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lunes, 29 de febrero de 2016

Quantification of Influenza Virus RNA in Aerosols in Patient Rooms

Background: The potential for human influenza viruses to spread through fine particle aerosols remains controversial. The objective of our study was to determine whether influenza viruses could be detected in fine particles in hospital rooms.
Methods and Findings: We sampled the air in 2-bed patient isolation rooms for four hours, placing cyclone samplers at heights of 1.5m and 1.0m. We collected ten air samples each in the presence of at least one patient with confirmed influenza A virus infection, and tested the samples by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. We recovered influenza A virus RNA from 5/10 collections (50%); 4/5 were from particles>4 μm, 1/5 from 1–4 μm, and none in particles<1 μm.
Conclusions: Detection of influenza virus RNA in aerosols at low concentrations in patient rooms suggests that healthcare workers and visitors might have frequent exposure to airborne influenza virus in proximity to infected patients. A limitation of our study was the small sample size. Further studies should be done to quantify the concentration of viable influenza virus in healthcare settings, and factors affecting the detection of influenza viruses in fine particles in the air.

REFERENCE:
Leung, Nancy H. L. et al. “Quantification of Influenza Virus RNA in Aerosols in Patient Rooms.” Ed. Andrew Pekosz. PLoS ONE 11.2 (2016): e0148669. PMC. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

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lunes, 22 de febrero de 2016

Respirator masks protect health but impact performance


Respiratory protective masks are used whenever it is too costly or impractical to remove airborne contamination from the atmosphere. Respirators are used in a wide range of occupations, form the military to medicine. Respirators have been found to interfere with many physiological and psychological aspects of task performance at levels from resting to maximum exertion. Many of these limitations have been investigated in order to determine quantitatively how much performance decrement can be expected from different levels of respirator properties. The entire system, including respirator and wearer interactions, must be considered when evaluating wearer performances. This information can help respirator designers to determine trade-offs or managers to plan to compensate for reduced productivity of wearers.

REFERENCE:
Johnson AT. Respirator masks protect health but impact performance: a review.  J Biol Eng. 2016 Feb 9;10:4. doi: 10.1186/s13036-016-0025-4. eCollection 2016. Review.

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viernes, 19 de febrero de 2016

Hospital Preparations for Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Patients #Ebola

The Major Incident Hospital of the University Medical Centre of Utrecht has a longstanding history of preparing for the management of highly pathogenic and infectious organisms. An assessment of the hospital’s preparations for an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever and its experience during admission of a patient with Ebola virus disease showed that the use of the buddy system, frequent training, and information sessions for staff and their relatives greatly increased the sense of safety and motivation among staff. Differing procedures among ambulance services limited the number of services used for transporting patients. Waste management was the greatest concern, and destruction of waste had to be outsourced. The admission of an Ebola patient proceeded without incident but led to considerable demands on staff. The maximum time allowed for wearing personal protective equipment was 45 minutes to ensure safety, and an additional 20 minutes was needed for recovery.

REFERENCE:
Haverkort JJ, et al.  Hospital Preparations for Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Patients and Experience Gained from Admission of an Ebola Patient. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Feb;22(2):184-91.
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lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

Outbreak of Exanthematous Illness Associated with Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue Viruses, Salvador, Brazil

Zika virus (ZIKV) has been recognized as an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus since outbreaks were reported from Yap Island in 2007, French Polynesia in 2013, and Cook Island and New Caledonia in 2014. It has joined dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) as global public health threats. ZIKV infection typically causes a self-limited dengue-like illness characterized by exanthema, low-grade fever, conjunctivitis, and arthralgia, and an increase in rates of Guillain-Barré syndrome have been observed during ZIKV outbreaks. In Brazil, clusters of cases of acute exanthematous illness have been reported from various regions since late 2014, and in April 2015, ZIKV was identified as the etiologic agent. In May 2015, the Brazilian Ministry of Health recognized circulation of ZIKV in Brazil. We report epidemiologic findings for an ongoing outbreak of acute exanthematous illness in the population of Salvador, the third largest city in Brazil.

REFERENCE:
Cardoso, Cristiane W. et al. “Outbreak of Exanthematous Illness Associated with Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue Viruses, Salvador, Brazil.” Emerging Infectious Diseases 21.12 (2015): 2274–2276. PMC. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
Musso, Didier. “Zika Virus Transmission from French Polynesia to Brazil.” Emerging Infectious Diseases 21.10 (2015): 1887. PMC. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

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viernes, 12 de febrero de 2016

#Zika Virus Associated with Microcephaly

A widespread epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection was reported in 2015 in South and Central America and the Caribbean. A major concern associated with this infection is the apparent increased incidence of microcephaly in fetuses born to mothers infected with ZIKV. In this report, we describe the case of an expectant mother who had a febrile illness with rash at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy while she was living in Brazil. Ultrasonography performed at 29 weeks of gestation revealed microcephaly with calcifications in the fetal brain and placenta. After the mother requested termination of the pregnancy, a fetal autopsy was performed. Micrencephaly (an abnormally small brain) was observed, with almost complete agyria, hydrocephalus, and multifocal dystrophic calcifications in the cortex and subcortical white matter, with associated cortical displacement and mild focal inflammation. ZIKV was found in the fetal brain tissue on reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with consistent findings on electron microscopy. The complete genome of ZIKV was recovered from the fetal brain.

REFERENCE:


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jueves, 11 de febrero de 2016

Evidence of #Zika Virus Infection in Brain and Placental Tissues — Brazil, 2015

NPR AUDIO: Zika in Brasil
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that is related to dengue virus and transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, with humans acting as the principal amplifying host during outbreaks. Zika virus was first reported in Brazil in May 2015. By February 9, 2016, local transmission of infection had been reported in 26 countries or territories in the Americas. Infection is usually asymptomatic, and, when symptoms are present, typically results in mild and self-limited illness with symptoms including fever, rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis. However, a surge in the number of children born with microcephaly was noted in regions of Brazil with a high prevalence of suspected Zika virus disease cases. More than 4,700 suspected cases of microcephaly were reported from mid-2015 through January 2016, although additional investigations might eventually result in a revised lower number. In response, the Brazil Ministry of Health established a task force to further investigate possible connections between the virus and brain anomalies in infants.

REFERENCE:
Martines RB, Bhatnagar J, Keating MK, et al. Notes from the Field: Evidence of Zika Virus Infection in Brain and Placental Tissues from Two Congenitally Infected Newborns and Two Fetal Losses — Brazil, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65(Early Release):1–2.
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miércoles, 10 de febrero de 2016

Biosafety Test for Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria

Plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) colonize plants and enhance their growth by different mechanisms. Some of these microorganisms may represent a potential threat to human, animal or plant health; however, their use might be approved in parts of Europe if they have been recommended as plant growth enhancers. The current regulatory framework has resulted in a fragmented, contradictory system, and there is an urgent need to establish harmonized protocols for the predictability, efficiency, consistency and especially the safety of PGPB for human and animal health and for the environment. In response to current efforts to update biosafety policies and provide alternative methods to replace the use of vertebrate animals, we propose a panel of tests and an evaluation system to reliably determine the biosafety of bacterial strains used as PGPB. Based on the results of different tests, we propose a scoring system to evaluate the safety of candidates for PGPB within the limitations of the assays used.

REFERENCE:
Vílchez JI, et al. Biosafety Test for Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria: Proposed Environmental and Human Safety Index (EHSI) Protocol. Front Microbiol. 2016 Jan 7;6:1514.

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viernes, 5 de febrero de 2016

Safe transportation of biomedical waste in a health care institution

INTRODUCTION: The chances of health care waste (Biomedical waste) coming in contact with the health care workers, patients, visitors, sanitary workers, waste handlers, public, rag pickers and animals during transportation are high.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted over a period of seven months (April 2013-October 2013) in a 500-bedded hospital where the average quantum of biomedical waste is 0.8 kg/bed/day. The issues related to transportation of health care waste from 39 generation sites to the health care waste storage site inside the hospital (intramural transfer) were addressed and analysed in a predesigned proforma.
RESULTS: The biomedical waste management team inspected the generation sites in the hospital on a daily basis and conformance to the procedures was checked. It was found that waste was collected at scheduled timings in 99.6% occasions; however, compliance to wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) was poor and ranged from 1.22-1.84%.
CONCLUSION: Transportation of health care waste is a crucial step in its management. Regular training program for all the sections of health care workers with special emphasis on waste handlers is needed.

REFERENCE:
Kumar A, Duggal S, Gur R, Rongpharpi SR, Sagar S, Rani M, Dhayal D, Khanijo CM. Safe transportation of biomedical waste in a health care institution. Indian J Med Microbiol. 2015 Jul-Sep;33(3):383-6.
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jueves, 4 de febrero de 2016

miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2016

What next for gain-of-function research in Europe?

A working group on gain-of-function research set up by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) has emphasised the importance of ensuring that the necessary safeguards and policies are in place.

REFERENCE:
Fears R, Ter Meulen V. What next for gain-of-function research in Europe?  Elife. 2015 Dec 30;4. pii: e13035. doi: 10.7554/eLife.13035.

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