Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: hand hygiene

Psittacosis from a horse

Posted in Horses, Other diseases
I’ve had this paper from One Health (Chan et al 2017) on my “to blog” pile for a while, since it’s an interesting story. Like any case report, it’s a bit of an oddball infection, and not likely indicative of a major or new risk. However, there are often a few good general take-home messages from… Continue Reading

Petting Zoos, Outbreaks and Denial

Posted in Other animals, Parasites
I think petting zoos can be great. I’ve taken my kids to many and think they’re a great way for people to see and interact with animals they would not normally encounter. However, there’s always some risk, and petting zoos range from exceptionally well run to horrible. It seems like there’s been steady improvement over… Continue Reading

Flesh Eating Disease with a Pony Link

Posted in Horses
The bacterium Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (often simply called Streptococcus zooepidemicus) is one that I think I understand less and less, including the risks this predominantly equine-associated bug poses to humans. It’s a well-known and common bacterium in horses, both healthy and sick, and can also be found in dogs and cats (where it can… Continue Reading

Clean Hands Save Lives: Horsey-Style

Posted in Horses
Infection control isn’t rocket science. Wash your hands, don’t eat that, keep your finger out of your nose… things you learned in kindergarten go a long way to preventing infections. The basic nature of the core infection control concepts is also a barrier – hand washing isn’t fancy, new or associated with some fancy machine. (There… Continue Reading

Hand Hygiene for Vets and Vet Students

Posted in Miscellaneous
Hand hygiene is an incredibly basic every-day infection control measure, and one of the most important means of preventing the spread of infectious pathogens.  Hand hygiene should be used at home, at work, and especially in healthcare environments where there may be more bugs and more susceptible individuals.  That includes veterinary clinics.  Also keep in… Continue Reading

Turtles and botulism

Posted in Reptiles
As reported on barfblog.com (with, as ever, an entertaining title: You see a cute turtle, I see a bug factory: Infant botulism from C. butyricum) a recent paper in the journal Epidemiology and Infection (Shelley et al. 2015) reports an unusual turtle-associated disease. When we think about turtles and infections (especially infections of young kids),… 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

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

Pets and peritoneal dialysis

Posted in Cats
I’m not a big fan of the title of a paper in the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology…”Pets are ‘risky business’ for patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis” (Yahya et al 2013), even though it’s an interesting paper that actually takes a reasonable approach to zoonotic disease risk… Continue Reading

Salmonella and fair poultry exhibits

Posted in Birds
As fall fair season starts, concerns about petting zoo outbreaks rise. While deficiencies are still common, petting zoos seem to be getting better with their infection control measures. People too are starting to get better at doing what their asked to do – namely washing their hands after visiting these exhibits. However, as we’ve shown… Continue Reading

Wash your hands…Moe’s watching!

Posted in Other animals
One on the things we try to do with the blog approach to getting zoonotic disease and infectious disease information out is to put a personal spin on stories. Whether it’s new puppy issues, a rabid bat in my house, zoonotic disease issues at my kid’s daycare or something more mundane, that personal touch sometimes… 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

When not to bring your dog to work

Posted in Dogs
In some situations, bringing a pet to work might be acceptable. In other situations, it’s totally inappropriate. A UK dentist learned that the hard way. Ian Hulme-Ribsy, a dentist, was found guilty of unprofessional and inappropriate conduct for several bad behaviours. One was that he brought his dog to his dental clinic and failed to… Continue Reading

Do you wash your hands at a petting zoo?

Posted in Other animals
Petting zoos can be great events (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again!). I end up visiting many with my kids every year.  Despite the fact that a few petting-zoo-associated disease outbreaks also occur every year, and despite the fact that I deal with infectious diseases every day, I still don’t get too concerned… Continue Reading

Whooping cough and pets

Posted in Cats
A large whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak has been ongoing in people California in 2010. This bacterial infection, caused by Bordetella pertussis, is a highly transmissible disease that can result in serious problems (including death) in young infants. At last report, there were over 6000 cases of whooping cough, making this the largest outbreak in 60… Continue Reading

Biohazardous cell phones

Posted in MRSA/MRSP
It’s amazing how attached people are to their cell phones. Many people will answer them without any thought of what else is going on. It’s something I’ve seen in veterinary hospitals where wireless or cell phones are the primary mode of internal communication. The natural tendency to answer the phone often overrides the thought process… 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

Live every day like you have MRSA

Posted in Dogs
I was giving a talk on infection control at a conference in Geneva a couple of days ago, and during a discussion with someone after the talk, I told them to "Live every day like you have MRSA." Not surprisingly, I got a bit of a strange look in response. I wasn’t trying to say, "live… 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

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

PInworms and pets

Posted in Dogs
Pets as a source of pinworms in people (especially children) has been a widespread misconception. A recent article at www.medicalnewstoday.com gives a good overview of pinworms in people and has a nice section about pets. "Pinworms that affect humans cannot infect animals or pets. However, some microscopic eggs may land on a pet’s fur and… Continue Reading

Preventing infections in the home

Posted in Cats, Clostridium difficile, Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
There is a nice, concise commentary in the most recent issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal about preventing infections in the home. It covers three important organisms: MRSA, Clostridium difficile and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). An excellent aspect of this particular commentary is its relatively low-key approach, with an emphasis on routine, basic practices such… Continue Reading