Diseases Like West Nile Keep CNAs Busy in 2012

OK, so it’s not just CNAs.  It’s also medical assistants, medical billing and coding professionals and the physicians they all support that are working overtime to address the seeming increase in outbreaks of diseases like West Nile.  The Huffington Post this week that this season’s West Nile outbreak is the worst so far thanks to the warm winter and hot summer which favors the explosion of mosquito populations (which carry and transmit the disease).  However, it is not just West Nile.  This year has seen a resurgence of the Ebola virus on the African continent as well as other illnesses such as the food borne salmonella virus.  Whooping cough also seems to be making something of a resurgence.  It seems likely that a pandemic is not outside the realm of possibility given the nature and number of diseases at work today.  Whether the rise (or resurgence) of these diseases has to do with climate change or anti-innoculation movements, the fact is, medical offices all over are seeing an upswing in patient volume.  This means more work for certified nursing assistants, medical assistants, medical coding and billing staff and all manner of medical professionals.


According to a Reuter’s article, scientists have found Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aurelius in raw milk samples in the US and UK.  The superbug has been growing in prevalence and represents a significant challenge to medicine because it is an infection that, as the name implies, is resistant to antibiotics.  Concurrent to this story is the outbreak of a new strain of E. Coli across Europe.  It would seem to this blogger that both these outbreaks are rooted, at least in part, in the practices of large corporate food producers and the sometimes shoddy agricultural processes in which they engage.  Read these past posts, here, here and here for more information on both MRSA and animal husbandry/food safety.

In Haiti: Its Not Lack of Science, It’s Poverty

On top of the utter destruction wrought upon the island nation of Haiti by this year’s earthquake, a cruel new misfortune is adding to the misery. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Haitians, people whose homes were destroyed in quake, are living in squalid conditions in temporary tent camps. Without adequate access to clean water or sufficient medical supplies, an epidemic of Cholera has broken out. BoingBoing blogger, Maggie Baker explains what Cholera is and does:
“The bug behind this devastation—the bacterium Vibrio cholerae—is a fascinating and frustrating creature. Fascinating, because of its role in the development of epidemiology and what we’re still learning from it. Frustrating, because it ought to be relatively simple to treat and prevent infection. We know what to do to help a cholera victim survive. All it takes is access to clean water and the most basic medical supplies. The trouble here isn’t science, it’s poverty. Cholera is, essentially, the worst food poisoning you can possibly imagine. In fact, it’s related to Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that tends to infect people via undercooked seafood. After you ingest the cholera bacteria, it’ll hang out in your gut for a few days before symptoms kick in. Once they do, though, cholera can kill you within hours. How? I’ll be blunt: Massive, constant diarrhea that drains the body of fluids and electrolytes and leaves victims looking like glassy-eyed, hollow-cheeked corpses before they actually are.”
The problem isn’t that medical science cannot beat cholera.  In fact all that’s needed to beat cholera is clean water and antibiotics.  The problem is poverty – there simply isn’t enough money to ensure clean drinking water and access to simple medical treatment for the Haitian population.  Over the jump is a list of places where you can contribute (even the smallest donation is HUGELY valuable) to saving the lives of people who simply shouldn’t have to die. Continue reading…

Get Your H1N1 Vaccine NOW

h1n1-vaccine Guest Blogger – Zippi Dvash Asst. VP of Public Affairs Long Island College Hospital Young, healthy people don’t get sick very often.  But the flu is different.  In fact, the difference between a little bit of fever and a flu is like the difference between a bird and a gorilla.  This flu, the H1N1 virus, has claimed more young victims than any other in recent memory.  So if you hadn’t considered getting vaccinated before – think again.  Follow me below to read why you ought to vaccinate and where you can get it today.  Continue reading…

McCarthy & Maher – If it Quacks Like a Duck

snake-oil-salesmenThere’s an old expression used to convey the idea that what appears obvious is frequently the truth.  The expression goes, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck”.  Well, this bit of folk wisdom is not to be trusted.  Especially when it comes to the claims of, well, quacks!  That is, purveyors of bogus medical items.  From phony H1N1 “swine flu” cures online, to aisles upon aisles of homeopathic “remedies”, unregulated by the FDA on shelves in pharmacies across the country, people are frequently taken in by sales pitches that seem completely plausible. Continue reading…

One “Flu” Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

syringeI don’t know about you, but I have never been a proponent of the annual flu vaccine. I have always felt that it was really only necessary for the very young and the very old/infirm. But I also know that influenza became pandemic on a faily predictable schedule about once every 30 years or so. And since it has been nearly 40 years since the last pandemic of “Hong Kong” Flu killed 1 million people in 1968-69, I am thinking this year, I ought to at least get my 4 year old innoculated. So I called my pediatrician and they said, “No we don’t have any H1N1 vaccine and no we don’t have any info on when any will be available”. Shocking! Continue reading…

MRSA: A Day at the Beach?

beach_closedA few months ago, I wrote a post about the spread of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic resistant pathogen.  The probable result of over use of penicillin in humans and in factory farm animals, this devastating illness was rarely contracted outside of hospitals.  But alarming and newly released studies show the presence of MRSA on US beaches – in the water and in the sand!  Perhaps a result of offshore dumping of medical waste, this is a disturbing development.  Especially as this blogger prepares to spend a week’s vacation at the beach!  More details on this story and some positive developments too, after the jump. Continue reading…

WHO: Swine Flu Pandemic Official

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that  the Swine Flu has covered enough of the globe to qualify as the first pandemic in over 40 years.  The formal announcement made this Thursday doesn’t mean the flu strain has become any more lethal, just that it has spread beyond any ability to contain it across the globe. Swine flu has afflicted 29,000 people so far across nearly 80 countries worldwide.  Luckily, the strain isn’t hyper-virulent and most folks who contract the illness require conventional medical treatment for their mild symptoms.  The WHO have urged pharmaceutical maufacturers to produce stockpiles of anti-viral medication and governments have been working on developing vaccination programs to protect populations from easy transmission of the virus. Although the first pandemic of the 21st Century seems to be mild by historical standards, the sheer number of people infected across the globe represents a serious burden on healthcare systems and underscores the insatiable demand for healthcare and healthcare support providers in a world with a burgeoning population.