity’s most precious resources—the chemical compound dihydrogen oxide, more commonly known as water, or, “H2O,”   the medium of life on the Blue Planet.  Twenty-two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly instituted this annual celebration, and each has a particular theme.  This year’s theme, “Water and Sustainable Development,” shines a light on the critical role water will play in our future, from life-giving drinking water to agricultural and manufacturing process water and so much more.… READ MORE >>

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