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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Friday, July 13, 2018

Will pigs be the next reservoir for Ebola?


As some may recall, in 2014 I wrote a blog about Ebola and the outbreak in Guinea. It was a story, if you will, of how my passion and interest in infection prevention came to be. If you happen to read the blog, you’ll see that a reader took my interest in infection prevention and what was happening as not showing respect and having “something wrong with me.”

Ebola is an interest of mine. I do find it fascinating. It’s history. Our attempts to contain the multitude of outbreaks that have occurred and our inability to stop these outbreaks from happening. I read any article that comes across my desk that talks about Ebola and yes, I keep tabs on any outbreaks that are currently happening. You can imagine my interest in coming across an article that indicated there was some evidence that pigs might be able to host the Ebola virus. We know that viruses can't survive in the environment, and in most cases once the dust has settled and an outbreak investigation has wrapped up, we know that some type of animal must be serving as a "reservoir".  When it comes to Ebola, the evidence so far points to fruit bats as the guilty party, but gorillas, chimpanzees, and even antelope may also play a role.
If pigs were to be found to be involved in spreading Ebola, this could be particularly worrisome. It would mean that a common animal, one used as livestock, one that some may even live with, could be spreading Ebola. The research team from the article collected blood samples from 400 pigs in regions of Sierra Leone that had reported human cases of the Ebola virus. Of the 400 pigs tested, three had antibodies in their blood that reacted to Ebola virus proteins meaning that these animals had been infected by the virus at some point and mounted an immune response.  The researchers found that these antibodies were not protective when challenged to the Ebola virus. 
Does this mean that pigs can or will spread Ebola?  This study shows that pigs can be infected with a type of Ebola virus, perhaps not the one causing the large West African epidemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a future possibility.

Bugging Off!
Nicole  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Public Pooping Paranoia


I have a very strong dislike for public bathrooms.  I think it stems from my childhood and my mother’s constant reminders of not to sit or touch the toilet seat and to wash my hands when finished.  This was often followed by “don’t touch the door handle with your clean hands!”  You never quite know when, where and how a child can be traumatized or what long term effects it may have.  As someone who travels and must with some frequency use public rest rooms, every time I enter one I can hear my mom’s voice telling me what to do.  I’m pretty sure I’ve done the same thing to my son.

I think perhaps this is why I was so interested in an article that popped up discussing if germs can in fact be caught from public toilet seats.  First, you may wonder why toilets are of such interest in the first place.  While perhaps a bit personal and a bit TMI - microbes from our gut actually make up 25-54% of our poop.  The other gross truth is that our poop can carry a wide range of infectious pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus, as well as viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus and hepatitis A.  The good news, is that catching something from sitting on the seat of a public toilet is not very likely.  The reason being is that most gastrointestinal diseases are transmitted via the fecal-oral route meaning that “you gotta eat it to get it”.  Hence the reason why my mom was always so adamant about hand washing.

While the seat may not be the crux of the problem, flushing the toilet may be.  I recall reading a study back in 2011 about what happens when we flush the toilet, and wondering how the heck I was ever to get out of the stall unscathed.  According to the researchers when a toilet is flushed, germs found in plume up and settle over quite a wide area – basically everything you can see or find in a toilet stall including the door handle.  My motto is flush and run!

This leads me to wonder how many people use their cell phones while sitting on the toilet.  Cell phones when tested have been found to harbor far more germs than the seat of a public toilet.  Almost as gross of course are the statistics of how many people DO NOT wash their hands after using the “facilities”.  I wonder what the number of non-hand washing, cell phone users there are? Perhaps the next time you “borrow” your friend’s or your spouse’s phone and put it up to your ear and mouth you may want to consider where it has been!

I guess mom had at least two things right.  Wash your hands after using the toilet and for the love of Pete DO NOT touch the door handle on the way out!


Bugging Off!

Nicole