Topics A to Z

As part of NEHA's continuos effort to provide convenient access to information and resources, we have gathered together for you the links in this section. Our mission is "to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all,” as well as to educate and inform those outside the profession.

Abstract

Bed bugs continue to affect society and place a burden on public health systems. Experiences of the Let’s Beat the Bug! campaign are presented to help information networks prepare personnel to effectively address questions about this pest. Following recommendations from the Minnesota state bed bug working group, an information line was established and the Web site (www.bedbugs.umn.edu) was revised. Data from both services were analyzed by geographic region and type of information requested. InformationLine primarily assisted people who had issues dealing with failed treatments and landlord reluctance to take effective measures against this pest. Web site visits indicated a preference for learning do-it-yourself control methods. There were commonalities in the information sought from both services. People were often looking for reassurance, in addition to information about basic prevention and control of bed bugs. We present here priority topics that public health personnel should be prepared to answer if they receive inquiries about bed bugs. 

March 2017
March 2017
79.7 | 22-27
Amelia K. Shindelar, Stephen A. Kells, MS, PhD, BCE

Abstract

Desalination provides a partial solution to water scarcity. While the desalination process provides much needed water to coastal areas, it also has various environmental impacts. Older operations entrain and impinge large and small organisms during the collection process, use significant amounts of energy, and produce substantial volumes of waste brine. These short- and long-term impacts warrant the involvement of environmental health practitioners.

Sustainable water supplies depend on more than just the weather. Accordingly, we start by analyzing the rising global demand for drinking water and the ongoing deterioration of the oceans. Next, we detail known impacts of desalination, and discuss alternatives for addressing water scarcity. We challenge environmental health practitioners to help meet current and future drinking water needs with respect to environmental sustainability. The ocean is finite. We should ask the right questions so as not to consume it at an untenable pace.

November 2016
November 2016
79.4 | 28-32
Brett Koontz, DPA, REHS, Thomas Hatfield, DrPH, REHS, DAAS

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that a majority of vendors at farmers markets reuse cardboard cartons to store and transport produce to and from farmers markets, rendering the cartons a potential source of microbial contamination. This study investigated the ability of foodborne pathogens to persist on cardboard cartons over 44 days. Briefly, a mixture of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., and E. coli O157:H7 were inoculated onto cardboard coupons and pathogen viability was quantified for up to 44 days. The results demonstrated that while E. coli O157:H7 survived for no longer than 2 days, L. monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. were recovered up to 32 and 44 days, respectively. These results highlight key challenges associated with reusing cardboard containers and the potential of microbial contamination transfer onto produce. The results of this study emphasize the need for science-based food safety training for vendors and managers at farmers markets to ensure that only containers that can be easily cleaned and sanitized are used to transport and store produce.

 

January 2020
January/February 2020
82.6 | 16-20
Sujata A. Sirsat, PhD, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

Improvements in life expectancy and changes in lifestyle have contributed to a “disease transition” from communicable to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Damage to public health infrastructure (PHI), such as sanitation and water, places people with NCDs at risk of disease exacerbation or even death. We propose the interdisciplinary characteristics of environmental health (EH) and the indirect, but vital, role in maximizing treatment and care for people with NCDs demonstrates the profession is an essential resource for addressing this problem. To explore this proposal, five focus groups were conducted with 55 EH professionals in Queensland, Australia. Relationships were identified between NCD exacerbation and PHI, such as power, sanitation, services, supplies, and water. Preparedness and response activities should focus on this priority PHI, which will require EH professionals to be part of interdisciplinary solutions. Recognizing this role will help protect the health of people with NCDs during and after a disaster.

December 2017
December 2017
80.5 | 38-48
Benjamin J. Ryan, MPH, James Cook University, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Richard C. Franklin, MSocSc, PhD, James Cook University, World Safety Organization, Royal Life Saving Society, Frederick M. Burkle, Jr., MPH, MD, DTM, FAAP, FACEP, James Cook University, Harvard School of Public Health, Erin C Smith, MClinEpi, MPH, PhD, James Cook University, Edith Cowan University

Abstract

Outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are becoming increasingly frequent in the athletic community. Skin–fomite contact represents a putative mechanism for transmission of MRSA. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the prevalence and transmissibility of S. aureus in three surfaces commonly encountered in the gymnasium setting: the court floor, the sports ball, and the athlete’s hands. Three sports scenarios were simulated by dribbling a sports ball within a designated area; the surfaces were cultured before and after play using media selective for S. aureus. There was significant transfer of S. aureus from the native, contaminated surface towards two disinfected surfaces. In a fourth experiment, survival of S. aureus on sports balls was evaluated over time. S. aureus was found to be viable on the ball for at least 72 hr. This study demonstrates the significance of the sports ball as a vector for pathogen transmission. Interventions aimed at reducing athletic outbreaks should therefore include routine disinfection of sports balls during and after play.

January 2018
January/February 2018
80.6 | 8-13
Brandon A. Haghverdian, MD, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Nimesh Patel, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in California, Lisa Wang, RN, CCRN, Stanford University Medical Center, Joshua A. Cotter, PhD, California State University, Long Beach
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

The conventional supermarket represents an important public access to a wide variety of food that is vital for healthy families. The supermarket is also a location where food, the public, and pathogens can meet. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a hypothesized norovirus transmission pathway via reusable grocery bags (RGBs) within a conventional grocery supermarket. An RGB was inoculated with a surrogate virus to assess potential transport of pathogens within a grocery store. Volunteer shoppers were given an RGB sprayed with a surrogate (bacteriophage MS2) upon entry to a grocery store. A surrogate is defined in this study as an organism, particle, or substance that is used to study the fate and transport of a pathogen in a specific environment (Sinclair, Rose, Hashsham, Gerba, & Haas, 2012). The study personnel swabbed all surfaces touched by the volunteer shopper to recover MS2 surrogate. The data show that MS2 spread to all surfaces touched by the shopper; the highest concentration occurred on the shopper’s hands, the checkout stand, and the clerk’s hands. The high concentration of the MS2 on hands justify a recommendation for in-store hand hygiene as a primary preventive measure against transmission of infectious pathogens. The high concentrations on the checkout stand justify a secondary recommendation for surface disinfection and public education about washing RGBs.

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June 2018
June 2018
80.10 | 8-14
Ryan Sinclair, MPH, PhD, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Lindsay Fahnestock, MPH, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Andre Feliz, MS, MD, Environmental Safety Alliance, Jaimini Patel, MPH, REHS, Loma Linda University School of Public Health
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

This step-by-step guide explains how to create a sustainability plan and sustainability report. Each chapter contains two vital sections. The first contains background reading, tips, and case examples to help you be successful. The second presents a set of methods each with step-by-step instructions and a selection matrix to help choose the best methods. The book also contains sample worksheets and exercise materials that can be copied for organization-wide use.

Additional Topics A to Z: Sustainability

NEHA attendees are invited to use their imaginative power to envision and design the next cartoon in the food defense series. Participants will engage in a collaborative brainstorming session to identify a scenario and develop the storyline as a professional cartoonist brings these visions to life in a multi-paneled storyboard. By the end of the session, participants, working alongside the cartoonist, will have collaboratively created a complete training cartoon, to be the fifth installment of the current food defense series.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015

Abstract

Pulling a cloth over the ground remains the primary method for conducting a tick surveillance survey. A person physically walking in the collection zone pulling a flannel cloth creates an opportunity for a human–tick encounter. Walking ahead of the drag cloth also disrupts the area to be sampled and increases the opportunity for a human–tick encounter. In order to reduce this potential interaction, a remotely piloted vehicle (drone) was used to pull the flannel cloth, which allows the drag cloth to be the first contact in the swath to be sampled. A small camera-equipped drone used to replace the human in dragging the cloth was found to be powerful enough to pull a drag-cloth over grassy or slightly brushy terrain. The cloth-to-surface contact was found to be similar enough to the standard dragging practice to result in similar numbers, types, and ages of ticks collected. Statistical analysis using chi-square and paired t-tests determined there was no difference in drag methods (χ2 = 1.9756, p = .37; t = 1.31, p = .22). Further tests are needed to confirm this study and identify other potential differences in human and drone tick dragging surveillance.

 

March 2020
March 2020
82.7 | 8-12
Tracy L. Zontek, PhD, CIH, CSP, University of Tampa, Burton R. Ogle, PhD, CIH, CSP, Western Carolina University, Robyn Hoover, Western Carolina University, John T. Jankovic, MSPH, CIH, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences

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