August 9, 2016
By Amesh Adalja In the runup to the Olympics, many people considered Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the epicenter of the current Zika virus outbreak. Zika has already affected thousands of Americans because of ordinary travel from areas in which the main vector causing the outbreak, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, harbors the virus. Some have warned that the Olympic Games should be avoided because the mass travel associated with the event will serve as a catalyst for Zika's proliferation in the United States.
July 22, 2016
By Marc P. Weingarten It seems all too obvious today, 40 years after the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Philadelphia that led to the discovery of the eponymous Legionella bacteria. We've learned Legionnaires' is transmitted when a person breathes in aerosolized water containing the bacteria. We've learned the bacteria can grow in whirlpool spas, misting equipment, cooling towers, showers, decorative fountains, and other places where water is circulated. And we've learned that people with compromised pulmonary systems - the elderly, smokers, and individuals with weakened immunological systems due to cancer or diabetes - are especially at risk.
May 7, 2016 |
The Food and Drug Administration has dropped a recall of about 2,800 scope-cleaning machines in use at hospitals and clinics nationwide despite a finding by a top agency scientist last year that the action was "necessary to protect public health. " The FDA had ordered the equipment off the market in November because it said that Custom Ultrasonics of Ivyland, Bucks County, had repeatedly violated federal safety laws and that those lapses could raise the risk of infection for patients.
February 17, 2016 |
Norovirus is what caused more than 12 percent of Ursinus College's student body to get sick last week, officials said Monday. Test results confirmed the highly contagious virus as the culprit behind the stomach illness that swept across the Collegeville campus, sickening at least 214 students, plus faculty and staff, since last Tuesday. "This is the agent we have suspected since this outbreak began," said Montgomery County Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh, a physician and interim medical director of the county health department.
February 16, 2016 |
Ten more Ursinus College students reported symptoms of a stomach virus this weekend, bringing the total number of reports since Tuesday night to around 200, or 12 percent of the student population, a college official said Sunday. The small liberal arts college is still working with health officials to determine if the cause of the outbreak is food-borne or person-to-person contact. Tests of affected students could take up to a week. In a new program called called JeffConnect On-Demand Virtual Care, Jefferson University Hospital is now offering Ursinus students free video consultations with emergency care doctors through Feb. 29. University officials are encouraging students to use the Virtual Care program if they have similar symptoms to those reported in the outbreak - including diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain - which can help them know if they should seek immediate care or wait out the symptoms.
February 10, 2016 |
Over the past three weeks in Colombia, which has the second-highest number of Zika infections in the world, Philadelphia Ob/Gyn Jack Ludmir noticed something interesting: No fear. "I haven't seen, 'Oh, my God! I'm not going to go in there' because of that [Zika-infected] patient," said Ludmir, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital, who has been working to improve health care in Colombia for 16 years. "That strikes me the most. " There have been other surprises, too, in a nation where more than 3,100 pregnant women are infected with Zika.
July 2, 2015 |
Trees and wires came down in parts of Chester County, and a gust of 64 m.p.h. was measured in Montgomery County as a fresh batch of strong thunderstorms rumbled through parts of the region on Tuesday. However, so far they have lacked the ferocity and staying power of last week's. PECO hasn't reported any big problems -- Chester County was reporting only about 120 outages -- and the storms mostly have spared South Jersey, which is still recovering from the horrific outbreak of June 23. Still, a severe-thunderstorm watch for possible high winds and hail remains in effect until 8 p.m. for most of the region, as is a flood advisory for Philadelphia; all of Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties, and a slice of Bucks County.
March 25, 2015 |
AN OUTBREAK OF infection in the past two weeks has closed the Pennsylvania SPCA adoption center on Erie Avenue near B Street in North Philadelphia. The upper-respiratory infection is not yet identified, according to PSPCA communications director Liz Romaine. It appears to affect dogs, but not cats or humans. Quarantine measures have been put into place. The illness was noticed March 12, leading to a shutdown of the entire building for disinfection, said Romaine. The wellness-and-grooming area was reopened the next day, and the surgery room was reopened March 14. Those areas are sealed off from the adoption and kennel areas, she said.
March 6, 2015 |
A model of endoscope that has been linked to outbreaks of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria at hospitals in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and elsewhere was on the market for years without clearance, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. The device in question is a hard-to-clean type of duodenoscope marketed since 2010 by Olympus Corp., which has its U.S. headquarters in the Lehigh Valley. Also Wednesday, a second Los Angeles hospital reported that four patients had tested positive for this type of "superbug" bacteria after being treated with a duodenoscope.
February 4, 2015 |
Three sets of parents called Sue Kressly's pediatric practice in Bucks County over the weekend with the same extraordinary question: Their children were not yet one year old, the minimum age to receive the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. Could they get the MMR earlier? "I think it's a great sign," said Kressly, Pennsylvania chapter president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "The conversation is changing from whether vaccines can do harm to one about how vaccines can protect you. " For years, pediatricians have been trying to persuade some parents that vaccines protect against diseases that are no longer commonly seen.