Category: Outbreak

Soapy is on the COVID-19 fighting map!

It’s an honor to be recognized as one of 80 Israeli startups fighting COVID-19 by Startup Nation Central.

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Coronavirus and Nursing Homes – What Can Be Done?

In the United States alone, there are 5 million senior citizens in nursing homes. In Israel, the population of elderly, aged 65 and over, is growing rapidly. In 2017, the elderly population of Israel crossed the 1-million line, amounting to about 11.6% of the total population.

But what are we doing to protect this layer of the population from the threat of coronavirus and other dangerous infectious diseases? After all, it is the elderly who are in the most vulnerable position to catch these illnesses. 

Some statistics

Probability of dying from coronavirus:

for 60-69 year olds – 3.6%

for 70-79 year olds – 8%

Elderly people aged 80+ are at the greatest risk, for them the probability of dying (in case they catch the Coronavirus) is 22%.

In addition, people with pre existing conditions such as respiratory system diseases, cardiovascular system diseases and diabetes are at a higher risk than healthy people. But it is precisely in old age that these complications are particularly prevalent.

Washington State as an example

At least 273 cases of coronavirus infection and most deaths (30 out of 38) occurred in Washington State. The main metropolis of this state – Seattle and its environs (total population – about 4 million people) became the largest outbreak of coronavirus in US.

19 of those 38 deaths in the state occurred at ‘Life Care Center’ – a nursing home located in Kirkland, a satellite city of Seattle with a population of about 90,000 people.

But why exactly did nursing homes become one of the most active distribution channels for coronavirus?

  • Coronavirus carries an increased danger for the elderly and those whose body is weakened by chronic diseases. There are almost no elderly people without chronic illnesses, so patients in nursing homes are doubly vulnerable.
  • The staff is in very close contact with the elderly. The staff themselves travel from the nursing home to other, less isolated locations where they are exposed to possible infection. Part of the staff, due to poor hand hygiene, will bring the infection to work.

Nursing homes need to adapt to new realities

  • Each staff representative should wash their hands efficiently and at appropriate intervals.
  • We must ensure the greatest possible isolation of the elderly from the outside world, but at the same time, we must give them the opportunity to feel needed and protected.
  • If you want to help and act as a volunteer, contact your local nursing home, social services or community charity organizations to see where you can contribute.

Soapy offers a unique solution for monitoring the hygiene of staff and patients. A smart micro-station for washing hands, which provides the right amount of water and reagents for washing hands and enables washing without touching a faucet. 

Micro-station also helps in ensuring that the hand-washing is performed correctly every time.

 

 
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Calcalist Tech: This Startup Wants to Fight Coronavirus With Soap and Water

Soapy Care develops smart sinks that incorporate computer vision analytics and IoT technologies to help people wash their hands more efficiently

As fears surrounding the coronavirus continue to grow and the number of people forced into home-quarantine rises, Israeli startup Soapy Care Ltd. is aiming to halt the spread of the virus by helping people wash their hands more efficiently.

Founded in 2018 and based in Rehovot in central Israel, smart hygiene startup Soapy Care develops smart sinks that incorporate computer vision analytics and Internet of things (IoT) technologies, Max Simonovsky, the company’s co-founder and CEO said in a Monday interview with Calcalist.

The smart sinks are autonomous and replace traditional sinks, Simonovsky said. Soapy Care’s sinks can be programmed with different settings, including the amount of time the water runs or the precise amount of soap or sanitizer dispensed, in accordance with where the smart sinks are situated, be it at restaurants, hospitals, retirement homes, daycares, or in private homes, Simonovsky said.

While the company suggests using specific types of soaps for better results, their sinks can be used with any standard soap, he said.

The idea for the smart sinks arose a few years ago when Simonovsky’s son, who was two years old at the time, told him he does not think handwashing is important given that some of the sinks at his daycare do not work properly.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the company has dropped its prices for customers in hard-hit areas, such as China and South Korea, to help halt the spread of the virus, he said. The outbreak has led to a mass increase in the demand for Soapy Care’s smart sinks, Simonovsky added.

Soapy Care’s technology can be found at restaurants, factories, and daycares in countries including Israel, the U.S., Angola, and India, he said. The company has raised more than $1 million to date and employs a team of 22 people.

Source: Calcalist Tech

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CNN – The best prevention against the coronavirus is still washing your hands

(CNN)When it comes to novel coronavirus protection, face masks are futile. There isn’t a vaccine yet. So the best way to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus is washing your hands — thoroughly — with soap and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And yes, there’s a right way to wash your hands. It’s something of an art form — a timed, multistep process that can involve some light singing.
Here’s the CDC’s official hand-washing how-to. All you need to follow along is a sink and soap.
Step 1
Wet your hands with clean, running water. Then, turn off the tap and soap up your hands. Soap is more effective at removing germs than water alone.
Step 2
Work the soap into a lather by rubbing your hands together. Lather soap onto the backs of your hands, in between your fingers and under your nails. Lathering causes friction, which strips pesky germs and dirt from the skin. Be sure to get into the nooks and crannies, too — germs lurk there.
Source CNN
Step 3
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Sing or hum “Happy Birthday” twice through to keep time. There’s no magic number, but washing your hands for at least 20 seconds has been shown to remove more microbes than washing for shorter periods does. Singing “Happy Birthday” is just a fun way to make sure you’re scrubbing long enough.
Step 4
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. You’ve lifted the germs from your hands. Clean water flushes them off.
Step 5
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them (or a bit of both). Wet hands easily transfer viruses. Drying them off lessens that risk.
Original publication: link
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Coronavirus – what we know about it and how we can protect ourselves from getting ill?

According to the World Health Organisation Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
According to the World Health Organisation Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
According to the World Health Organisation Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic types of viruses, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Snakes – the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra – might be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this year.
How does the infection pass from one to another?
The virus is transmitted both by airborne droplets and by contact: for example, through the touch of dirty hands to the eyes.
Know the Symptoms
The first signs of infection are dry cough, difficulty breathing, fever, and weakness. In some cases, the disease goes away without pneumonia but is accompanied by a dry cough and a low temperature. In more severe cases, the infection can evolve into pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. The incubation period of coronavirus lasts from 2 to 12 days.
Prevention
Be aware of washing hands and talking less with other people at close range.
Assure to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. It is emphasized that mild symptoms do not mean that a person cannot infect others.
Is it really helpful to wear a respiratory protection mask?
It is recommended to wear masks and assure that you are not touching your nose under it, especially when you shacked hands with somebody before. It is important to change your mask every new day or when you feel it is not clean enough.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that Asia is now celebrating the New Year, which means that many Chinese go to visit relatives.

The virus has spread to a number of Asian countries and has spread to France, USA, Canada and more. See the map below:
#coronavirusoutbreak #coronarovirus #nCoV #outbreak #virus #handswashing #handshygiene
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Jersusalem Shawarma facing backlash after suspected norovirus outbreak at Calgary restaurants

A family-owned chain of Calgary shawarma restaurants is facing backlash after Alberta Health Services revealed a suspected norovirus outbreak linked to their restaurants.
According to AHS, nearly 130 people have registered complaints that they fell ill after eating food from Jerusalem Shawarma.
AHS said Thursday it received its first complaint about Jerusalem Shawarma on Dec. 6.
More complaints were later made by 17 different groups who said they ate food from multiple Jerusalem Shawarma locations from Dec. 4 to 12.
“Please don’t judge us,” Jerusalem Shawarma co-owner Izzo AbuFarha said. “It was just an isolated [incident] in one of our locations, it didn’t happen all over the place.”
AbuFarha and his five brothers own the 10-restaurant chain, which opened in 2013.
He said they’ve has complied with AHS health inspectors, who recommended the restaurant wash common surfaces and the washrooms every 30 minutes.
AHS said they are currently investigating each complaint to verify the claims, with many coming from groups that fell ill after eating catered lunches.
All of the chain’s locations were inspected by AHS, but none of the restaurants were ordered to close.
“Anything that was of concern, like the ready-to-eat food products, have all been discarded — those things have been started from scratch again. There’s been full disinfections at each of the locations, so we’ve ensured that public safety is number one,” AHS Calgary Zone safe food program manager Sarah Nunn said.
“If there was any serious concerns, then absolutely those locations would’ve been closed.”
Following the news of the AHS investigation, AbuFarha said the restaurant has seen a steep decline in business, including multiple cancellations of catering orders.
He said the restaurant has also received racist comments. “This is something we’ve been getting on a daily basis, lots of bad comments, lots of messages, lots of threatening, lots of phone calls to our staff, to our employees,” AbuFarha said.
Faizan Butt, the lawyer representing Jerusalem Shawarma, said the investigation has been blown out of proportion.
According to AHS, the virus is common around this time of year and is extremely contagious. Symptoms of norovirus include severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and can last anywhere from 24 to 60 hours, AHS said.
The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands often and wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
“The biggest thing is it’s out there in the community, and it’s about prevention,” Nunn said. “It’s about making sure that we don’t pass this on to anybody else.”
Nunn said AHS takes every complaint seriously and recommends anybody with concerns to contact AHS or 811 with health questions.​
AbuFarha said his employees are taking AHS’ advice seriously, all in an effort to go on with business as usual.
“We’re seeking the support of our community, we’re seeking the support of Calgarians in making this business get back to normal,” he said.
With files from Global News’ Kaylen Small
Original article: LINK
#Outbreak #Norovirus #Food #AHS #JerusalemShawarma #Canada #Calgary
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A norovirus outbreak shut down an entire Colorado school district right before Thanksgiving

A Colorado school district has closed more than 40 schools after a highly contagious virus outbreak.
It’s the first time the Mesa County Valley School District 51 has had to close all schools due to illness, the district said Wednesday.
“We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly across our schools,”
Nursing Coordinator Tanya Marvin said in the statement.
More than a dozen schools in the state’s 14th largest district reported increased absences “due to illness and several incidences of vomiting in public areas of the schools,” according to the Mesa County Public Health Department.
A second, related virus has also been affecting students in recent weeks, the district said.
“The combination of the two has created an unprecedented spread of illness.”
“Onset of symptoms for both types of viruses, including vomiting, is incredibly fast. The second version also causes fever in several cases,” the district statement said.
The health department says it is working to identify the illness, which is “acting a lot like norovirus” and lasts between 12-24 hours.
Norovirus, sometimes called the “stomach bug,” is easily spread through direct contact, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your hands in your mouth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The very young, older people, and those with other illnesses are most vulnerable to severe dehydration.
The closure includes all after-school activities, the district said, and schools will remained closed until after Thanksgiving break.
Mesa County Valley School District 51 is the largest school district between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Denver, Colorado, the district website says. It serves more than 22,000 students in 46 schools and programs, employing nearly 3,000 employees.
Tips on how to avoid the illness include thoroughly washing hands and staying away from people who are sick.
“When you have norovirus, the very dramatic symptom people have is often violent vomiting that hits you pretty suddenly,” said Amesh Adalja, MD, a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland.
“You have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and it usually lasts 24 to 48 hours,” he told Healthline. “It can be a pretty grueling 24 to 48 hours.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports the virus sickens millions of people each year. The very young, older people, and those with other illnesses are most vulnerable to severe dehydration.
Each year, as many as 71,000 people are hospitalized. Between 500 and 800 die.
Picture: Getty
“What’s very striking about norovirus is that it’s very highly infectious. And if you’re exposed to it, there’s a very high likelihood you could be infected by it, even if you’re in good health,” Adalja said.
Easy to get, hard to shakeExperts say that when someone is sick with norovirus, they have large amounts of the virus in them, although it only takes a little to make you sick.
“We know that people who have the virus shed it in very large numbers in their fecal material. We’re talking millions to billions of virus particles in a gram,” said Lee-Ann Jaykus, PhD, a professor in the department of food, bioprocessing, and nutrition sciences at North Carolina State University.
“It probably doesn’t take more than 100 particles to make you sick,” she told Healthline.
Jaykus says scientists know the virus is passed from person to person. That happens when an infected person doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
The surfaces they touch can become contaminated. If the infected person is a food handler, they can pass the virus onto your food.
They also know that when an infected person vomits, that surface will be contaminated.
But more recently, researchers learned that norovirus may also be transmitted in the air from the repeated vomiting.
“A lot of times this is what we call projectile vomiting, very forceful and severe, literally across the room,” Jaykus explained. “Some of that vomitus gets aerosolized, and it has norovirus in it.”
To study how this happens, Jaykus and a team of researchers actually built a vomiting machine to test how norovirus spreads. The machine simulated human vomiting.
The team used a surrogate virus, which wouldn’t make anybody sick. Then they measured the airborne virus particles.
The scientists publishedTrusted Source the findings of their study in the PLOS One journal in 2015.
“You can detect it. The numbers are not as high as in fecal material, but it’s there,” Jaykus added. “What happens is some of the virus gets aerosolized, people breathe it in. It hits the mucous membranes, goes into the stomach, and the infection process starts.”
And once it starts spreading through a community, the virus is hard to get rid of.
“This particular virus is extraordinarily resistant to the sanitizers and disinfectants that we commonly use at regulated concentrations and contact times,” Jaykus said.
“It’s also incredibly persistent. If I were to put norovirus on a surface in front of me right now, it would probably remain capable of causing infection for a month, maybe more,” she added.
What you can doJaykus notes there’s no norovirus vaccine yet, although some are being developed.
“The real way to protect yourself is to wash your hands a lot. If you see somebody vomiting, go the other way. And if you’re on a cruise ship, tell somebody,” she said.
The CDC Trusted Source has put together some tips to help you keep norovirus from spreading:
1) Practice good handwashing for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer alone won’t do.
2) Wash your fruits and vegetables. Cook seafood thoroughly.If you’re sick, don’t cook or care for others for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover.
3) Clean contaminated surfaces first, then disinfect them. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1,000 to 5,000 ppm (5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach [5.25 percent] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency.
4) Wash your laundry thoroughly.
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How Hand Washing Technique Affects Bacteria Level on Hands

Bloodstream infections (BSI) are one of the most cited complications among hemo-dialysis patients within dialysis units (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). These types of infectious complications, such as peritonitis, often associated with unhygienic technique and exit-siteinfection. Prevention of exit-site location is largely associated with skin-resident microbes. Approximately 42% of peritonitis episodes are known to be associated with touch contamination.
One of the most commonly cited tools to prevent infections is efficient hand washing (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). In 2005, the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis (ISPD) recommended hand washing as a standard care recommendation and procedure to befollowed in dialysis treatment centers.
In a 2013 study, researchers compared the hand washing efficiency of two different techniques for patients undergoing dialysis care: (1) the use of simple hand hygiene followed by antiseptic hand hygiene, and (2) only antiseptic hand washing. Simple hand hygiene followed traditional hand washing techniques, while the antiseptic hand hygiene mechanism included the use of 3 mL of 70% ethyl alcohol as a mechanism. Interestingly, this study found that the number of bacteria found on hands was increased when the mechanism for hand washing included the use of simple hand hygiene in addition to the antiseptic hand washing method in comparison to only antiseptic hand washing.
The results of this study potentially indicate that one of biggest hindrances in achieving bacteria-free hands is the use of improper or ineffective techniques for washing hands. This study indicates that one of the largest obstacles to achieving sufficient hand hygiene likely relies on the ability of patients to accurately and efficiently clean their hands.
References:Center of Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Infection Prevention Tools. U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services. Retrieved from:https://www.cdc.gov/dialysis/prevention-tools/index.html
Figueiredo, A. E., de Siqueira, S. L., Poli-de-Figueiredo, C. E., & d’Avila, D. O. (2013). Hand hygiene in peritoneal dialysis patients: a comparison of two techniques. Peritoneal Dialysis International, 33(6), 655-661.
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Petting zoos a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs, study finds

Petting zoos could be a breeding ground for drug-resistant superbugs after a study found more than one in 10 animals carrying at least one strain of bacteria capable of withstanding multiple important antibiotics.
Israeli researchers collected samples from 228 animals across eight randomly chosen petting zoos, and concluded they were “reservoirs” for microbes that could easily spread from children to vulnerable relatives.
Antibiotic resistance has been dubbed a global health emergency which the UK’s chief medical officer has said could push medicine back to the “dark ages” – when even minor cuts or surgery raised the prospect of lethal infections.
The Ariel University team were looking for bacteria able to inactivate or evade beta-lactam antibiotics, a major group of vital drugs which includes penicillin, cephalosporin and carbapenems.
“Other measures include prohibiting food and drink being consumed near the animals and regular hand-washing stations.”
They found 35 drug-resistant species in all, while 12 per cent of the animals had at least one species of drug-resistant bacteria, and a quarter had two or more.
“Our findings demonstrate that animals in petting zoos can result in shedding and transmission of multi-drug-resistant pathogens that may cause illness for human visitors, even when the animals appear healthy,” said Professor Shiri Navon-Venezia, presenting the research at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Bacteria found included highly infectious strains of drug resistant E coli, which cause diarrhoea if ingested as well and urinary tract infections.
While healthy immune systems can contend with these invaders, they can turn serious in young children and older people, and may also pose risks to women who are pregnant or people whose immune systems are compromised.
“However, another recent study suggested that in hospitals some superbugs are starting to resist even powerful alcohol hand sanitisers.”
Bacteria are also adept at passing on genes to other species, so once they spread into a new environment other species can rapidly develop resistance.
While inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans – such as prescriptions for viral colds where they will have no effect – is part of the issue, overuse of antibiotics in farming is another major problem.
In many countries, antibiotics are used as a growth promoter in meat production and this creates more pressure on bacteria to develop resistance. Antibiotic residues in wastewater also spread this pressure into streams and other environments.
The report found that drug-resistant strains were particularly abundant in animals that had been treated with antibiotics, and said zoo owners should ensure these animals are not allowed to be petted.
“We recognise the high educational and emotional value of petting zoos for children,” Professor Navon-Venezia said. “Therefore, we strongly recommend that petting zoo management teams implement a strict hygiene and infection control policy, together with rationalised antibiotic policy, in order to reduce the risk of transmission between animals and visitors.”
Other measures include prohibiting food and drink being consumed near the animals and regular hand-washing stations. However, another recent study suggested that in hospitals some superbugs are starting to resist even powerful alcohol hand sanitisers.
Full article: link
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Teen dies from tapeworm infection in brain

A man in Indian had numerous tapeworm larvae cysts in his brain, a condition known as neurocysticercosis. Above, MRI images showing cysts in the man’s cerebral cortex (left) and brain stem (right).THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE
When a young man in India started having seizures, doctors scanned his brain and found a grim image: His brain was dotted with parasitic cysts — the result of a severe and ultimately fatal tapeworm infection.
The 18-year-old man was taken to the emergency room after having so-called tonic-clonic seizures, in which a person loses consciousness and experiences violent muscle contractions, according to a new report of the case.
“According to the WHO, preventing infections with Taenia solium will require a wide range of public health interventions, including improving personal hygiene…”
The man appeared confused and had swelling over his right eye. His parents told doctors that he’d also been having pain in his groin for a week. An MRI of his head showed numerous cysts in the outer layer of his brain (known as the cerebral cortex), as well as in his brain stem, according to the report, published today (March 27) in The New England Journal of Medicine. He also had cysts in his right eye and testes. [27 Oddest Medical Case Reports]
The man was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis, a parasitic disease that occurs when a person ingests microscopic eggs from a pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). When the eggs hatch, the larvae can travel throughout the body, including to the brain, muscles, skin and eyes, where they form cysts, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
This tapeworm is common in developing nations, including countries in Latin America, Africa or Asia. Neurocysticercosis is one of the most common causes of seizures around the world.
The illness can be life-threatening and even fatal. The Indian man’s case was particularly severe. The sheer number of cysts in his body meant that he couldn’t be treated with anti-parasitic medications, which in severe cases like these, can worsen inflammation in the brain and eyes, potentially leading to brain swelling and vision loss, the report said.
The man was treated with steroids and anti-epileptic medications, which are standard treatments for the disease. Unfortunately, doctors couldn’t save him, and the man died two weeks later, the report said.
According to the WHO, preventing infections with Taenia solium will require a wide range of public health interventions, including improving sanitation, personal hygiene and food safety, as well as better identification and treatment of patients.
  • 27 Devastating Infectious Diseases
  • 8 Awful Parasite Infections That Will Make Your Skin Crawl
  • 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain
Originally published on Live Science.
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