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Archives: Other diseases

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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

Fewer sinks in veterinary clinics??

Posted in Other diseases
  Click here for a link to a presentation by an architect about veterinary clinic design. This video clearly shows why people that are designing clinics need to be thinking about infection control (and that some are clearly not doing so). This person talks about the trend towards not placing sinks in exam rooms. This… Continue Reading

Seagulls, beaches and bad bugs

Posted in Other diseases
Just as I’m getting ready to go on vacation (that will hopefully involve some time on the beach), I read an article in the latest edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases about seagulls and beaches as reservoirs of multidrug-resistant E. coli (Simoes et al 2010). In this study, the researchers collected seagull poop from beaches in… Continue Reading

Another fatal strep outbreak at a shelter

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
A very poorly-written and confusing report suggests that another Streptococcus zooepidemicus outbreak is underway in dogs in a shelter in Ohio. Five of 175 dogs on the premises died suddenly of hemorrhagic pneumonia. The report variably mentioned a "virus that mutated from horses," that it’s thought to be "not contagious" despite multiple dogs being affected,… Continue Reading

H1N1 in a dog

Posted in Dogs, Other diseases
H1N1 influenza was diagnosed in two dogs in China, bringing increased calls to pay attention to other animal species when it comes to this disease. I’m more surprised by this than finding H1N1 in a cat or ferret. Dogs are susceptible to influenza and have their own circulating influenza strain (H3N8, originally from horses) but… Continue Reading

Feline leprosy

Posted in Cats, Other diseases
Leprosy usually evokes images of deformed faces and hands and leper colonies. This disease, caused by Mycobacterium leprae, has been recognized for at least 4000 years, and is thought to have been one of the biblical plagues. While now treatable with proper access to healthcare, leprosy is still a problem in some regions. Feline leprosy… Continue Reading

Campylobacter upsaliensis: an overlooked problem?

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Other diseases
Campylobacter bacteria are important causes of disease in people. Many Campylobacter species exist, and these different species vary quite a bit in their ability to cause disease in people and animals. Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in people worldwide, and is most commonly associated with contaminated food.  However, a… Continue Reading

Stray cats and H1N1 influenza

Posted in Cats, Other diseases
The topic of the potential for feral (stray) animals, particularly cats, to be sources of human influenza infection came up today. For feral animals to be a public health problem, the following sequence has to happen: Feral animals need to be exposed to H1N1 This is pretty unlikely. Influenza is spread through close contact, mainly… Continue Reading