May 27th, 2010 11:15 am ET -
Ali S. Khan
Here is a quick summary of the recent Escherichia coli O145 outbreak associated with Romaine lettuce, and it highlights the amazingly quick FDA actions to prevent additional disease:
• On April 16th, public health authorities recognized an outbreak of bloody diarrhea at a university in Michigan that was later confirmed as being due to E. coli O145. The outbreak was subsequently linked to other similar school-based clusters in Ohio and New York.
• On April 27th, preliminary information linked these illnesses to a common supplier of Romaine lettuce.
• By the next day, April 28th, FDA had determined that the implicated production lots of Romaine lettuce were produced in late March from a single farm and accounted for all of the illnesses. These implicated lots were no longer in commerce, and no recall was necessary.
• Subsequent laboratory investigations of Romaine lettuce showed at least intermittent contamination on later production days from the processor and triggered preemptive recalls of first a single contaminated lot and then all production from the implicated farm. No illness has been associated with these later lots of recalled lettuce.
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May 19th, 2010 9:37 am ET -
A mother waits while vaccine is drawn for her child at a field clinic in Ghana.
Note: This is Ted’s final posting about his experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010. He returned home on May 1.
VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — Ghana is broken into a number of regions, and I was deployed to three of them. After a brief introductory period in Accra (the capital), I left for Takoradi and the Western Region. There I headed north along the Cote D’Ivoire border, where I spent the next month. I then returned to the Greater Accra Region for a month and then finished my time in the field in Volta, along the Togo border.
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May 17th, 2010 2:43 pm ET -
This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.
Note: This is the second in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010.
VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — During my time here in Ghana, I’ve met some wonderful public health people who are earnestly trying to make a difference. Outside of Accra, the things we take for granted are often missing. In many clinics, there is no electricity, running water, or physicians. The clinics are run by a nurse or midwife, and they generally live on site and are available 24/7 for all the community’s medical needs. They have a large book of protocols, and when people come in, they make a diagnosis, refer to their protocols, and then administer treatment. They are very friendly and dedicated staff and work under what most of us would describe as unacceptable circumstances.
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May 14th, 2010 4:21 pm ET -
Ted Pestorius squeezes a liquid capsule of vitamin A supplement to a child during a National Immunization Day in Ghana. Vitamin A helps prevent blindness.
Note: This is the first in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana during February, March, and April 2010.
VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — It’s been a good trip. I’m at the end of my 12 weeks volunteering with WHO in Ghana as a Field Officer for a STOP Team — Stop the Transmission of Polio. As a member of team number 33, I’m one of the thousands of STOP volunteers who have participated since polio eradication began in 1988 and have been traveling from clinic to clinic across the country to review and improve their childhood immunization practices. While our emphasis is on polio, we pull records and review impact for all nine of the childhood vaccines used here in the country.
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May 7th, 2010 1:46 pm ET -
Ebola often captures the interest of students who are preparing projects and reports. But I’ve found that rarely does it prompt someone to then raise funds on behalf of Ebola research. However, this is exactly what Ashely Enoch decided to do.
For her senior project at Soap Lake Middle and High School in Washington, Ashely held a bake sale. Her intention was to help raise money that could be used to research a potential cure for Ebola.
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May 4th, 2010 12:56 pm ET -
Ali S. Khan
Most of us don’t stop to think about the importance of a safe and reliable water supply, but imagine what life would be like if drinking tap water meant putting yourself at risk for a serious (or even deadly) illness – or if the tap was dry.
National Drinking Water Week, sponsored by the American Water Works Association, is an annual observance that takes place this year May 2–8. The theme of the week, “Only Tap Water Delivers,” is a reminder of the many public health benefits provided by our tap water and the need to make sure that we maintain and improve our water system infrastructure so we can continue to enjoy safe water.
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