Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spread the word about Peanut-Butter - It could save lives!!!!

Seven people have died, hundreds have become sick, and millions more are at risk -- from peanut butter! Coming on the heels of jalapeno, spinach, and pet food recalls, we need to prevent contamination at the source.
King Nut and Parnell's Pride peanut butter, produced in a single Georgia factory, were found to be contaminated with a potentially deadly strain of salmonella and are now being recalled nationwide.
These brands, not sold in supermarkets, are widely used in nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other institutions that care for our most vulnerable family members. The plant also produces a paste used in Keebler peanut butter cookies and more than 100 other popular snacks.
Today, we underfund prevention and then spend millions to try and recall food already distributed across the nation. This makes no sense. We must ensure regular and appropriate inspection of production facilities, and efficient tracking once food has been distributed. This means a major overhaul of the FDA's food safety program.
Tell Congress that we need a major overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration!

Drug-resistant ward bug concern - BBC News

Hospitals need to be vigilant against an emerging drug-resistant bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii, infection control experts have warned.
Like MRSA and Clostridium difficile, the bacterium poses the greatest risk to seriously ill patients.
Rates of resistance to antibiotics that halt the bug currently stand at 30%, Lancet Infectious Diseases reports.
The journal report authors said the infection was a growing public health worry across the world.
Measures in the UK to control MRSA and other "hospital-acquired infections" should also bring down Acinetobacter rates, experts said.
It is important that Trusts remain vigilant in their treatment of this and all healthcare associated infections
A spokeswoman for the Health Protection Agency
Acinetobacter shares many of the "superbug" properties of MRSA and Clostridium difficile, such as survival on surfaces and resistance to disinfectants. This makes it difficult to eradicate from wards once it is there, experts say.
Typically, the bacterium causes bloodstream infections, pneumonia or infection of a wound.
It can be carried on the skin of healthy people and can be passed to patients by poor hand hygiene.
It also survives in dust and on objects such as bedding for months, making rigorous cleaning of wards essential to control its spread.
The strains of Acinetobacter that are resistant to standard treatments can be treated with other antibiotics, however, and the bug does not usually pose a threat to healthy people.
Strict hygiene compliance and more thorough research into drug choice, especially those for multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, are vital to prevent major outbreaks, say the report authors Professor Matthew Falagas and Dr Drosos Karageorgopoulos, of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece.
In the UK, the numbers of Acinetobacter bloodstream infections reported to the Health Protection Agency via its voluntary surveillance scheme increased by 5.4% between 2003 and 2007 to 1,187 reports.
We mustn't be complacent but currently its impact can be geographically constrained
Dr Andrew Berrington, a consultant microbiologist at Sunderland Royal Hospital
But the HPA says this increase could be due to increased awareness and reporting rather than a true rise in infection rates.
A spokeswoman for the Health Protection Agency said: "Acinetobacter can cause problems in those who are already seriously ill with weakened immune systems.
"Although we do see some outbreaks of this infection in the UK, numbers of cases are fortunately small.
"Transmission of this infection can be reduced by careful attention to infection control procedures such as cohort nursing groups, hand hygiene and environmental cleaning. It is important that trusts remain vigilant in their treatment of this and all healthcare associated infections."
She said the HPA had no plans to make the reporting of cases mandatory, largely because it is not deemed to be as great a threat as the notifiable hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA and C.difficile.
Professor Richard James, director of the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections at Nottingham University, said: "If we could overnight solve the problems of hospital infections caused by C.difficile and MRSA then there are other potential superbugs like Acinetobacter baumannii lying in wait.
"Hospitals are full of sick patients and very fit bacteria that will spread from patient to patient unless infection control measures are up to the challenge.
"Acinetobacter baumannii, multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extremely drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are examples of new threats to public health that are already causing serious problems in other countries."
Dr Andrew Berrington, a consultant microbiologist at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said there was little evidence to suggest outbreaks of Acinetobacter were becoming more common in the UK.
"We mustn't be complacent but currently its impact can be geographically constrained - some hospitals struggle to control outbreaks, others see very little of it."

Ohio hospital infection rates -----Will be public information.

Your right to learn infection rates at Ohio hospitals survives bid to stop it in Harlan Spector/Plain Dealer Reporter
Friday December 19, 2008, 12:51 PM
Ohio hospitals will be required to report infection information to consumers, despite an attempt by the Ohio Hospital Association to stop it.
The hospital group had tried to push through legislation that would curtail recommendations for public reporting of patient care. The Hospital Measures Advisory Council, created by a 2006 law, recommended hospitals disclose common infections, and whether facilities are vigilant about hand-washing and other practices that reduce infection risk. Earlier this month, Springboro Republican Rep. Shannon Jones introduced an amendment that would invalidate much of the council's work. The amendment, attached to an unrelated Senate bill, passed in the House Health Committee. But both the House and the Senate struck it this week after the Ohio health director and others complained that it undermined efforts to inform Ohio consumers.
The advisory council spent 13 months on the reporting requirements, which are groundbreaking for Ohio. Hospitals everywhere face growing demand for accountability of their clinical care and infection rates. Under the plan, hospitals will report on a consumer Web site data on surgical wound infections, antibiotic-resistant staph and clostridium difficile (C. diff), a type of intestinal infection that has risen sharply in recent years. "I am thrilled the work of the Hospital Measures Advisory Council can continue unhampered," Ohio Health Director Dr. Alvin Jackson said in a prepared statement Thursday. The reporting measures "truly provide Ohioans with the information they want and need to make an informed decision on where to receive care," he said. Reporting is expected to start in 2009 and be available on the Web starting in January 2010, the health department said. It first goes through a health department rule-making process. A hospital association spokeswoman said the group is looking forward to working with the health department and advisory panel. Officials said some minor changes the hospital group sought were maintained in the legislation. But the controversial elements are gone, said state Sen. Kirk Schuring, a Canton Republican and member of the advisory panel. The attempt to thwart the reporting measures "violated the integrity of the good work of the Hospital Measures Advisory Council," he said.