The Pathogens That Made History: Consumption, Part 2

by Erica Mitchell | April 20 2022

In last week's post, we described a pervasive disease that so affected the global population that it found its way into visual, musical, and literary works of art for centuries. What was this horrible disease?


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Fast-Tracking Medical Innovations: 5 Things To Expect

by Erica Mitchell | April 18 2022

In healthcare, we want fast innovation and instant implementation - but we also want our safety to be assured, and for our care to make sense financially. Sometimes it takes a national crisis to see just what is possible when it comes to moving quickly and safely toward medical solutions. The COVID pandemic, for example, helped us see the advantages of fast-tracking scientific innovation (a vaccine), but also showed us disadvantages (vaccine mistrust). In today's post, we'll explore 5 things to expect when trying to accelerate medical innovation, and in a future post, we will see how this national model of implementation and integration can be applied at the individual medical facility level, specifically, to infection control and prevention.

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The Pathogens That Made History: Consumption, Part 1

by Erica Mitchell | April 13 2022

Before we knew about germ theory and the microorganisms that caused disease, the illnesses that afflicted millions were mysteries. They acquired names that described their symptoms, their effect on behavior, or on the sheer numbers of people they killed. Without knowing anything about causes, treatment, or prevention, our ancestors feared “the wasting disease,” saw friends and relatives fall victim to “bilious fever,” and cared for loved ones stricken with “child bed fever,” “yellow jacket,” or “dysentery.”

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8 Ways to Gain Momentum: From COVID to HAIs

by Erica Mitchell | April 9 2022

We all experienced a huge learning curve thanks to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The general public learned about infection control, sanitation, and PPE. Medical professionals learned about transmission rates, symptoms, treatment plans and pharmaceutical interventions. We need to ride this wave of intense learning into the "next normal," living and working in a world which still has hospital-associated infections that will continue to claim the lives of patients if we don't stop them. Here are 8 ways we can make sure we don't lose momentum as we move into the future.

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National Pet Day: Pets and Pathogens

by Erica Mitchell | April 6 2022

April 11th is National Pet Day! Let's take a moment to focus on the intersection between infection and household pets. There are many sides to this issue: The health of the pet owners, the health of the pets, and the overall household environment. Today we will explore some important information and tips to help everyone stay safe and healthy.

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Density, Diversity, and Design... and Disease?

by Erica Mitchell | April 1 2022

What do you need to have a successful transit system? Dense city centers, mixed land use with retail and residential, and attractive and easy to navigate layouts. These principles were proposed in 1997 by researchers Cervero and Kockelman as Density, Diversity, and Design. What do you do, however, when 2:3 of the most important elements of a successful transit system not only help people get around but also viruses and other transmissible diseases? In today's post, we will explore how adding an element of infection prevention into the design principle can help transit systems, and their riders, remain healthy.

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Hygieia: Protector of the Infection Preventionist

by Erica Mitchell | March 30 2022

If those of us involved in the world of infection control and prevention lived in Ancient Greece, we would have surely found a home in the followers of Hygieia, the mythical goddess of cleanliness and sanitation and the origin of the word hygiene. While her sisters were worrying about healing, recuperation, and remedy, Hygieia was working to prevent illness by cleaning and advocating sanitary practices. (Sound familiar?) In today's post, the last in our series recognizing Women's History Month, we'll take a look at this figure, what she represented, and what she can teach us about the origins of the field of infection prevention.

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Wastewater Sampling and Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | March 27 2022

Wastewater and infection have a long and sordid history. Ever since humans began living in close, permanent quarters, we have had to deal with the issue of removing human waste and dirty water. We dumped waste into rivers, and when that wasn't sufficient, we invented plumbing and sewer systems. The discovery of the role pathogens play in the spread of disease led to even better sequestration of contaminated waste, which led to better community health overall. Today, we will look at the role this wastewater plays not in disease transmission, but rather, in disease surveillance and eradication.

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Microbiology's ACE: Alice Catherine Evans

by Erica Mitchell | March 23 2022

In today's post, we take a look back into the history of microbiology in our continued celebration of Women's History Month. The field of bacteriology started to pick up steam at the beginning of the 1900s, well before the time when women started receiving the same educational opportunities as their male peers. Nonetheless, one of the leaders of the field was Alice Catherine Evans, a researcher who overcame professional and cultural bias while making breakthrough discoveries that saved countless lives.

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Infection Control and Biophillic Design: Can Both Be Achieved?

by Erica Mitchell | March 19 2022

Anyone familiar with hospitals knows that design impacts operations. How people - both healthcare workers and patients - move through the space affects how well they can do their jobs, how quickly patients can receive treatments, and how visitors can know where to go. More specifically, there are two areas of hospital design that can impact patient outcomes. Spaces can be designed to reduce exposure to dangerous pathogens which could lead to hospital associated infections (HAIs) and spaces can be designed to bring nature inside in order to help the healing process. Both design goals are important, trending issues in design. But can a designer meet the needs of both infection control and biophillic design at the same time?

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