Tag Archives: news

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – March 26th, 2007

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

March 26, 2007

WQ&HC’s Rose Presents Great Lakes Water Quality Research

WQ&HC member and Homer Nowlin Chair of Water Research at Michigan State University Joan Rose, PhD discussed her recent water quality research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting. In her presentation “Drinking Water and Health: Forecasting Pathogen Risks in the Great Lakes,” Dr. Rose discussed the increasing difficulty of separating drinking water and sewage, leading to a variety of illnesses and public health threats from contact with pathogens including Campylobacter, Giardia, Salmonella and noroviruses.

Dr. Rose’s Great Lakes Basin project is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) effort to develop a means of forecasting water quality problems for lakes, rivers and streams. The ability to identify drinking water contamination scenarios in the early stages will help prevent health threats and … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – Feb 26, 2006

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

February 27, 2006

Research Shows Anthrax May Survive Standard Disinfection Processes

Anthrax spores may survive traditional drinking water disinfection methods and attach themselves to the inside surface of water system piping, according to a research report released this month at the 2006 American Society for Microbiology Biodefense Research Meeting. The study conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland was designed to determine how anthrax spores function in drinking water systems that use chlorine as a disinfectant.

According to the researchers, results suggest that existing water treatment methods might not be effective in the event of an anthrax spore release in the water supply, and that water treatment facilities should be prepared to employ alternate disinfection methods. These treatment methods include exposure to higher concentrations of chlorine (or an alternate disinfectant) for an extended … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – February 23rd, 2007

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

February 23, 2007

Norovirus Outbreaks Surge this Winter

From nursing homes and schools to restaurants and cruise ships, reports of norovirus infection have risen significantly this winter, according to public health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports that during a typical year noroviruses cause about 23 million infections, 50,000 hospitalizations and more than 300 deaths in the U.S. The current rate of reports suggests 2006-2007 will record higher than normal incidents of illness and fatality.

Spread through contaminated food or person-to-person either through direct contact or by touching contaminated surfaces, noroviruses are a group of approximately 40 strains of highly contagious virus. Infections cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and fever with symptoms that normally last a day or two. Up to 10 percent of … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – Feb 9, 2007

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

February 9, 2007

New Federal Guidelines for Pandemic Outbreak Released

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued new guidelines aimed at reducing the impact of a potential pandemic influenza outbreak by improving state, local and community preparedness measures. Released February 2, the guidelines focus on actions to reduce contact between people and slow the spread of illness until vaccines are made available.

The Guidelines include protocols for:

* Voluntary self quarantine. Asking ill persons and their household members to remain at home or not go to work for 7 to 10 days.

* Close schools and child care programs. Reducing contact among kids and teens within the community for up to three months depending on the severity of the outbreak

* Postpone large public gatherings, change workplace … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – January 29th, 2007

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

January 29, 2007

Sanitation Lauded as Greatest Medical Milestone

A poll conducted by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has named sanitation as the most important medical milestone since the journal was first published in 1840. BMJ editors asked its readers to vote on the greatest medical breakthrough since the journal began 166 years ago as part of a celebration to mark the journal’s redesign. The BMJ selected 15 medical advances and published articles arguing the merits of each one. With more than 11,000 votes from around the world, sanitation beat out other medical achievements such as antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, vaccines, anesthesia and the discovery of DNA.

The recent BMJ article on sanitation notes that new sewage disposal and water supply systems in the 1800s revolutionized public health in Europe. Edwin Chadwick published The Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – January 12th, 2007

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

January 12, 2007

CDC Releases Latest Recreational Water Disease Surveillance Data

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) published the results of its 2003-2004 “Surveillance for Waterborne Disease and Outbreaks Associated with Recreational Water in the U.S.” in the December 22 issue of the agency’s publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to the report, there were a total 62 waterborne disease outbreaks (WBDOs) associated with recreational water spread across 26 states and Guam during 2003-2004. The total represents a slight decrease from the 2001-2002 data in which a record number of WBDOs (65) were reported.

CDC has maintained a Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (WBDOSS) for collecting and reporting WBDO data in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists since 1971.

For the 2003-2004 WBDO totals, illnesses occurred … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – December 4th, 2006


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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

December 4, 2006

Norovirus Sickens Nearly 700 on Cruise Ship

Preliminary tests conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) have identified a highly contagious norovirus as the source of a cruise ship intestinal illness outbreak earlier this month. The infection affected approximately 700 passengers and crew members on the Carnival Cruise Line’s “The Liberty.” According to the CDC, an investigative team is attempting to track down the source of the outbreak that began in Rome and affected nearly 550 guests and 150 crew members during the ship’s 16 day voyage.

Norovirus is not one pathogen, but a group of viruses that cause gastrointestinal illness. Symptoms of the infection include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people and are spread from person-to-person via personal contact or from transfer … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – November 17th, 2006

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

November 17, 2006

Study: Chlorine to Chloramines Switch Increases Blood Lead Levels

According to a new study, the change from free chlorine to chloramines as a public drinking water disinfection agent may be responsible for increased levels of lead in humans. The study, “Changes in Blood Lead Levels Associated with Use of Chloramines in Water Treatment Systems” was published in the November issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, a monthly peer-reviewed journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia being used more frequently by public water utilities as an alternative to conventional chlorine to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Stage 1 Disinfection Byproducts Rule. The federal guidelines were developed as a means of reducing public exposure to disinfection byproducts (DBPs). DBPs are substances created when chlorine reacts with … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – November 3rd, 2006

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

November 3, 2006

New China-Based Bird Flu Strain Found

The discovery of a new strain of bird flu in China was announced in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Identified by a University of Hong Kong research team as “H5N1 Fujian-like” to distinguish it from earlier Hong Kong and Vietnam strains, the strain has become the primary version of the bird flu in several Chinese provinces, portions of Hong Kong, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand.

According to officials with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization, there is no evidence that this new strain can pass easily from person to person. However, WHO has announced that it is working with the Chinese Ministry of Health to develop a vaccine. Efforts to test migrating wildfowl in order to detect movement of the virus … READ MORE >>

Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs – October 23rd, 2006

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Public Health and Drinking Water News Briefs

October 23, 2006

Landmark EPA Groundwater Pathogen Rule Issued

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a new rule into law this month that will require drinking water systems using groundwater sources to monitor for indicator organisms of pathogen viruses and bacteria from fecal contamination. Slated for implementation in December 2009, the rule will take a risk-based approach, requiring groundwater utilities to conduct routine, state-sanctioned sanitary surveys to identify problem areas in their operations. Systems demonstrating the presence of potentially harmful viruses or microbial contaminants will be required by law to implement source water monitoring practices and treatment procedures.

The rule takes a risk-based approach to identify groundwater systems that are at high risk for contamination by fecal matter, and it identifies when corrective action, including disinfection, must be taken. According to EPA, most groundwater systems are not contaminated, making … READ MORE >>

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