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Archives: Other diseases

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A near fatal dog lick?

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases
I like to write about interesting papers that appear in the medical literature. A problem with that is that it’s often weird cases that get published.  So, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Regardless, reports of rare things still provide some insight, as long as people don’t over-react (which, unfortunately, is often the case).… Continue Reading

White House antibiotic resistance action plan

Posted in Other diseases
The White House has released a "National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria". This follows on the heels of "Executive Order 13676: Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" which was issued by President Barack Obama on September 18, 2014, along with the "National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" presented by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science… Continue Reading

Mad Cow in Alberta

Posted in Other diseases
Last week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, was found in an Alberta beef cow.  BSE belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) that are not caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites, but rather… Continue Reading

Lyme disease & ticks: New infosheet

Posted in Other diseases
The latest Worms & Germs infosheet, all about Lyme disease and ticks, is now available on the Resources – Pets page.  Although it’s getting colder and occasionally snowy up in Ontario, there are lots of parts of North America where ticks are active all year round.  It’s particularly important for any "snowbirds" who may travel… Continue Reading

Ebola: precautions and paranoia

Posted in Other diseases
Awareness is good. Being proactive is wise. Being paranoid? That’s another story. As this unprecedented Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa continues to expand, many people in North America have journeyed from ignoring it, to considering it a disease that you only get if you’re in Africa, to thinking they need for move to some… Continue Reading

Never a simple story: West Nile in California

Posted in Other diseases
Orange County CA is currently experiencing a major outbreak of West Nile infection in people. Since January 94 cases have been confirmed, three of which were fatal, representing nearly a quarter of the 400 cases reported across the country so far this year. The number of cases of infection with a mosquito-borne virus like West… Continue Reading

New pig disease arrives in Ontario

Posted in Other diseases
It was only a matter of time, so it’s not particularly surprising, but a potentially devastating pig disease has made its way into Ontario. It’s not a concern to people or other animals, but it’s worth mentioning here anyway (both to say it’s not a public health or non-pig health concern, and since it’s a… Continue Reading

The “criticall important antibiotic” debate

Posted in Other diseases
Last week, I mentioned the antibiotic use plenary session at the ASM-ESCMID conference on methicillin-resistant staphylococci in animals. The session was designed to discuss the use of "critically important antibiotics" in companion animals – drugs like carbapenems (imipenem, meropenem) and vancomycin, which are used for treating serious multidrug-resistant infections in people as well. After the… Continue Reading

Dear vet clinic design ‘experts': Pet owners aren’t stupid

Posted in Other diseases
In the latest edition of the American Animal Hospital Association’s Trends magazine, there’s an article about veterinary clinic design. The section dealing with exam rooms says: Discussion is ongoing about whether sinks are needed in the exam room now that hand sanitizers are available. I’m not sure who’s discussing this. Hand sanitizers are great and… Continue Reading

Petting zoo E coli: Wales

Posted in Other diseases
It’s perhaps a good sign for public health when I don’t tend to come home from a local fair and write a rant about the sorry state of the petting zoo. Around here, things seem to have improved at most events over the past few years, probably largely because of the efforts of local public… Continue Reading

Dumb and dumber get campy

Posted in Other diseases
The focus of this blog is companion animals, but sometimes I just can’t resist commenting on other areas, and this one’s too good to pass up. Today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, published by the CDC, describes Campylobacter jejuni infection in two men. Campylobacter is a zoonotic bacterium that causes diarrhea (and sometime severe complications) in… Continue Reading

Toilet research

Posted in Other diseases
The scope of research that’s being done these days is astounding. Somewhere, someone’s working on a project that will lead to a Nobel Prize in medicine. Other research will gather less critical acclaim but still have a big impact on science. Some research is more basic but can result in important preliminary information. And some… Continue Reading

When does research become bioterrorism?

Posted in Other diseases
One of the big doomsday scenarios of the past couple of decades has been an H5N1 avian influenza pandemic. Human infections with this virus have occurred in various parts of the world (mainly southeast Asia) and death rates are quite scarey (50% or higher). Fortunately, the virus does not transmit efficiently between people, so human… Continue Reading

Rare tickborne infection in Minnesota woman

Posted in Other diseases
A Minnesota woman has died of Powassan virus encephalitis, a very rare neurological disease transmitted by ticks. Powassan virus is most often found in parts of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, but there is evidence of it in many other parts of North America as well, and as far away as Russia. Human infections are very… Continue Reading

Research posters now available

Posted in Other diseases
In trying to keep up with technology, my lab has started adding a QR code to posters presented at research meetings. The code links to a page on the Worms & Germs Blog Resources page that houses a collection of research posters that people can view and download. You can also go directly to the… Continue Reading

Radiation fallout risk for pets?

Posted in Other diseases
This isn’t an infectious disease topic but I’ve had a few questions about it nonetheless, so I thought it would be worth making some comments here. With nuclear meltdown concerns in Japan, some pet owners (particularly on the west coast of the US) are flocking to veterinarians looking for potassium iodide pills for their pets. Potassium… Continue Reading

Lyme disease in Australia?

Posted in Other diseases
The world is certainly getting "smaller," especially in terms of infectious diseases.  One example is the renewed controversy this month over the existence of Lyme disease in Australia.  A Sydney man was recently diagnosed with the disease following his death, and now a doctor from Laurieton claims to have "absolute proof" of at least two… Continue Reading

Infection control…how things have changed

Posted in Other diseases
Infection control is a constantly evolving and expanding area – for the good. Paying close attention to infection control in human hospitals is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the advances in infection control are now having an impact outside of hospitals. Pandemic H1N1 influenza drove a lot of changes, but there’s been a general increase… Continue Reading

Tick bite irony

Posted in Other diseases
Canadian singer Alanis Morissette wrote a song called "Ironic" that (ironically) doesn’t really describe irony: Rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you already paid, a black fly in your Chardonnay… they all suck but they’re not ironic. What is ironic is Dr. Ed Breitschswerdt, an internationally renowned veterinary internist and tickborne disease… Continue Reading

Ringworm at the OSPCA

Posted in Other diseases
Never a dull moment… This morning the Toronto Star published an article about the intended euthanasia of 350 animals at a humane society in Newmarket due to an ongoing ringworm outbreak.  This was quickly followed by another article about the same event that gave a few more details, including some comments from the OSPCA chief… Continue Reading

Drug discovery disparity

Posted in Other diseases
On the way home from an MRSA symposium in the US the other day, I was (perhaps fittingly) listening to a podcast about new antibiotic development. The podcast, by The Lancet Infectious Diseases, discussed the small number of new antibiotics that are in the pipeline (about 15), particularly in contrast to the number of new anti-cancer drugs (about… Continue Reading