Monthly Archives: February 2014

Another day, another cruise ship Norovirus outbreak

According to CNN Federal health officials are investigating another possible norovirus outbreak aboard a cruise ship that just ended a Caribbean voyage.A CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and an epidemiologist boarded the ship when it arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, February 22 the agency said. The investigators will “conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities.”

The Veendam carried 1,273 passengers and a crew of 575, the CDC said.

Hundreds of people aboard two cruise ships in the Caribbean fell ill with norovirus last month. The CDC reported that norovirus hit more than 600 passengers and crew on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas in January, making it one of the biggest such outbreaks on any cruise ship in the past two decades.

Nano-Shield creates and invisible antimicrobial barrier which does not allow germs to survive or reproduce, on both hard and soft (porous) surfaces. This constant 24/7 antimicrobial action protects against cross contamination and eliminates the main vector for infection.

One fifth of health care facilities lack adequate hand sanitizers- study

Newswise — (NEW YORK, NY, February 27, 2014) – Approximately one in five U.S. health facilities don’t make alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at every point of care, missing a critical opportunity to prevent health care-associated infections, according to new research from Columbia University School of Nursing and the World Health Organization (WHO) published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study, which examined compliance with WHO hand hygiene guidelines in the U.S., also found that only about half of the hospitals, ambulatory care, and long-term care facilities had set aside funds in their budgets for hand hygiene training.

A research team jointly led by Laurie Conway, RN, MS, CIC, PhD student at Columbia Nursing, and Benedetta Allegranzi, MD, lead of the WHO infection control program Clean Care is Safer Care, surveyed compliance with WHO hand hygiene guidelines at a sample of 168 facilities in 42 states and Puerto Rico. Overall, 77.5% of facilities reported that alcohol-based sanitizer was continuously available at every point of care, the study found. About one in ten facilities reported that senior leaders such as the chief executive officer, medical director, and director of nursing didn’t make a clear commitment to support hand hygiene improvement, according to the study.

“When hospitals don’t focus heavily on hand hygiene, that puts patients at unnecessary risk for preventable health care-associated infections,” says Conway. “The tone for compliance with infection control guidelines is set at the highest levels of management, and our study also found that executives aren’t always doing all that they can to send a clear message that preventing infections is a priority.”

Hand hygiene is critical to preventing health care-associated infections, which kill about 100,000 people a year in the U.S. and cost about $33 billion to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for hand hygiene in 2002, and the WHO followed suit in 2009.

“The survey also shows that facilities participating in the WHO global hand hygiene campaign achieved a higher level of progress,” says co-author Prof. Didier Pittet, MD, MS, Director, Infection Control Program and WHO Collaborating Center on Patient Safety, University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland. “While hand hygiene compliance is the responsibility of every health care worker, U.S. health care facilities would certainly benefit from coordinated national and sub-national efforts aimed at hand hygiene improvement. They would also gather innovative ideas and trans-cultural approaches by participating in global efforts such as the WHO campaign.”

The paper is titled: “Status of the implementation of the World Health Organization multimodal hand hygiene strategy in United States of American health care facilities.” Elaine Larson, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for research at Columbia Nursing, also contributed to the study.

Nano-Shield antimicrobial treatment can help mitigate this problem by keeping common touch points free of microbes and cutting down on cross contamination. For an evaluation of your facility call Nano-Concepts at 855-687-0976.

Dangerous germs found on most hospital paperwork/charts

February 26 — A hospital study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE indicates that paper medical charts may carry germs that can cause patient infections, according to The Examiner.

The study covered 681 hospital wards, including medical, surgical, pediatric and obstetric-gynecologic wards, along with corresponding special units like intensive care, the article stated.

According to the article, medical records in general wards tested positive for bacteria 63.5 percent of the time, while a staggering 83.2 percent of special ward charts did.

The study found that contamination was two to four times worse in units such as the ICU, which had a 9.3 percent incidence of contamination with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the article noted.

The study “highlights once again the importance of effective hand washing before and after handling medical charts, entering case notes, touching patients and performing procedures, since effective hand washing is the best way to block the transmission of pathogens,” the article added.

Germ harboring articles called fomites are responsible for 80% of all illness transmission through cross contamination. Nano-Shield protects surfaces from microbes by creating a barrier on which they can not live or reproduce for up to 90 days in most applications. Surfaces such as door handles, counter tops, privacy curtains, and bed rails should be treated in order to reduce this common risk and save lives. For an evaluation of your facility contact Nano-Concepts at 855-687-0976.

 

Bacteria and other microbes lurk everywhere

bacteria_articleYou’re not being paranoid – there are disease-causing bacteria and viruses on just about every surface you touch: at the office, supermarket, gym, even your own home! But if you avoid coming into contact with germy objects and get smart about cleaning, you can reduce your risk of getting the flu virus or something more serious.

For example, the handle of an ordinary supermarket shopping cart could be germier than a Porta-Potty, according to research by Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a germ expert and professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona (UA).

“Most bacteria can live on surfaces for at least a week, and in some cases, up to months. And most viruses can survive on surfaces for hours to days.”

The problems start when these disease-causing bacteria and viruses are transferred from public objects to our skin.

The first point of contact is usually the hands – they initially expose us to germs 86% of the time, according to a 2005 UA study co-written by Gerba. Then, if you rub your eyes or touch your mouth or an open sore, the germs get into your body.

Nano-Shield represents a novel approach in the war on germs. Instead of killing microbes by poisoning them, as liquid disinfectants do, it creates a microscopic barrier on both hard and soft surfaces which kills germs on contact by physically rupturing their cell walls. A Nano-Shield treated surface remains germ resistant, 24/7, for months at a time. A liquid disinfectant treated surface will only remain germ free for minutes before becoming recolonized. Surface testing to determine the degree of contamination of a surface can be done using an ATP meter. To arrange an evaluation and treatment recommendation call Nano-Concepts at 855-687-0976.

Norovirus closes gymnastics facility

 norovirusNorovirus

The Norwalk virus is the best known of the norovirus group, which affect the human gastrointestinal system. Outbreaks of the Norwalk virus usually occur where a large number of people are confined to a relatively small space. Outbreaks can occur anywhere contaminated drinking water or swimming water exist, and are known to affect camps, cruise ships, schools and nursing homes.

A gymnastics facility in Langley, B.C., is closed this weekend after a number of users became ill with what appears to be a Norwalk-like virus.

In a letter sent to the facility’s users and visitors early Saturday morning, the board of the Langley Gymnastics Foundation, whose gym is located at 7888 200th Street, said “in the last 24 hours, a serious gastroenteritis outbreak has occurred at LGF with a strong possibility that it may be Norwalk.”

The Norwalk virus is easily spread, and is the best-known of the norovirus group. It can be passed on up to 48 hours after symptoms disappear.

Nano-Shield is an invisible treatment which creates a durable (90 days or more) barrier which prevents the growth of microbes which can be harmful to surfaces and people. Nano-Shield will protect surfaces from microbial colonization and help prevent dangerous cross contamination.

Are your co-workers making you sick?

Fourth Annual Staples Survey Shows Alarming Increase in Sick People Coming to Work Contagious, Despite Knowing How to Try to Prevent the Flu
Staples offers products, tips to help employers and employees through flu season

FRAMINGHAM, MA — Nearly 90 percent of office workers come to work even when they know they are sick, according to the fourth annual Flu Season Survey from Staples, a leading provider of supplies that help keep offices healthy. The findings show a growing trend when compared to last year’s findings indicating 80 percent of workers  come to work sick, and up from 60 percent in the 2011 Staples survey.

According to the survey, workers acknowledged that staying out three days when sick with the flu was appropriate. The majority of workers, however, stay out of the office for less than two days when sick, putting coworkers’ health and business productivity at risk. The primary reason most respondents cited for returning to work early was not wanting to fall behind on their workload (45 percent).

The survey does demonstrate that workers have a better understanding of flu prevention:
•    49 percent of respondents understand they are contagious with the flu virus for one day before symptoms develop and up to five-to-seven days after becoming sick, an improvement from 38 percent last year.
•    76 percent of workers correctly identified the break room as the least clean spot in the office, a sharp increase from 26 percent last year.
•    57 percent know that flu viruses can live on a hard surface up to three days, a slight increase from last year; however, 66 percent of employees still only clean their desks once a week or less, up from 51 percent last year.

“Flu season poses a big problem for businesses– each year it causes an estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office productivity. It’s critical that both employees and employers take notice and promote healthier habits,” said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. “That can mean arming a workforce with simple products like hand sanitizer to large-scale industrial cleaning products and techniques. Diligence early in the flu season ensures health and productivity throughout the season.”

Facility Managers and Business Service Contractors First Line of Defense

Only seven percent of facility managers (FMs) identified the break room as the germiest place in the office, demonstrating that even an organization’s FM doesn’t always have the correct information. Staples separately surveyed this group to determine challenges faced during flu season.

Similar to last year, there is uncertainty over the role an FM plays in flu prevention in the workplace:
•    43 percent of FMs believe they’re responsible for the health of building occupants during flu season while 40 percent say it is up to the workers themselves.
•    Not even 50 percent of FMs indicated that they ordered critical supplies to help prevent the spread of germs in the office, such as cleaning and disinfecting chemicals.

When asked what would be most helpful for employees to keep in mind to help prevent germs, FMs identified a wide range of preventative measures, from washing hands and not eating at desks, to covering noses/mouths when sneezing and cleaning desks using sanitizing products.

Staples recommends these easy steps to help maintain a healthier work environment:

•    Provide appropriate supplies: Employers can help their employees stay healthy throughout flu season by providing the necessary materials. The top three products respondents indicated they would like their employers to provide are hand sanitizer in common areas (47 percent), hand sanitizing wipes on every desk (42 percent) and touch free restroom features (39 percent).

•    Offer/encourage a telecommuting program: Twenty-one percent of respondents said they come into work sick because they don’t think they could do their work from home. One way to help address employees coming into the office when sick would be to consider implementing a telecommuting program – or encourage the use of an existing program. Of the respondents whose company offers a telecommuting option, more than 50 percent felt inclined to telecommute to avoid sickness during flu season.

•    Log off: While employees admit to coming to work when sick because they don’t want to fall behind on their work, survey results show that productivity drops to under 60 percent of norm when sick. In order to maintain a productive workplace, employers should encourage their employees to take the necessary time to recover when they contract the flu, to protect not only themselves but other workers.

Helpful Resources for Businesses of all Sizes
Staples Advantage, Staples.com and Staples stores offer products and tips to keep businesses of all sizes running smoothly during flu season. Visit http://www.staples.com/fluprevention to view product information, whitepapers, case studies, videos, webinars and other tools to help fend off the damage of flu season.

About the Survey
Staples conducted an online survey of 316 office workers and 132 FMs at organizations of all sizes across the U.S. The survey, conducted in August 2013, asked a series of questions about hygiene in the workplace and flu knowledge.

Nano-Shield creates an antimicrobial barrier on both hard and soft surfaces which helps prevent cross contamination which is the leading cause of sickness

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Who We Are:

We are a distribution/service company with over 20 years experience providing anti-slip and anti-microbial protection solutions for Healthcare, Hospitality, Residential and Corporate Markets nationwide and internationally.

Mission Statement:

Nano-Concepts utilizes the latest science, materials, research, and techniques, to protect the public from threats posed by unsafe surfaces.

We will continue to develop, market, and install protective technology through our international network of partners. We will make unsafe floors slip resistant and protect all surfaces from damage by bacteria, mold, algae and other microbiological threats.

 

nanoconcepts,nano-concepts,nano-grip,nangrip,nano-clean,nanoclean,nano-shield,nanoshield,chemical technology,slip proof,slip protection,anti slip,floor safety,no slip,antimicrobial,germ protection,mold protection,antibacterial,microbiological threat, acoustical ceiling,ceiling cleaning,wall cleaning,clean ceiling,ceiling restoration,nfsi,national floor safety

Bacteria lurks on soft surfaces too

No matter what type of facility you work in, whether it is a hotel, office, school or even a long-term care facility, there are contaminated soft surfaces that need attention.

From carpets and upholstered furniture to mattresses, curtains and bedspreads, soft surfaces, just like all hard surfaces, are potential reservoirs of harmful bacteria that can cause infection.

Thus, the important questions become:

  • What potentially harmful bacteria live on these soft surfaces?
  • How does a cleaner effectively decontaminate them?

What Lives On Soft Surfaces?

Many types of potentially harmful bacteria can survive on soft surfaces including MRSA, VRE and influenza.

Scientific research has shown not only the presence of pathogens on soft surfaces, but also that organisms can persist on soft surfaces for several hours — like the influenza virus1 — to as long as three months for MRSA and VRE on fabrics like polyester.2

Since pathogens can survive for days and months on soft surfaces, it is likely that the surface will be touched while the pathogen is still alive, and therefore it is assumed that soft surfaces can and do play a role in the spread of infection in facilities.

While the presence of microorganisms has been verified, only a few studies have looked at the link to transmission.

However, these studies have shown that bacteria can be transferred to upholstery and fabric cushions, and then back to people.3,4

One study found that after treating hospital MRSA patients, 65 percent of nurses had uniforms contaminated with MRSA.5

In another study, a multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii outbreak was linked back to contaminated hospital privacy curtains.6

Although soft surfaces in healthcare settings are more frequently studied, soft surfaces in other settings should not be ignored.

Facilities that provide areas for close personal contact, such as gyms and schools, and especially day care and long-term care facilities, are ideal environments for the spread of infections and are likely one of the most common sources of infectious diseases.i

People don’t always think about sanitizing all soft surfaces, like upholstery which cannot be laundered, but these surfaces can still contribute to the spread of infection.

Commonly Contaminated

Personal soft items like bed sheets in hotels and some healthcare facilities are likely less of a concern for cross-contamination since they are usually laundered after use.

But materials such as upholstered chairs and sofas in common building areas or mats and pads in gyms and rehab facilities are very rarely, if ever, sanitized and can contribute to the spread of pathogens among customers, patients and staff.

In fact, even infrequently touched items can contribute to the continuous cycle of transmission.

However, the soft surfaces of highest concern are those touched or shared most frequently, such as upholstered furniture.

My research has shown that bacterial concentration is particularly high on waiting room chairs, patient chairs and privacy curtains in long-term care and healthcare facilities.

These surfaces can contribute to cross-contamination and can spread infection from person to person.  

Nano-Shield is an effective antimicrobial for both hard and soft/porous surfaces.

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Who We Are:

We are a distribution/service company with over 20 years experience providing anti-slip and anti-microbial protection solutions for Healthcare, Hospitality, Residential and Corporate Markets nationwide and internationally.

Mission Statement:

Nano-Concepts utilizes the latest science, materials, research, and techniques, to protect the public from threats posed by unsafe surfaces.

We will continue to develop, market, and install protective technology through our international network of partners. We will make unsafe floors slip resistant and protect all surfaces from damage by bacteria, mold, algae and other microbiological threats.

 

nanoconcepts,nano-concepts,nano-grip,nangrip,nano-clean,nanoclean,nano-shield,nanoshield,chemical technology,slip proof,slip protection,anti slip,floor safety,no slip,antimicrobial,germ protection,mold protection,antibacterial,microbiological threat, acoustical ceiling,ceiling cleaning,wall cleaning,clean ceiling,ceiling restoration,nfsi,national floor safety