Worms & Germs Blog

Archives: Miscellaneous

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New USEF equine vaccination requirements

Posted in Horses, Vaccination
Mandatory vaccination for horses entering shows, other events and sales has been a surprisingly contentious issue for years. Some groups have required equine influenza vaccination for a long time, and it’s an accepted measure. Attempts to mandate vaccination for some other groups or events have often been met with resistance, even when those attempts were… Continue Reading

West Nile virus in Ontario

Posted in Horses, Vaccination
The season has arrived. Right on schedule, the first case of West Nile virus (WNV)  infection in an Ontario horse has been identified, prompting an advisory from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The affected horse was from Sudbury, Ontario, and was euthanized because of progressive and severe neurological disease. It… Continue Reading

More dog travel issues

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
Importation issues, Part 1 A Facebook post was forwarded to me the other day. It reads “Drove to the airport today to pick up this lovely little girl [puppy] who flew all the way to Montreal from Baku Azerbaijan. Spent the afternoon with her romping around in Westmount Park. She will be up for adoption… Continue Reading

Equine infectious disease research: Call for Ontario participants

Posted in Horses, Miscellaneous
Are you an Ontario horse owner? University of Guelph researchers now recruiting for new equine project! Horses travel frequently, and the nature and extent of these travel patterns can contribute to the introduction and spread of diseases. The University of Guelph is conducting a study to determine how these movement patterns can influence new disease… Continue Reading

Are we too clean?

Posted in Miscellaneous
A recent episode of the popular TVO current affairs show "The Agenda with Steve Paikin" explores the topic of “Our Relationship with Cleanliness" – an informative, yet fun look at the topic of germs. Panelists (including yours truly) take a cultural, historical, psychological and sociological look at the microorganisms on us and around us –… Continue Reading

Canadian human antimicrobial use report, 2012/2013

Posted in Miscellaneous
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has released the 2012/2013 Human Antimicrobial Drug Use Report. Why write about this on a site dedicated to zoonotic diseases and diseases of animals? For a few different reasons, actually. One is that we have to realize that antibiotics (and bacteria) don’t care if drugs are used on… Continue Reading

How to fix an iPad

Posted in Miscellaneous
Sorry… nothing to do with zoonotic diseases, but still entertaining. Our two iPads stopped working over one weekend last October. Figuring they were destined for recycling, I came across some internet posts that said “whack it.” I figured that I had nothing to lose and if nothing else, I’d get the satisfaction of beating on… Continue Reading

International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases (ISCAID) symposium, 2014

Posted in Miscellaneous
The International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases (ISCAID) and International Feline Retroviral Research Symposium have joined forces for a combined conference in 2014. This meeting, which would be of relevance to veterinary researchers and veterinary clinicians with an interest in infectious diseases, will be held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (Canada) Oct 19-22. More information can… Continue Reading

From the archives….the mysteries of the 100 acre wood

Posted in Miscellaneous
Another popular post from the archives, and a nice light topic for the holidays! (Original post date 25-Nov-2010). Pardon my straying from the zoonotic disease realm, but here’s a little light reading… Medical Mysteries of the 100-Acre Wood Children around the world have been entertained by activities in the 100-acre-wood for decades. But at what… Continue Reading

Zoonoses for physicians

Posted in Miscellaneous
I just read a recent Medscape article entitled Human-Animal Interactions: a primer for clinicians. I assumed it would be one more relatively generic article about zoonoses, focusing on agriculture. Some of those aspects were there, but it had a lot more depth than I expected and went beyond the same old superficial talking points. The… Continue Reading

The Twelve Days of Zoonoses

Posted in Miscellaneous
For the complete song lyrics, see below.  For the grand finale by the Worms&Germs singers (otherwise known as members of the Rainbow Chorus of Waterloo-Wellington – more details below!), click on the YouTube video. On the first day or Christmas, my true love gave to me, A dog with lepto in its pee. On the… Continue Reading

The Trouble With Gloves

Posted in Miscellaneous
When it comes to hand hygiene, there is an unfortunately all-too-common misconception that wearing gloves makes hand washing or using alcohol-based hand rub unnecessary. In veterinary and human medicine, gloves, like hand hygiene, are typically used for two reasons: to prevent spread of germs or chemicals from a patient/person/object/surface to a person’s hands, and/or to… Continue Reading

Mythbusters: Pandemics and new diseases

Posted in Miscellaneous
I read an interesting article earlier this week that I felt was worth sharing. The article, which appeared in the Huffington Post, is entitled “7 common myths about pandemics and new diseases” written by Dr. William Karesh, executive VP for health and policy with the EcoHealth Alliance. It talks about several misconceptions a lot of… Continue Reading

Show me the paper…oh wait…

Posted in Miscellaneous
“Show me the peer-reviewed publication.” This is a common refrain used, particularly by the scientifically-minded, when talking to someone about the latest trendy diagnosis, treatment or other medical "discovery." It used to be relatively easy to use this method to assess the reliability of new information. If something was published in a peer-reviewed journal, it… Continue Reading

Antibiotics…time to close some loopholes

Posted in Miscellaneous
At a time when there’s much concern about antibiotic use and resistance, and when there’s talk about restricting antibiotic use in animals, it amazes me that some huge, illogical and easy-to-correct loopholes remain in the current system. The approach to access to antibiotics for animals varies greatly in different countries: In some, access to antibiotics… Continue Reading

UK crackdown on alternative medicine claims

Posted in Miscellaneous
The UK’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has taken the long-overdue step of requiring people selling alternative therapy products for prevention and treatment of diseases in animals to actually show that the products are safe and do what they claim. The effort includes products like homeopathic nosodes, nutraceuticals and herbal preparations. Historically, alternative medicines have received… Continue Reading

What is a probiotic?

Posted in Miscellaneous
Probiotics are widely available and increasingly popular as "alternative" or "natural" approaches to treatment and prevention of disease. When considering the use of probiotics, it’s important to think about what a probiotic really is. A widely used (and my favourite) definition is: Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when given in adequate doses, provide health effects… Continue Reading

World Hand Hygiene Day

Posted in Miscellaneous
Today is World Hand Hygiene Day, an occasion being promoted by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands” campaign. This WHO initiative is aimed primarily at improving hand hygiene in healthcare facilities around the world, in order to help reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) (e.g. infections that people develop while in hospital). Also… Continue Reading

Autism/vaccine link study now fully retracted

Posted in Vaccination
The medical journal Lancet has fully retracted the flawed 1998 study that raised a link between MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination and autism in children. This study fueled incredible debate and was a driving force in the anti-vaccination movement, and subsequent declines in vaccination rates were a key reason for the resurgence of measles. It also… Continue Reading

Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis for dogs

Posted in Dogs, Rabies, Vaccination
If an unvaccinated person is exposed to rabies (usually by a bite), they undergo post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), consisting of an injection of anti-rabies antibodies and a series of 4 or 5 vaccines. (It used to be 5, but it was recently recommended to drop this to 4). This is a highly effective protocol which basically… Continue Reading

Antibiotic Awareness Day

Posted in Miscellaneous
European Antibiotic Awareness Day is an initiative of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.  This year it falls on November 18.  The aim of the Day is to provide an annual opportunity for raising awareness about the threat to public health of antibiotic resistance and how to use antibiotics responsibly. Responsible use of… Continue Reading