Imagine a group of hikers setting out on a 100-mile trek through a remote forest, each taking their own path and traveling alone. Each carries a backpack with supplies necessary for survival such as water, food, tent, and first aid kit. However, a few of them also carry a survival handbook with instructions on how to survive in the wild during life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, this book is extremely heavy, adding 50 lbs the backpack. Who will arrive at the destination?
"Superbugs," or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, have been in the news a lot lately. These types of bacteria can cause infections that are very difficult to treat since they are not killed by conventional antibiotics. While most of them can be eradicated, it requires very powerful (and costly) antibiotics. And most terrifying, we play a role in creating these superbugs. To see how, we first need to understand how bacteria reproduce and how they adapt (and share that adaptation to their surrounding buddies).
In hospitals across the nation, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitors are used to test surfaces for the presence of biological contamination. Armed with a swab and a hand-held device, anyone from an Infection Preventionist to an Environmental Services employee can easily sample a surface and quickly get feedback on the presence of organic matter. What many of these thousands of users may not realize, however, is that their ATP monitor works thanks to summer’s favorite insect, the firefly.
A seismic shift in human civilization occurred when we learned how to plant and harvest our own food. The advent of agriculture meant access to more plentiful and more reliable food than a hunter-gatherer lifestyle could ever provide. However, as any amateur gardener knows, agriculture also means your whole crop is ready at around the same time. In order to make a crop full of produce last longer, people needed to discover ways to keep their harvest from going bad. Meat could be salted or smoked, fruit could be dried or cooked, but for everything else, there was fermentation. And for fermentation, you need microbiology's Odd Couple.
While prevention is always the goal when it comes to a hospital-acquired infection, rapid diagnosis is essential to better outcomes. The sooner the physician knows which pathogen is causing the infection, the sooner she can prescribe the correct antibiotic. The sooner the medical team can determine if a patient is cleared of infection, the sooner that patient can be removed from isolation. Unfortunately, traditional diagnosing requires samples from the patient be plated and cultured, a process that can take from 16 hours to several weeks. However, a technology exists that allows pathogens to be identified in just a few hours. Over the course of two posts, we will explore the transformative technology of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, and the impact it is having on hospital infection control.
The community of EOS Surfaces respectfully acknowledges the Chesepioc, Nansemond and other peoples of the Powhatan Tribes as the original stewards of the land, taken by conquest, on which our plant now stands. We thank their descendants for their forbearance and for the opportunity to produce a material that brings protection and healing to so many using a material from the land itself, copper.
Far above the Arctic Circle there is a remote Alaskan town known as a hub between ocean and inland shipping with only 3,000 permanent residents. Kotzebue, or Qikiqtagruk to its indigenous Inupiaq peoples, has a long history of serving as a transportation and gathering hub, with inhabitants dating back centuries using the port to trade furs, seal-oil, and fish. Today, this small town is known for more than just being the "Gateway to the Arctic," but also the hometown of the first Alaskan Native to hold a PhD in Microbiology, Dr. Kat Milligan-McClellan. In today's post, we'll learn how her indigenous roots inform her current research into our gut microbiota.
Would it surprise you to hear that about two-thirds of clinical decisions are based on laboratory test information? Yes, medical technologist are a critical high demand staff position in healthcare facilities. Today's post will explore this behind-the-scenes job and its critical role in the fight against hospital acquired infections.
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.
March is Women's History Month, a month set aside to explore and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women while also bringing visibility to issues of gender disparity that could still use improvement. In today's post, we will look at gender disparities in the medical field, with an emphasis on fields in infection control.
Pasteurization. Gram stains. Petri dishes. Bunsen burners. The science world is replete with processes or equipment named for their esteemed inventors. One such invention, Mueller-Hinton agar, is a growth medium critical to susceptibility testing of antibiotics. In today's post, we'll look at one half of the scientific team who co-developed this important medium, Dr. Jane Hinton.