Is the New Anti-HIV Vaginal Ring Working?

hiv ring 2Are you aware of the huge advances scientists have made in preventing the spread of HIV? Somewhere in past the two decades since Magic Johnson bravely stepped forward to announce he had HIV in 1991 to the present day, scientists have developed miraculous advances in anti-HIV drugs. One such advance is the development of a vaginal ring containing dapivirine.

The non-profit International Partnership for Microbicides in 2012 developed a silicone ring similar to the contraceptive birth control rings already on the market for women in the United States. While this ring does not prevent pregnancy it does contain dapivirine, a known effective anti-HIV drug. The ring is designed to slowly deposit the dapivirine into the woman’s vaginal tissue. Dapivirine are non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) that prevent the HIV disease from duplicating itself and growing inside the body. Continue reading

India’s Superbug Killing Thousands of Newborn Babies

baabyIn the last year, 58,000 newborn babies died of bacterial infections in India. Infants that acquire bacterial infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis are treated with antibiotics in India, but these antibiotics are no longer working. Indian pediatricians are scrambling to find ways to keep their neonatal patients alive. Why are the antibiotics no longer working?

For years the health sector has warned India of the implications their unsanitary conditions would have on their citizens. For these reasons bacterial infections spread rapidly throughout the country. Continue reading

Is Vancomycin Our Only Chance to Fight Against MRSA?

pillsThe overuse of antibiotics in our society has caused a huge problem for us. Germs are figuring out a way to mutate and build up resistance to our antibiotics. Children with simple minor scrapes and cuts are no longer able to heal their bodies naturally against staph infections. Doctors are seeing more and more cases of perfectly healthy children and adults alike being rushed into the hospitals from life threatening methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Penicillin antibiotics once prescribed by doctors to cure staph infections are increasingly not working on their patients. The only drug to seem to work against MRSA is Vancomycin, the medical world’s last resort solution.

What will happen when the germs figure a way out to resistant Vancomycin? Will we be in danger? Continue reading

The Origins of Ebola

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The Ebola virus continues to plague West Africa with the death toll climbing to over 4,000. The countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are desperately trying to contain the virus as more people are falling sick than they have room for in their hospitals. This is the worst virus outbreak thus far and is now a global concern. The world wants to know, what is Ebola? How is this virus spreading and where did this virus originate? Continue reading

Will the Ebola Virus Spread Outside of Africa?

ebolaThe Ebola virus has emerged again in Africa, only this time striking on the Western Coast. The virus is believed to have originated from a two year old boy who lived in the border village of Guéckédou in Guinea. The village lies close to developed roads that bring travelers into Sierra Leone and Liberia. As the virus spread from relatives and friends of the boy’s family it too quickly crossed borders into the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia before health officials were alerted of the outbreak. Today the nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are trying their best to contain this deadly virus, as more cases continue to surface in their nations. As of August 8, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are 1,779 Ebola virus cases with the death toll at 961. With the fatality rate reaching 54%, the rest of the world is concerned the virus will spread out of Africa and into their countries. What would happen if the virus spread outside of Africa? Continue reading

Are College Students Getting Herpes from Playing Beer Pong?

beer pongDid you mysteriously get a cold sore for the first time in your late 20’s or 30’s? Ever wonder how you picked up the mouth herpes without kissing a person who had one? It could be you contradicted the herpes virus years earlier while playing a friendly game of beer pong with your college pals. According to a recent Fox News Mobile segment, doctors warned college Spring Breakers about the hazards playing beer pong could have on their health.

Their guest speaker, Dr. Peterson, advised playing beer pong made it more likely to fall sick to the flu, mono, and the herpes virus. The way the game is played promotes the spread of germs. Why is this the case? Continue reading

Florida Bill Positioned to Make Superbug Reporting Mandatory

reportingHow can the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government health officials track Superbug outbreaks when hospitals are not required to report antibiotic- resistant bacteria outbreaks? The answer is they can’t. The state of Florida took the first step towards correcting this problem. Rep. Janet Adkins took the lead on this initiative by sponsoring a bill which requires the state health department to maintain and report any type of Superbug outbreak that occurs within the state.

Currently, hospitals and long term care facilities are reluctant to report any Superbug outbreaks for fear of bad press and ruined reputations. But this causes unnecessary risks to other patients’ health. Patients who are scheduled for surgeries are now put at risk if there is an outbreak and it is not reported. These patients if given disclosure of the current outbreak could very easily postpone their operations until the threat is over or schedule their appointments at another facility. If the new bill passed, patients would be given this chance to protect their health and avoid contacting a life-threatening Superbug. Continue reading

The Rise of CRE Infections Pose Hugh Threat in Healthcare Facilities

sick personU.S. Hospitals and nursing homes in 41 states have reported the spread of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections amongst their patients since the first case was reported back in 2001. CRE are highly adaptive bacteria that can resist all carbapenem antibiotics including the last resort drugs. What is alarming is there is no cure for these types of infections. With no effective antibiotics to fight off the CRE infections, the CRE is killing its victims.

Already it is estimated that 50% of infected persons do not survive from CRE infections. “From the perspective of drug-resistant organisms, (CRE) is the most serious threat, the most serious challenge we face to patient safety,” says Arjun Srinivasan, associate director for prevention of health care-associated infections at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How do people get CRE infections?
Continue reading

New Inventions Help Reduce Cross Contamination of Bacteria and Viruses

hand signThe Occupational Safety and Heath Administration requires restaurants and hospitals to post visual signs for their employees reminding them all to wash their hands before returning to work. You have probably seen these signs in restrooms and in kitchens stating the message “ALL EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS BEFORE RETURNING BACK TO WORK ”. It should be common sense to sanitize hands regularly when preparing food for customers or before visiting sick patients, right?

STOP RIGHT THERE!

It should be, but unfortunately not all people inherit the common sense gene. As a result of their gross habits, millions of people a year get sick from cross contamination bacteria. How can we get these people to be responsible and sanitize their hands? Companies like Procter & Gamble and Agency of Design have come up with innovative products to do just that. Continue reading

What is Cleaner – Fast Food Ice or Toilet Water?

ice drinkHow many times have you purchased a fountain soda with ice at a fast food restaurant? Fifty times, a hundred times, more than you can count? Now what if I told you that the ice in your soda contained more bacteria than the water found in the toilet at the fast food restaurant. Pretty disgusting information to digest but nevertheless unfortunately found to be true. A little twelve year girl named Jasmine Roberts from southern Florida made this astounding discovery while conducting a science experiment for her science fair project in 2006.

As part of her research Roberts took samples from five different fast food restaurants in southern Florida. After flushing the toilet she gathered samples of the toilet water and ice samples from the ice machine at each establishment. Her research showed that 70 percent of the time, ice from fast food restaurants tested dirtier than toilet water. In some cases, E. coli bacteria was present on ice samples. And where does E. coli bacteria come from? It comes from human feces. Continue reading