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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Vibrio Infection: Rare, but Worth Knowing About
Water Quality & Health Council

Planning a beach vacation this summer?  You should know about a group of naturally-occurring bacteria found in the warm coastal, especially brackish waters of the US that pose a rare but potentially serious risk to raw seafood consumers, anglers, commercial fishermen and others engaged in salt water-based activities.  The culprits are several species of Vibrio bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vibrio are responsible for an estimated 80,000 cases of infection—known as vibriosis—in the US every year.  When Vibrio invades the bloodstream, the result can be fatal. There are approximately 100 US deaths per year from vibriosis.

Vibrio bacteria are most prevalent in estuarine waters between May and October when water temperatures are elevated1 . CDC data indicate more than half of all reported vibriosis cases (65 percent) are caused by eating contaminated food.  Thirty-five percent of cases are the result of people with … READ MORE >>

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The Global Water Pathogen Project: Helping to Meet the UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
Joan B. Rose, PhD

As nations work to meet the 17 post-2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a significant new resource that will help “ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” the focus of SDG #6.   That resource is the Global Water Pathogen Project (GWPP), the largest single coordinated effort of scientists to contribute to the 2030 UN agenda.

Led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Michigan State University, the GWPP organizes over 100 scientists from around the globe into nine expert teams to address key fecal pathogen groups and the measures necessary to control those pathogens.  The project features an online “open access integration platform” that will be updated regularly by the experts.  With access to the Internet, engineers and scientists working anywhere in the world will be empowered to tap into the best available science for controlling human … READ MORE >>

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Add Water for a Fun 4th of July
Ralph Morris, MD, MPH

American Flags

A patriotic parade in the community, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, time on a lake or a dip in the pool and awesome fireworks: Does that capture some of your plans for the 4th of July? To help keep the fun in your hot weather holiday, here are some quick tips for staying hydrated and making sure that if you are swimming, you are enjoying a Healthy Pool.

Stay Hydrated

  • Increase your fluid (we recommend water) intake above recommended levels during hot weather
  • Drink before you are thirsty (if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated) and avoid alcoholic beverages (these can cause dehydration from increased urine output)
  • Know the warning signs of dehydration (body temperature over 102 degrees Fahrenheit or severe cramps in the abdomen, arms or legs; dark yellow or odorous urine; dry or sticky mouth; vomiting, diarrhea or sweating;
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How to Interpret Pool Chlorine Readings
Linda F. Golodner

Pool chlorine levels are easily measured by dipping a test strip in the pool for a few seconds and then matching the resulting color of the strip to a chart linked to “parts per million” chlorine levels.  Here’s the rub:  Some pool test kits measure “free chlorine,” whereas others measure both “free chlorine” and “total chlorine.” There is a difference between “free” and “total” chlorine.  That may be breaking news to an investigative reporter who recently confused the two in a news segment about possible contaminants in swimming pools.

Why Measure Chlorine?

This summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the public check the chlorine level and pH of pool water before enjoying a refreshing swim.  Why?  A new CDC report finds that one in five pools in five states in 2013 had to be closed due to serious safety violations, including improper pH or chlorine … READ MORE >>

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