Introducing the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code
Linda Golodner

CDC's Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)

This summer, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the availability of the first edition of its Model Aquatic Health Code. “The MAHC,” as it is known, provides free guidance on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of public swimming pools and spas. Why is such a document needed?

As CDC notes on its website, there is no federal regulatory agency responsible for the proper functioning of aquatic facilities. About 68 percent of local health departments regulate or inspect public swimming pools and facilities. These health departments write and update their codes periodically, expending valuable local resources.  And yet, in 2010, CDC reported one in eight pool inspections conducted in 15 states in 2008 resulted in immediate closures due to serious violations, such as a lack of disinfectant in the water.  Poorly operated aquatic facilities can lead to drowning, recreational water illness outbreaks and chemical … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Chlorine Bleach: A Trusted Ally in the Battle against Ebola
Water Quality & Health Council

A group of San Diego women with close ties to the West African nation of Liberia is raising funds to help fight the Ebola outbreak in that country. Their chosen weapon:  buckets of bleach.  In a recent video, Deborah Lindholm, the founder of the group, Foundation for Women, describes life today in Liberia:  “There are no handshakes, no touching, no hugging; there is just complete and utter fear in Liberia right now…There are buckets of bleach all over the streets in Liberia and the people in Liberia and in the surrounding areas that have been affected by Ebola understand that if they keep their hands clean they can kill off the virus.

Hand washing is an extremely important component of infection control as germs picked up on the hands are readily transferred to the eyes, mouth and nose by touching.  Keeping all settings clean—homes, healthcare settings, … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Enterovirus 68: The New Respiratory Virus on Our Radar
Ralph Morris, MD, MPH

 

SickpersonA previously uncommon respiratory virus has shown up on our radar:  Enterovirus 68 (EV-D68), a non-polio enterovirus.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, from mid-August to October 1 of this year, 500 people in 42 states and the District of Columbia were confirmed to have EV-D68 infections, but these probably only represent “the tip of the iceberg,” as healthcare professionals are not required to report known or suspected cases of EV-68.  CDC reports that infants and children under 5 years old, children with asthma, and teenagers are at risk to contract enteroviruses, which are known to peak in the United States in late summer and early fall.  Many of the children affected in the recent outbreak required care in hospital intensive care units.

Asthma-like Symptoms

EV-D68 was first identified in four children in California in 1962, but until recently, was considered relatively rare.  … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Naegleria in Louisiana: Fighting the Right Fight
Chris Wiant, M.P.H., Ph.D

The identification of the “brain-eating amoeba,” Naegleria fowleri, in some Louisiana drinking water and three tragic deaths from this organism since 2011 has prompted an aggressive response to rid state water systems of the amoeba. This article examines the strategy being used to combat Naegleria in Louisiana, and reinforces the importance of staying the present course to ensure lasting good water quality and a restoration of public confidence.  There will almost certainly be a multitude of valuable lessons learned from this episode.

Taking the Fight to Naegleria’s Stronghold

Although Naegleria fowleri may enter treatment plants from natural source waters, the amoeba is effectively removed through the filtration and disinfection steps of appropriate water treatment. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if it enters the distribution system, either by virtue of insufficient treatment or a break in the distribution system, Naegleria gets another chance at life.  That … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Reduce Your Risk of Getting Sick at the Office
Barbara Soule, R.N., MPC, CIC, FSHEA

officeOffice workers share more than reports and chit-chat when they show up for work each day. They also share germs, according to a new study by University of Arizona microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba.  A recent article in Mother Nature Network describes how Dr.  Gerba tracked the spread of a harmless virus across surfaces in offices, hotel rooms and health care facilities.

The harmless virus was a surrogate for the flu and norovirus.  Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that annually causes about 20 million cases of illness and up to about 71,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. The flu can cause between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths in a given year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Gerba found from an initial contamination of one or two surfaces (also known as fomites) in these environments, 40 to 60 percent of available surfaces became contaminated with the surrogate … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Subscribe to receive the weekly "Water Quality & Health Council Perspectives"