Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

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Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, March 31, 2017

#FF Spring Cleaning for the Brain

As I hope you’ve gleaned by now, I love education.  Whether it’s speaking at conferences or sitting in sessions at conferences (as I am now), I can never get enough - and I know that I’m not alone.  Today I’m sitting through 3 sessions on Biosecurity and Infection Control at the American Animal Hospital Association.  It’s amazing the difference in thought between human and animal health when it comes to the use of disinfectants.  The opening ceremonies had several speakers using the portable mics that go over their ears – you know the ones that are close to the mouth.  The only thing I could think of was whether or not they were  disinfected between speakers.  As I learned from a couple of veterinarians who dropped by the booth after I tweeted the picture and question, the thought never crossed their mind.

As I do each quarter, I wanted to share the Webber Training Teleclasses coming up for the next three months.  As noted in past blogs, the Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on topics related to infection prevention and control. The objective is to bring the best possible education to the widest possible audience with the fewest possible barriers when trying to access it.  Here's the list of teleclasses for the second quarter of 2017.

Date Title of Teleclass
Speaker
April 6th Technologic Innovations to Prevent Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections Prof. Mark Rupp, USA
April 12th Practical Steps to Develop and Sustain an Effective National Hand Hygiene Programme and its Impact on Antimicrobial Resistance Prof. Lindsay Grayson, Australia
April 25th Do’s and Dont’s for Hospital Cleaning Dr. Stephanie Dancer, Scotland
April 27th Cost Analysis of Universal Screening vs. Risk Factor-Based Screening for MRSA Dr. Virginia Roth, Canada
May 5th Special Lecture for 5 May Prof. Didier Pittet, Switzerland
May 18th The Airborne Spread of Infectious Agents: Survival and Decontamination of Human Pathogens in Indoor Air Prof. Syed Sattar, Canada
May 30th The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Methods for Bedpan Management Gertie van Knippenberg-Gordebeke, The Netherlands
June 1st Using Unofficial Sources to Monitor Outbreaks of Emerging Infectious Diseases: Lessons from ProMED Prof. Lawrence Madoff, USA
June 7th The Impact of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection Prof. Brett Mitchell, Australia
June 8th Establishing a National IPC Program on a Shoe String Budget Prof. Shaheen Mehtar, Africa
June 20th Making Sense of Alphabet Soup Dr. Andrew Simor, Canada

For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit www.webbertraining.com.  If you’re a Twitter follower you can also be part of the conversation during the sessions by following #WebberTraining.

I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these teleclasses and share them with your colleagues! 


Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, March 24, 2017

Post vacation woes…

I’m not going to gloat.  I’m tanned.  I’m refreshed.  I devoured three books – only 1 of which is worth remembering and/or recommending (The Bite of Mango).  The weather is above freezing, even if it is raining today.  All in all, it was a great week’s vacation. 
   
When I wasn’t reading I will admit, I was people watching and minding my infection prevention practices!  It truly is amazing the number of people who have no understanding of how easy it can be to pick up “bugs” while travelling.  The following are a few of my favorite pictures depicting a few infection control risks I found!
  1. Shared towels….  Okay, fine they are laundered and yes I used them BUT if you recall a Gerba study found that 93% of the “clean” cloths contained viable microorganisms EVEN AFTER LAUNDERING! 
      
  2. Cream on tables….  Here’s one I learned the hard ways years ago on a trip.  Do NOT use cream or milk that has been sitting on a table unless you are looking for a quick weight loss program!  If you do not believe me check out “Real Raw Milk Facts” as an example of outbreaks associated with raw/unpasteurized versus pasteurized milk and milk products.  In tropical climates, bacteria can grow quickly!  Skip the milk and keep the calories for consumption of other beverages or snacks! 
       
  3. Bare feet….  I could not believe the number of people walking around without shoes – even in the “He – She” (aka restrooms).  Athlete’s footplantar warts you name it!  I kept my shoes on to avoid bringing home anything that would ruin my beautifully pedicured feet! 
       
  4. Water…  You always need to be sure when you can or cannot drink the water.  For us, tap water was a no-go and we kept to bottled water except when at the resort restaurants.  However, after watching the video of us getting “slimed” and watching the resort staff squeegee the green water away I have to admit I wondered if they were recycling the green water.  I never asked.  I do not want to know.  I do not seem to have any long term ill effects from the experience!

Is anyone as geeky as me when on vacation? If you have any pictures or stories I would love to see and/or hear them!


Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, March 17, 2017

What’s your E. coli transmission rate?

I write this blog on the eve of my vacation.  Tomorrow, regardless of the fact that I have to get up at an unreasonable hour, I will be sitting in a warm tropical climate by mid-afternoon.  This is particularly inviting, since this week has been cold, windy and snowy (-8 to -12 0C / 10 to 17 0F - not including wind chill - and about 10 inches of snow the last couple of days).  I am DONE with winter.

In preparation for my trip, I have taken my Dukoral to protect myself against heat-labile producing enterotoxigenic E. coli (I will say, had I realized that sodium hydrogen carbonate powder was part of the vaccine, I may have passed).  I have also packed enough hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to ensure I am completely covered and have no fear of touching the TV remote in my hotel room!  So as I finish the last of my packing and was scrolling through my e-newsletter, I came across a study by researchers at the University of Geneva titled “Assessing the Likelihood of Hand-to-Hand Cross-Transmission of Bacteria: An Experimental Study” that looked at how much E. coli needed to be present on a person’s hands in order to be potentially transmitted to another person, I knew I had to read it.

According to the researchers, only 1 Log10 of viable E. coli cells need to present for transmission.  The study used healthcare worker pairs (e.g. a “transmitter” and a host) and increased the amount of E. coli present on the “transmitters” hands.  The “transmitter” then held the hand of the “host” for 1 minute.  In the end, the study found that hand-to-hand transmission of E. coli was 8.22 times more likely when the viable bacterial count on the “transmitter” hand was >1 Log10.  If the viable cell concentration increased to 4 Log10, the Odds Ratio increased to 212.6 times!  GROSS!

In doing a bit of “Googling”, the Minnesota State Department of Health has a poster that states there are 1500 bacteria on each square centimeter of your hand. Knowing that 1 Log10 is just a fancy way of saying “approx. 10 bacteria”, then in theory, at any given time it is possible for a person to have enough E. coli on their hands to lead to transmission.   Further, according to a 2013 study by Michigan State University, researchers found men were much more likely to just rinse their hands than women after using the restroom.   Other research on hand hygiene suggests just 37% of men and 61% of women wash their hands (with soap) after using the restroom.

What does this mean to me?  Well, it means that while I “should” be protected from enterotoxigenic E. coli after drinking that nasty Dukoral concoction, there could still be enough pathogenic bacteria on the hands of the housekeeping, wait staff and/or cooks to sink a small ship (aka my vacation).  I can’t control everyone, but you can bet I am going to try in earnest to only use female waitresses while on vacation – not because women rule, but at least I have a higher chance that she will have washed her hands after using the restroom, and so “should” have fewer “poop-related” bugs on her hands!


Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, March 10, 2017

#FF March Madness

If you’re “lucky” like me, today is a PD (Professional Development) Day at school and next week is March break.  While we are thankfully going on vacation, we are not leaving until next Thursday - meaning I have 4 days to figure out what to do with my son (aka I’ve been scrambling).  I have to admit, this scrambling has caused some chaos in my life leading to the inability to choose a blog topic this week.  It’s not that I don’t have a topic, the problem is that I have a number of topics and just can’t decide on which one I want to blog on!  Rather than pick a single topic I thought I’d embrace my March Madness and share the articles and topics that have tickled my fancy this week!

1.      High Pathogenic Avian Influenza found in Tennessee Farm – if you recall the outbreak of Avian Influenza in 2015, you may know that it caused the destruction of 49.5 million chickens and turkeys.  Some believe it was the largest animal health emergency in the US, so when a farm in Tennessee was found to have a positive test you can imagine how quickly people jumped to action.  The CDC has stated the H7N9 strain found on the farm poses a low risk for humans.  The farm is under quarantine as are 6 other farms in a 30-mile radius.  From various articles I have read so far this week the other farms are clear, but this certainly highlights the fact that influenza can hit at anytime and anywhere.  Whether we’re a producer of chickens, turkeys or ducks or a healthcare worker, we need to be vigilant during “flu” season.

2.      The Medical Minute: Is it a bad cold or RSV? – if you’re a parent, you may have experienced that moment of panic when you’re trying to determine if the “cold” your child has is turning or has turned into something worse.  Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a nasty virus that can turn a runny nose and cough into a child who is having trouble breathing.  According to the article I was reading from PennState Health, an infected person can be contagious for up to 20 days after infection, meaning we can easily pass it on to our young children who are far more susceptible to this virus than we are. We can also easily pass it onto the elderly for which RSV causes >14,000 deaths per year.  Oh, and by the way, we are also still in prime RSV season!

3.      Flu can cause worse symptoms in people with asthma – being an asthmatic, this is a topic near and dear to me, particularly since I know firsthand what happens when the flu turns to pneumonia…..   A study published by researchers at the University of Southampton assessed lung samples from asthmatics and healthy volunteers. The researchers investigated whether immune system differences could explain why asthmatics are more likely to end up in hospital if they get flu.  According to the results, samples from healthy people showed a strong immune system-triggering reaction to the flu virus versus samples from asthma patients where the reaction was much weaker. Further studies need to be conducted to determine whether the difference in immune response is due to the asthma itself, or the medications used by participating asthmatics to control their condition, but I hope you agree this is a pretty cool study!

While on the surface (pun intended) you may be wondering why I found these articles or studies so interesting as they do not directly talk to the need for cleaning and disinfection which in essence is the basis for the Talk Clean To Me blog.  The reason is because both RSV and Influenza, regardless of whether it’s a strain that infects humans or animal, are transmitted via surfaces and fomites.  When it comes to Avian Influenza, the need for strict infection control and biosecurity measures is paramount to limit the spread of disease and minimize the number of birds that need to be culled if even a single confirmed infection shows up on a farm.
 
Similarly, as these articles highlight, the fact that transmission of these viruses can occur with relative ease from healthy individuals (a.k.a. someone who will “get over” an infection with relative ease) to more susceptible individuals (the young, the old, or the asthmatics).  The importance of hand hygiene and disinfection of the environment needs to be top of mind.  Spring may just be around the corner and yes, the clocks turn back this weekend, robins have been showing up and in my back yard I have buds on the trees, but we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to RSV or Influenza infections.  We need to be vigilant, and these articles keep us grounded and highlight why we need to be vigilant.


Bugging Off!

Nicole


Friday, March 3, 2017

Top 12 Super Villain Watch List

Having an 8 year old, I can honestly say that when I think of a super villain I think of Rhino, The Goblin, Mystique, Magneto, Cat Woman, The Joker, Loki – you know the villains that super heroes like Spiderman, Batman, the Avengers or The X-Men fight against.  If you’re a bug fighter, you might think differently, especially after the WHO released their list of the 12 most dangerous superbugs.

Similar to the list of Top Emerging Pathogens that were released by WHO prior to Christmas, the WHO has released a list of superbugs we need to be on the lookout for.  The 12 bacteria listed were chosen based on their level of drug resistance, the number of deaths they cause, the frequency they infect people outside of healthcare facilities and the burden they place on healthcare facilities.  The top 3 offenders, while not as common as other antibiotic resistant organisms (AROs), are incredibly costly to manage and have very high mortality rates. The top 3 offenders include Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Carbapenem-resistant and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae.  These bacteria are most commonly associated with medical devices such as ventilators, catheters and endoscopes.

In the “we need new antibiotics to treat” group the WHO identified Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin-resistance Staphylococcus aureus, Clarithromycin-resistant Helicobacter pylori, Fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter spp., Fluoroquinolone-resistant Salmonellae, Cephalosporin-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Fluoroquinolone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  This group of bacteria are ones that cause infections in healthy people.  According to the CDC, Gonorrhoeae is the 2nd most commonly reported infectious disease with approx. 820,000 new infections reported each year and the majority of those are between 15 and 29 years old with 20 – 24 year olds being the age group with the highest numbers.

The last group include Penicillin-non-susceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae, ampicillin-resistant Haemophilus influenzae and Fluoroquinolone-resistant Shigella spp.  The concern here is that this group is becoming increasingly resistant to available drugs. If we do not start to become more vigilant, the group will creep up higher on the list of priority, particularly if new treatments are not developed.

While our treatment options are limited and certainly concerning if drug companies do not start working on the development of new options, the upside is that science continues to show that antibiotic resistant pathogens are not more resistant to disinfectants than antibiotic sensitive pathogens.  While we may not have treatment options, ensuring that we have a strong infection prevention program that includes a focus on hand hygiene, effective cleaning, and disinfection of environmental surfaces and medical devices, we can minimize the transmission.  The concern of course still exists from a perspective of transmission outside of healthcare facilities, where cleaning and disinfection and/or hand hygiene practices are not as strict.


Bugging Off!

Nicole