Posted in food, Health, news

E. Coli Romaine Lettuce Outbreak Declared “Over” by FDA

The FDA has disclosed a new E. coli romaine lettuce outbreak, that has supposedly ended.

23 people from 12 states have become ill due to this recent outbreak of E. coli. 

No deaths have been reported.

The Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 sickened 23 people and hospitalized 11 between the dates July 12 and September 8th, with cases occurring in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, with the majority of cases in California.

The FDA emphasizes that they believe the outbreak is over.  However many wonder why they this wasn’t disclosed earlier.

The CDC did appear to begin its investigation earlier this Fall, and forward their concerns to the FDA, but jointly the disclosure didn’t come until now.

On their website, the FDA reports the following:
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is sharing news of a recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, involving 23 illnesses, that was likely associated with romaine lettuce. No deaths were reported. The active investigation has reached its end and the outbreak appears to be over. The FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control did not identify actionable information for consumers during this investigation. Additionally, when romaine lettuce was identified as the likely source of the outbreak, the available data at the time indicated that the outbreak was not ongoing and romaine lettuce eaten by sick people was past its shelf life and no longer available for sale. The FDA is communicating details about the outbreak at this time to help ensure full awareness by the public and to highlight the ongoing importance of industry actions to help ensure the safety of leafy greens. Federal health officials do not believe there is a current or ongoing risk to public health.
CDC notified the FDA of this illness cluster in mid-September 2019 and the agency promptly initiated a traceback investigation. The FDA, CDC, along with state and local partners, investigated the illnesses associated with the outbreak. A total of 23 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 12 states: Arizona (3), California (8), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (2), Maryland (1), North Carolina (1), Nevada (1), New York (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2) and South Carolina (1). Eleven people were hospitalized and no deaths were reported. Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 12, 2019 to Sept. 8, 2019. No illnesses were reported after CDC began investigating the outbreak on Sept. 17, 2019.
Investigators were sent to visit farms located in California’s central coast region which were identified through the traceback investigation. They collected and tested many environmental samples, and the outbreak strain was not identified. While romaine lettuce is the likely cause of the outbreak, the investigation did not identify a common source or point where contamination occurred. Since the outbreak strain was not detected in samples collected from farms during the traceback investigation, and there have been no new cases since Sept. 8, 2019, the outbreak appears to be over.
The FDA remains committed to improving the safety of leafy greens and traceability from farm to fork.

Symptoms of E. coli poisoning can occur anywhere from 1-10 days after ingestion.

They include:

  • Nausea
    Vomiting
    Diarrhea, may be bloody
    Fever
    Chills
    Body Aches
    Abdominal Cramps

And if progresses, can cause

  • Shortness of Breath
    Nose bleeds
    Anemia
    Dehydration
    Seizures
    Renal Failure
    Death

Exposure to E. coli may occur from exposure to contaminated foods (from human or animal waste) or undercooked meats.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in food, Health, news

Reusable Water Bottles Harbor Poop Bacteria

A study out of Brazil finds reusable water bottles to be as filthy as a toilet seat.

In this small study, researchers sampled 30 water bottles used by people at the gym and compared them to unused, new water bottles. They found the following:

  • 83% had bacterial contamination
  • 27% contained Staph. aureus
  • 17% contained E. coli

among other contaminants.

STAPHYLOCOCCUS-AUREUS.jpg

Staphlococcus aureus

 

Although Staph. aureus and E. coli occur naturally in human orifices such as the nose and colon respectively, both have been implicated in multiple diseases.

 

E-coli.jpg

E. coli

 

This echos a 2016 study published by Treadmill Reviews which compared straw top to slide top to squeeze top to screw top reusable bottles and found the slide top design to be the worst in contamination.

 

water bottles.jpg

Study author, Dr. Gilmar Weber Senna of the Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro told Runner’s World, 

“We tested in a real-world scenario, by surprise, asking for [bottles of] those who were arriving at the gym at those particular days……. We did this to avoid an intentional over-cleaning.”

Medical experts believe steel, metal or glass bottles may provide better protection against harboring pathogens.  Studies need to determine which water canister is the safest.

For now, clean the bottle out regularly, wash your hands before grabbing it, and watch where you set it……

 

dw sketch.jpg

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, news, travel

How to Avoid Getting Sick When You Fly

Holiday season means it’s the travel season. And winter colds may be merrily jumping around an airplane you’re traveling in.  And not just viruses are lurking, deadly drug resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, have been found to colonize airplane surfaces.  So here’s a list of things you should consider to avoid getting sick when you fly this holiday break:

 Open the air vent and aim it IN FRONT of your face

The air will help blow pathogens away from your respiratory tree.

 

ac-on-a-plane-PLANEAC0817.jpg

 

Don’t sit next to someone who appears sick

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the average passenger does not want to appear rude and will suck it up, literally.  If your flight has you sitting next to a passenger who is coughing up phlegm in your direction and no other seats are available, considering changing flights or cover your nose and mouth with a mask or sweater.

 

plane sick.jpg

 

Wash your hands and avoid touching your face

A recent study from Auburn university found deadly pathogens like E. coli and MRSA to survive for up to 7 days on surfaces surrounding your airplane seat.  Tray tables, arm rests, bathroom doors, drinking fountain buttons and even the air vent button can house bacteria so wash your hands after touching any of these surfaces.

 

Lavatory-Sink.jpg

 

Wipe down your surrounding areas

Antimicrobial wipes can help protect you against nasty bugs on any of the aforementioned surfaces.

tray table.jpg

 

Avoid sitting in aisle seats, especially near the lavatory

People stand in line to use the bathroom and breathe and cough on you while you’re trying to enjoy your movie or nap.  The window seat may be safer.

aisle seat.jpg

Carry-on some of your prescriptions 

Make sure to have half of your medications in your suitcase and half with you in your carry-on in case the flight gets delayed or you lose one of your bags.

Use your own pillow when you sleep

Your body loves your own personal microbiome and airplane pillows may carry germs you don’t wish to keep.  Remember to bring an extra pillowcase so you can change it out before you use it again on the flight back.

Eat a balanced diet prior to travel, and every day for that matter  

Fruits, vegetables, protein, complex carbs and fiber help your immune system.  A strong immune system can help you fight some of the worst of pathogens.

Stay hydrated

We forget to drink water when we travel and moist mucous membranes in our noses and mouths are less likely to pick up bacteria and viruses than dry ones.

Be well rested prior to travel

Conversely, poor sleep will weaken your immune system.

Remember to reach out to your medical provider a few weeks before you travel in case he or she goes on vacation as well.  Any medications that need to be adjusted or refilled should be done prior to travel or you running out.

Safe travels!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in food, Health, news

CDC: Romaine Lettuce May Be Tainted With E. Coli

The CDC issued a general warning this week that Romaine lettuce is not safe to eat.

32 people from 11 states have become ill due to this recent outbreak of E. coli.

The Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 sickened 32 people between the dates October 8-31, 2018 and caused 13 hospitalizations, one of whom went into kidney failure.

No deaths have been reported.

On Tuesday they issued the following tweet:

Outbreak Alert: Do not eat any romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts, chopped, organic and salad mixes with romaine until we learn more. If you don’t know if it’s romaine or can’t confirm the source, don’t eat it.

On their website, the CDC reports the following:

CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the outbreak. This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.

  • Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.
    • This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
    • If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
    • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
  • Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:
    • Talk to your healthcare provider.
    • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
    • Report your illness to the health department.
    • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.
Advice to Clinicians
  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with E. coli O157 infections. Antibiotics are also not recommended for patients in whom E.coli O157 infection is suspected, until diagnostic testing rules out this infection.
  • Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli O157 infections might increase their risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure), and the benefit of antibiotic treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.

Symptoms of E. coli poisoning can occur anywhere from 1-10 days after ingestion.

They include:

  • Nausea
    Vomiting
    Diarrhea, may be bloody
    Fever
    Chills
    Body Aches
    Abdominal Cramps

And if progresses, can cause

  • Shortness of Breath
    Nose bleeds
    Anemia
    Dehydration
    Seizures
    Renal Failure
    Death

Exposure to E. coli may occur from exposure to contaminated foods (from human or animal waste) or undercooked meats.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, news, travel

How to Avoid Getting Sick When You Fly

Holiday season means it’s the travel season. And winter colds may be merrily jumping around an airplane you’re travelling in.  And not just viruses are lurking, deadly drug resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, have been found to colonize airplane surfaces.  So here’s a list of things you should consider to avoid getting sick when you fly this Christmas break:

 Open the air vent and aim it IN FRONT of your face

The air will help blow pathogens away from your respiratory tree.

 

ac-on-a-plane-PLANEAC0817.jpg

Don’t sit next to someone who appears sick

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the average passenger does not want to appear rude and will suck it up, literally.  If your flight has you sitting next to a passenger who is coughing up phlegm in your direction and no other seats are available, considering changing flights or cover your nose and mouth with a mask or sweater.

 

plane sick.jpg

Wash your hands and avoid touching your face

A recent study from Auburn university found deadly pathogens like E. coli and MRSA to survive for up to & DAYS on surfaces surrounding your airplane seat.  Tray tables, arm rests, bathroom doors, drinking fountain buttons and even the air vent button can house bacteria so wash your hands after touching any of these surfaces.

Lavatory-Sink.jpg

 

Wipe down your surrounding areas

Antimicrobial wipes can help protect you against nasty bugs on any of the aforementioned surfaces.

tray table.jpg

 

Avoid sitting in aisle seats, especially near the lavatory

People stand in line to use the bathroom and breathe and cough on you while you’re trying to enjoy your movie or nap.  The window seat may be safer.

aisle seat.jpg

Carry-on some of your prescriptions 

Make sure to have half of your medications in your suitcase and half with you in your carry-on in case the flight gets delayed or you lose one of your bags.

Use your own pillow when you sleep

Your body loves your own personal microbiome and airplane pillows may carry germs you don’t wish to keep.  Remember to bring an extra pillowcase so you can change it out before you use it again on the flight back.

Eat a balanced diet prior to travel, and every day for that matter  

Fruits, vegetables, protein, complex carbs and fiber help your immune system.  A strong immune system can help you fight some of the worst of pathogens.

Stay hydrated

We forget to drink water when we travel and moist mucous membranes in our noses and mouths are less likely to pick up bacteria and viruses than dry ones.

Be well rested prior to travel

Conversely, poor sleep will weaken your immune system.

 

Remember to reach out to your medical provider a few weeks before you travel in case he or she goes on vacation as well.  Any medications that need to be adjusted or refilled should be done prior to travel or you running out.

Safe travels!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

 

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Hugh Hefner Found to Have Died from Drug-Resistant Infection and Cardiac Arrest

Above Image from Source Magazine

 

Its been reported that although Hugh Hefner ultimately died of cardiac arrest, he was additionally battling respiratory failure, a drug resistant E. coli infection and septicemia (blood infection) leading up to his September 27th passing.

TMZ and the LA times reported his Los Angeles Health Department death certificate stated the 6 day-long infection Hefner had been fighting was “highly resistant to antibiotics, unknown etiology,” meaning the origin of the E. coli infection was not known.

hugh-hefner-dead-death-certificate-cardiac-arrest-e-coli.jpg

Each of these conditions can individually cause cardiac arrest, a stopping of the heart, and each can also be deadly in their own right.  Respiratory failure occurs when the lungs can’t meet the oxygen demands of the body.  An E. coli bacterial infection that cannot be controlled with antibiotics can spread to other parts of the body. such as the lungs, causing respiratory failure as well.  If an infection spreads throughout the blood stream, sepsis ensues and a patient can go into shock, ultimately ending in cardiac arrest.

E. coli, can cause mild illness but in older individuals or those with chronic conditions, the severity skyrockets.  Moreover with its increasing resistance, E. coli is becoming a Superbug.

What is a Superbug?

A superbug is a pathogen, most commonly bacteria, that can survive antibiotics that most species would buckle under.  It’s resistance could be caused by a variety of factors.  Maybe it has a mutation that makes it stronger.  Maybe its genetic material shields it from the toxic medicine.  Maybe it’s luck.  So shortly after it celebrates surviving the antibiotic assault, it divides to reproduce, making more bacteria.  If this progeny bacteria maintain the same genetic material as its parent, or if included, mutation, they can be now be resistant to the antibiotics as well.

_68481070_c0131441-e._coli_bacterium,_tem-spl.jpg

Drug resistant E. coli – image from BBC

According to the CDC: Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections

The Playboy founder was laid to rest three days later, in a private ceremony, next to the grave of Marilyn Monroe.

Cooper Hefner, his son and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in a statement, “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.”

Last year rumors surfaced that Hugh Hefner was battling health issues and suffered significant weight loss.  In 1985 he was 58 years old when he suffered a minor stroke.  His daughter Christie subsequently assumed more of a role of the Playboy empire, later becoming CEO.

Even though his doctor stated the stroke was not life threatening, Hefner stated in an interview at that time, “My recovery is total and something of a miracle. What has happened is actually a ‘stroke of luck’ that I fully expect will change the direction of my life.”

He continued his iconic work that began when Playboy empire was launched in 1953.  Rumors circulated in 2011 that Hefner had died of a heart attack, for which he rebutted with, “I’m lying in bed next to Shera with a big smile on my face, reading tweets about my unexpected demise,” as reported by Daily Mail.

This is a developing story.

 

Life Line Screening offers screenings for stroke, heart disease, lung disease, liver and kidney disease, testosterone deficiency, and so much more that can be done in a private setting at the work place for groups of employees.  For more information call 1-888-815-LIFE.

life line

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

Posted in Health, news

Money is Contaminated and Colonized with Multiple Pathogens

For years we’ve been warned that the cash we pass to each other could spread germs.  Bacteria, viruses, fungi and even toxic chemicals, such as BPA, can be found on our money.

This week, scientists from the University of Hong Kong, wanted to see how bacteria colonizing money compared to bacteria in the air, drinking water, and people’s hands.

They collected fifteen $20 bills from 12 hospitals and 3 subways stations and swabbed the money for bacteria. What grew in culture was the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, which is seen in acne and some eye infections.  They also found Acinebacter which can cause infection in those with weakened immune systems.

Additionally they found E.coli and Clostridium difficile, responsible for a many serious infections.

And the money carried more bacteria than the subway air, drinking water and hands of workers.

What was also surprising was that the money from hospitals seemed to carry just as many pathogens as that from the subway, implying outside germs can easily enter a “clean building” Trojan horsing through money.

The researchers cited many of these bacteria carried antibiotic resistant genes.

In 2014 a study performed by researchers at the New York University’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology found over 3000 bacteria to be colonizing american money including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Paper money is not made of paper, but rather a fabric of cotton and linen that has crypts and nooks that allow bacteria to set up shop and colonize.  Coins offer a surface that can stay moist from people’s sweat, thereby allowing an opportunity for pathogens to easily transfer from one’s fingers to a non living object.

panel6-static-img.png

Now the risk of becoming ill from someone handing you money is still rare, but the potential that exists is what’s worrisome as bugs become stronger and more resistant to medications.

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician