Pathogens and Outbreaks

The 2014 Dallas, Texas, Ebola Incident: Global Implications to All-Hazards Preparedness and Health Care Worker Protection

This guest commentary examines a series of well-documented nosocomial viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, including the October 2014 Dallas Ebola index case, to provide guidance for future preparedness and response in the health care setting. Hazard vulnerability assessments, occupational safety, relevant and appropriate personal protective equipment, and biosurveillance topics are discussed through the all-hazards preparedness lens.

Methyl Iodide Fumigation of Bacillus anthracis Spores

Fumigation techniques such as chlorine dioxide, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and paraformaldehyde previously used to decontaminate items, rooms, and buildings following contamination with Bacillus anthracis spores are often incompatible with materials (e.g., porous surfaces, organics, and metals), causing damage or residue. Alternative fumigation with methyl bromide is subject to U.S. and international restrictions due to its ozone-depleting properties.

Restroom Infection Control: Chlorhexidine, the Final Frontier

Pioneering, award-winning work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, UK has demonstrated the remarkable residual antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine on surfaces, thereby maintaining their continuous cleanliness over time.

In this school-setting trial, we demonstrate significant improvements in continuous cleanliness of restroom door handles. We discuss the possible benefits of applying this simple, inexpensive technique beyond clinical and office environments.

Is it in the Water? Investigation of a Waterborne Norovirus Outbreak

Norovirus outbreaks are becoming common and environmental health professionals are trained and experienced in environmental controls, such as proper cleaning procedures, to halt outbreaks. But what happens when the environmental controls are not preventing the spread? What other methods of transmission should you consider? Learn in this session how one county investigated and halted a Norovirus outbreak that resulted from contaminated well water.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

Innovative Methods to Control, Investigate, and Monitor for Legionella: A Panel Discussion

How does a tourism-dependent community respond to an environmental pathogen found in its water? This session will introduce the basic ecology and pathogenicity of Legionella. A local engineer will share how a large hotel developed and implemented a waterborne pathogen control plan and the local health district will cover their approach to investigating single cases of Legionellosis. Detection and monitoring methods will also be addressed, including a rapid bacteria screening method which provides a means for risk assessment and outbreak mitigation without waiting for a bacterial culture.

Issues and Challenges: Investigation of Foodborne Illness in Jamaica / Toronto, Canada

This session reviews an outbreak investigation conducted in a mega hotel in Jamaica. Along the way, we discover gaps in the investigation process, describe challenges in disease surveillance, and determine the barriers to effective outbreak prevention and control.

See how the existing regulations stack up against changing trends in the tourism sector and possible remedies for the shortcomings. Use this case study to identify the emerging challenges and possible solutions in your outbreak investigation process before they happen.

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