Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What is a Mold Allergy?

As per the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), if you have an allergy that never ends when seasons change, you may be allergic to the spores of molds or other fungi. Molds live everywhere, and disturbing a mold source can disperse the spores into the air.

It is common for people to get mold allergy if they or other family members are allergic to substances such as pollen or animal dander. People may become allergic to only mold or fungi, or they may also have problems with dust mites, pollens and other spores. If you are allergic to only fungi, it is unlikely that you would be bothered by all fungi. The different types of fungi spores have only limited similarities.

For more information on mold allergies, mold, mold allergy symptoms and prevention please see the AAFA Mold Allergy Webpage

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fiberglass Information and Health Hazards As Per NYC

The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides a very useful resource for mold information. Information on this website includes:

What is fiberglass?
How are people exposed to fiberglass?
What are the health effects of fiberglass?
How can workers reduce their exposure to fiberglass?
How can I get more information?

For more information go to fiberglass information website of The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Medline Plus Provides Mold Information and Resources

The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health provide a website Medline Plus. This website has a page devoted to the harzards of mold. the website for mold provides resources, news and links to information on mold health related issues, mold removal and more. For more information visit Medline Plus Mold Information

Thursday, October 29, 2009

FREE Personal Air Purifier Offer!

Free Personal Air Purifier with Purchase of Blueair Air Cleaner - a $50 value! Exclusive Offer! Limited Time Only!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2009 H1N1 Flu: Free Resources

The CDC website has a large amount of free resources concerining the H1N1 Flu. On the webpage entitled 2009 H1N1 Flu: Free Resources are free brochures, flyers, podcasts and other free resources

Monday, October 26, 2009

Are you or a loved one sick and worried you might have H1N1 Flu?

As per flu.gov - During flu season this year, you might have to wait a long time in a crowded waiting room before you can see your doctor or be seen in an Emergency Room. Some people with the flu need to be seen right away. Other people can often take care of themselves at home just fine. This information may help you better understand the flu and what people like you should do.

This information is not a substitute for your doctor's advice. The H1N1 Flu Self-Evaluation was developed in collaboration with the Emory University School of Medicine and is here to help you understand the flu symptoms you or your family member may be having so that you can make your own health decisions.

This information is only for individuals ages 18 and above. You can find additional information on flu and young adults or children at www.flu.gov .

H1N1 Flu Self-Evaluation

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Biological Pollutants in Your Home

What Are Biological Pollutants?

As per the Consumer Product Safety Commission - Biological pollutants are or were living organisms. They promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work or school, and of doctor and hospital visits. Some can even damage surfaces inside and outside your house. Biological pollutants can travel through the air and are often invisible.

Some common indoor biological pollutants are:

  • Animal Dander (minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin)
  • Dust Mite and Cockroach parts
  • Infectious agents (bacteria or viruses)
  • Pollen

Some of these substances are in every home. It is impossible to get rid of them all. Even a spotless home may permit the growth of biological pollutants. Two conditions are essential to support biological growth nutrients and moisture. These conditions can be found in many locations, such as bathrooms, damp or flooded basements, wet appliances (such as humidifiers or air conditioners), and even some carpets and furniture.

Modern materials and construction techniques may reduce the amount of outside air brought into buildings which may result in high moisture levels inside. Using humidifiers, unvented heaters, and air conditioners in our homes has increased the chances of moisture forming on interior surfaces. This encourages the growth of certain biological pollutants.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How severe is illness associated with 2009 H1N1 flu virus?

As per the CDC - Illness with 2009 H1N1 virus has ranged from mild to severe. While most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths from infection with this virus have occurred.

In seasonal flu, certain people are at “high risk” of serious complications. This includes people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions. About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with this 2009 H1N1 virus have had one or more medical conditions previously recognized as placing people at “high risk” of serious seasonal flu-related complications. This includes pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.

Young children are also at high risk of serious complications from 2009 H1N1, just as they are from seasonal flu. And while people 65 and older are the least likely to be infected with 2009 H1N1 flu, if they get sick, they are also at “high risk” of developing serious complications from their illness. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for more information about who is more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death.

CDC laboratory studies have shown that no children and very few adults younger than 60 years old have existing antibody to 2009 H1N1 flu virus; however, about one-third of adults older than 60 may have antibodies against this virus. It is unknown how much, if any, protection may be afforded against 2009 H1N1 flu by any existing antibody.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How can people decrease mold exposure?

As per the CDC

Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by keeping humidity levels between 40% and 60%, and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
  • If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it free by calling the EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at (800) 438-4318, or by going to the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html .
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

H1N1 Pandemic Update by Who

As reported by WHO - As of 11 October 2009, worldwide there have been more than 399232 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 and over 4735 deaths reported to WHO.

As many countries have stopped counting individual cases, particularly of milder illness, the case count is significantly lower than the actually number of cases that have occurred. WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and member states and through monitoring of multiple sources of data.

Influenza activity continues to increase in the northern temperate zones across the world. In North America, the United States is now experiencing nationwide rates of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) well above seasonal baseline rates with high rates of pandemic H1N1 2009 virus detections in clinical laboratory specimens. Canada is reporting increases in ILI rates for the third straight week with some provinces now crossing the baseline. Mexico also reports high intensity and active transmission in some areas of the country. Western Europe and northern Asia are experiencing increased rates of ILI, well above baseline in some countries but activity is generally not as widespread as in North America. Of note, nearly half of the influenza viruses detected in China are seasonal influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which appeared prior to and is co-circulating with pandemic H1N1 2009 virus.

The tropical zones continue to have transmission that is mixed as some countries have now peaked and are declining, while others are experiencing increases. In the tropical region of the Americas, several Caribbean Island nations are now reporting increased rates of illness while Brazil, Costa Rica and other countries on the continent are declining. In South Asia, most countries now report a decline in rates of illness.

Influenza rates in the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere have all returned to below baseline levels and very few detections of pandemic H1N1 2009 virus are being reported.

Three articles of interest published this week in the peer reviewed literature reported three different series of seriously ill pandemic influenza patients in Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. Several important observations were made including:

For complete article visit Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 70

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Swine Flu Contamination and Cleaning CDC Source

As per the CDC - Contamination & Cleaning

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?

Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

What kills influenza virus?

Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.

*What if soap and water are not available and alcohol-based products are not allowed in my facility?
Though the scientific evidence is not as extensive as that on hand washing and alcohol-based sanitizers, other hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may be useful for killing flu germs on hands.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How should waste disposal be handled to prevent the spread of influenza virus?
To prevent the spread of influenza virus, it is recommended that tissues and other disposable items used by an infected person be thrown in the trash. Additionally, persons should wash their hands with soap and water after touching used tissues and similar waste.

What household cleaning should be done to prevent the spread of influenza virus?
To prevent the spread of influenza virus it is important to keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

How should linens, eating utensils and dishes of persons infected with influenza virus be handled?
Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
Linens (such as bed sheets and towels) should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Individuals should avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating themselves. Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry.

Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/qa.htm

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mold Course - Intro to Mold Remediation

Mold Course - Introduction to Mold and Mold Remediation for Environmental and Public Health Professionals.

If you are an environmental and/or public health professional, take the Mold Course - Introduction to Mold and Mold Remediation for Environmental and Public Health Professionals.

This web-only course contains information on mold prevention and remediation. It is designed primarily for environmental and public health professionals. The Mold Course has nine chapters; these chapters are further divided into smaller lessons. At the end of each chapter there is a voluntary quiz to test your understanding of the material covered. Each chapter may be accessed at any point in the course using the menu on the left side of the page. If you would like to take a short quiz on your current mold knowledge, begin with the Pre-Test. A Mold Image Library contains mold-related images in seven categories: mold in the environment; magnified mold; moisture and moisture damage; prevention; mold in buildings; finding mold and moisture; and cleaning and remediation. These photos may be used for presentations and educational purposes without contacting EPA.

Read more about the course

Source: www.epa.gov

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Remodeling Your House? Beware of Lead Based Paint Hazards

Lead has long been recognized as a harmful environmental pollutant. In late 1991, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services called lead the "number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States." There are many ways in which humans are exposed to lead: through air, drinking water, food, contaminated soil, deteriorating paint, and dust. Airborne lead enters the body when an individual breathes or swallows lead particles or dust once it has settled. Before it was known how harmful lead could be, it was used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many other products.

Old lead-based paint is the most significant source of lead exposure in the U.S. today. Most homes built before 1960 contain heavily leaded paint. Some homes built as recently as 1978 may also contain lead paint. This paint could be on window frames, walls, the outside of homes, or other surfaces. Harmful exposures to lead can be created when lead-based paint is improperly removed from surfaces by dry scraping, sanding, or open-flame burning. High concentrations of airborne lead particles in homes can also result from lead dust from outdoor sources, including contaminated soil tracked inside, and use of lead in certain indoor activities such as soldering and stained-glass making.

Health Effects of Exposure to Lead

Lead affects practically all systems within the body. At high levels it can cause convulsions, coma, and even death. Lower levels of lead can adversely affect the brain, central nervous system, blood cells, and kidneys.

The effects of lead exposure on fetuses and young children can be severe. They include delays in physical and mental development, lower IQ levels, shortened attention spans, and increased behavioral problems. Fetuses, infants, and children are more vulnerable to lead exposure than adults since lead is more easily absorbed into growing bodies, and the tissues of small children are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Children may have higher exposures since they are more likely to get lead dust on their hands and then put their fingers or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths.

Get your child tested for lead exposure. To find out where to do this, call your doctor or local health clinic. For more information on health effects, get a copy of the Centers for Disease Control's, Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children (October 1991).

For more information visit: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/homes/hip-lead.html

Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 H1N1 Flu Situation Update

Key Flu Indicators (as per the CDC)
Each week CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in a report called FluView. During the week of August 16-22, 2009, a review of these key indictors found that influenza activity is either stable, or is increasing in some areas. Activity appears to be increasing in the Southeast based on influenza-like illness data reported by health care providers.

A summary of the most recent key indicators can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How You Can Become Exposed to Asbestos?

Before it was known that inhalation of asbestos fibers causes several deadly diseases— including asbestosis, a progressive and often fatal lung disease, and lung and other cancers—asbestos was used in a large number of building materials and other products because of its strength, flame resistance, and insulating properties. Asbestos was used in asbestos-cement pipe and sheeting, floor and roofing felts, dry wall, floor tiles, spray on ceiling coatings, and packing materials. When buildings containing these materials are renovated or torn down, or when the asbestos-containing materials themselves are disturbed, minute asbestos fibers may be released into the air. The fibers are so small that they often cannot be seen with the naked eye; the fact that you can inhale these fibers without knowing it makes asbestos an even more dangerous hazard.

For more information on this, and other health-related issues impacting workers, visit
OSHA’s Web site at www.osha.gov

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Refractory ceramic fibers (CASRN Not found)

Refractory ceramic fibers; CASRN Not foundHealth assessment information on a chemical substance is included in IRIS only after a comprehensive review of chronic toxicity data by U.S. EPA health scientists from several Program Offices and the Office of Research and Development. The summaries presented in Sections I and II represent a consensus reached in the review process. Background information and explanations of the methods used to derive the values given in IRIS are provided in the Background Documents.

More info at http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0647.htm

What can I do to prepare for Hurricane Isabel or other drinking water emergencies?

EPA recommends that you should have at least a three-gallon supply of water per person. Typically, this would be enough water for three days. Water should be stored in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Soft drink bottles, for instance, work very well. The containers should be tightly sealed, labeled and stored in a cool, dark place. Under these conditions, water can be stored for six months. If you do not have stored water and there is an emergency, you can use the water in your hot-water tank, pipes and ice cubes. The water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl) can also be used as a last resort. The following Web sites provide additional information, including where to find water outside your home, ways to purify water and other steps you can take to prepare for natural disasters.

Federal Emergency Management Agency -- http://www.fema.gov / American Red Cross -- http://www.redcross.org /home Department of Homeland Security -- http://www.ready.gov /

Facemask and Respirator Use to Reduce Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Transmission

This document has been updated in accordance with the CDC Recommendations for the Amount of Time Persons with Influenza-Like Illness Should be Away from Others . This document provides interim guidance and will be updated as needed.

This document provides updated interim guidance on the use of facemasks and respirators for decreasing the exposure to novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. This guidance replaces other CDC guidance on mask and/or respirator use that may be included in other CDC documents in regards to the outbreak of novel H1N1 virus. No change has been made to guidance on the use of facemasks and respirators for health care settings. This document includes guidance on facemask and respirator use for a wider range of settings than was included in previous documents and includes recommendations for those who are at increased risk of severe illness from infection with the novel H1N1 virus compared with those who are at lower risk of severe illness from influenza infection.For more information about human infection with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus, visit the CDC H1N1 Flu website. Other CDC novel H1N1 guidance will be updated with the information contained in this document as soon as possible.

For more info go to http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm

Friday, August 28, 2009

EPA Announces New Steps to Protect Americans from Lead Poisoning

Actions to reduce overall exposures to lead
Release date: 08/26/2009

Contact Information: Dale Kemery kemery.dale@epa.gov 202-564-7839 202-564-4355


August 26, 2009WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a series of steps to increase protections against and raise awareness of lead-based products in our environment and communities, particularly to prevent lead poisoning in children. The steps announced today are:

· Additional proposed requirements to protect children from lead-based paint
· A new effort to ban the manufacture of lead in tire weights
· A lead poisoning prevention video contest, asking people to submit videos demonstrating steps that can be taken to prevent childhood lead poisoning

“As both EPA Administrator and as a mother, my highest priority is protecting our children from environmental threats in the places where they live, play and learn. Lead is still present in many of our neighborhoods, but we can limit exposure to children and adults by working together on comprehensive actions like these,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We're committed to giving our nation’s children the fullest protection possible, and giving parents clear assurance that their children are safe from harm.”

The additional requirements on lead-based paint that EPA intends to propose are the result of a settlement of litigation brought by the Sierra Club, the New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning and other stakeholder groups in 2008. The settlement calls for proposed revisions to the 2008 rule governing lead safe work practices used during repair, remodeling and renovations to reduce exposures to lead-based paint hazards for young children, the most sensitive population, as well as for older children and adults.

EPA will propose to expand lead safe work practices and other protective requirements for renovation and painting work involving lead paint to most buildings built before 1978, when lead-based paint was banned for residential use. Under the proposed requirements, renovation firms would have to conduct tests to ensure that lead levels in dust comply with EPA’s regulatory standards after certain renovation, repair, and painting activities are performed and provide information to building occupants on the lead safe work practices utilized during renovations.

The agency is proposing that lead safe work practices be required at the vast majority of residential buildings and public and commercial buildings undergoing exterior renovations that involve lead-based paint. EPA will determine whether renovations in the interior of public and commercial buildings create hazardous levels of lead dust.EPA will undertake at least three separate rulemakings to expand coverage and strengthen requirements of the 2008 Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which will be available for public comment.

EPA will also pursue a ban on the manufacture and distribution of lead tire weights in response to a 2009 petition from the Ecology Center, the Sierra Club and other NGOs requesting that the agency establish regulations prohibiting the manufacture, processing, and distribution of lead tire weights. Lead weights are used predominately in the tire replacement market to balance tires of autos and light trucks in the United States. They can fall off tires and then break down and contaminate soil, wash into sewers, or end up being transported to municipal landfills or incinerators. EPA estimates that 2,000 tons of lead from tire weights are lost from vehicles and ultimately end up in the environment each year. Tire weights without lead are already being used and can be effectively substituted.

Finally, in order to further educate the public on the potential dangers of lead poisoning, EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are soliciting creative videos from the public for a lead poisoning prevention video contest.

The three agencies are interested in videos that convey easy, low-cost steps that can be taken to prevent childhood lead poisoning and inspire individuals and communities to change their behavior to prevent exposure to this harmful chemical. Examples of possible video topics include:

· Educating the public about the dangers of lead poisoning in children
· Steps you can take to prevent children from lead dust poisoning if they spend time in older homes, schools, or child care settings
· The importance of hiring a trained professional to conduct safe renovation, repair or painting work that involves lead-based paint
· Simple safe work practices to follow when renovating a home with lead-based paint
· The importance of getting your child tested for lead if you live in an older home.

The deadline for entries is October 1, 2009 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The winners will be awarded cash prizes in the amount of $2,500 (1st prize), $1,500 (2nd prize) and $1,000 (3rd prize). Winning videos will be featured on EPA, CDC and HUD’s Web sites. Winners will be announced during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 25-31, 2009.

Lead causes a variety of adverse health effects, including brain and nervous system disorders, high blood pressure and hypertension, and reproductive problems. For children, even low levels of exposure to lead can cause a host of developmental effects such as learning disabilities, decreased intelligence, and speech, language, and behavioral problems, which can impact children for a lifetime.

More information on today’s announcements: http://www.epa.gov/lead/

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mold - What is the public health problem?

Mold can cause fungal allergy and respiratory infections or worsen certain illnesses such as asthma. Molds are microorganisms that are found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. The potential health effects of exposure to indoor mold are of increasing concern. Nevertheless, no conclusive evidence exists that inhalation of indoor mold is associated with a multitude of other health problems, such as pulmonary hemorrhage, memory loss, and lack of energy.
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/MOLD/pib.htm

What is novel H1N1 aka Swine Flu?

Novel H1N1 Flu

Novel H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of novel H1N1 flu was underway.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CDC Advisors Make Recommendations for Use of Vaccine Against Novel H1N1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met today to make recommendations for use of vaccine against novel influenza A (H1N1).

The committee met to develop recommendations on who should receive vaccine against novel influenza A (H1N1) when it becomes available, and to determine which groups of the population should be prioritized if the vaccine is initially available in extremely limited quantities.

The committee recommended the vaccination efforts focus on five key populations. Vaccination efforts are designed to help reduce the impact and spread of novel H1N1. The key populations include those who are at higher risk of disease or complications, those who are likely to come in contact with novel H1N1, and those who could infect young infants. When vaccine is first available, the committee recommended that programs and providers try to vaccinate:

  • pregnant women,
  • people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
  • health care and emergency medical services personnel,
  • persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age, and
  • people from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

The groups listed above total approximately 159 million people in the United States.

The committee does not expect that there will be a shortage of novel H1N1 vaccine, but availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others:

  • pregnant women,
  • people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
  • health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact,
  • children 6 months through 4 years of age, and
  • children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level. The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these prioritized groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.

The committee also stressed that people over the age of 65 receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it is available. Even if novel H1N1 vaccine is initially only available in limited quantities, supply and availability will continue, so the committee stressed that programs and providers continue to vaccinate unimmunized patients and not keep vaccine in reserve for later administration of the second dose.

The novel H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine. It is intended to be used alongside seasonal flu vaccine to protect people. Seasonal flu and novel H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Hazards of Silica and Health Effects of Silicosis

Occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica occur in a variety of industries and occupations because of its extremely common natural occurrence and the wide uses of materials and products that contain it. At least 1.7 million U.S. workers are potentially exposed to respirable crystalline silica [NIOSH 1991], and many are exposed to concentrations that exceed limits defined by current regulations and standards.

Silicosis, usually a nodular pulmonary fibrosis, is the disease most associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Although the reported mortality associated with silicosis has declined over the past several decades, many silicosis associated deaths still occur (nearly 300 deaths were reported each year during the period 1992-1995) [NIOSH 1996a; Althouse 1998]. In addition, the number of silicosis associated deaths among persons aged 15 to 44 has not declined substantially [CDC 1998a,b]. An unknown number of workers also continue to die from silica-related diseases such as pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), lung cancer, and scleroderma. The number of cases of silicosis and silica-related diseases in the United States today is unknown.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2002-129/02-129a.html

Friday, August 7, 2009



As per the Texas Department of State Health Services -

Since the 1890's, asbestos use has been expanded to hundreds of common industrial applications. However, increased environmental distribution of these products has also enlarged the size of the population exposed to asbestos. The health effects associated with occupational and non-occupational asbestos exposure, can create severe human diseases. The potential impact of these diseases has motivated public health authorities to control the use of asbestos. Ongoing federal and state programs oversee efforts to prevent environmental release, and abate existing asbestos sources.

On the website they answer several questions regarding asbestos:

What is asbestos?
How might I be exposed to asbestos fibers?
How do asbestos fibers enter and leave the body?
How can asbestos affect my health?
Is there a medical test to determine whether I have been exposed to asbestos fibers?
I have asbestos in my home. Do I need to do anything about it to protect my health?
I am going to perform a renovation or demolition to my building. Is there anything I should know about asbestos before I begin my project?
How do I get licensed to perform asbestos-related work in Texas?
I do site assessment surveys. Do I need a license to inspect for asbestos?
I need to get properly trained with respect to asbestos. Where can I receive the proper training?
I hear that to remove floor tile or sheet vinyl flooring that I don't need a license. Is that true?

Source: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/asbestos/faq.shtm

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Engineering Controls for Silica in Construction

As per NIOSH - Construction workers may be exposed to hazardous dust containing silica during construction tasks, including tuckpointing brick, grinding concrete, breaking concrete pavement with a jackhammer, and cutting block and brick. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that exposure could be reduced through the use of engineering controls, including the use of local exhaust ventilation to capture dust at its source and the use of water sprays to suppress dust where it is produced. These pages provide information about those controls and utilize video-exposure monitoring clips to demonstrate their effectiveness.

For more information go to http://origin.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/silica/constructionControlMain.html

Monday, August 3, 2009

Symptoms of Silicosis as Per OSHA

What are the symptoms of silicosis?

Silicosis is classified into three types: chronic /classic, accelerated, and acute.
Chronic/classic silicosis, the most common, occurs after 15–20 years of moderate to low exposures to respirable crystalline silica. Symptoms associated with chronic silicosis may or may not be obvious; therefore, workers need to have a chest
x-ray to determine if there is lung damage. As the disease progresses, the worker may experience shortness of breath upon exercising and have clinical signs of poor oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.

In the later stages, the worker may experience fatigue, extreme shortness of breath, chest pain, or respiratory failure.

Accelerated silicosis can occur after 5–10 years of high exposures to respirable crystalline silica. Symptoms include severe shortness of breath, weakness, and weight loss. The onset of symptoms takes longer than in acute silicosis.

Acute silicosis occurs after a few months or as long as 2 years following exposures to extremely high concentrations of respirable crystalline silica. Symptoms of acute silicosis include severe disabling shortness of breath, weakness, and weight loss, which often leads to death.

Source: http://www.osha-safety.org/osha_crystalline_silica.asp

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where are General Industry Employees Exposed to Crystalline Silica Dust

Where are general industry employeesexposed to crystalline silica dust?

The most severe exposures to crystalline silicaresult from abrasive blasting, which is done to cleanand smooth irregularities from molds, jewelry,and foundry castings, finish tombstones, etch orfrost glass, or remove paint, oils, rust, or dirt formobjects needing to be repainted or treated. Otherexposures to silica dust occur in cement and brickmanufacturing, asphalt pavement manufacturing,china and ceramic manufacturing and the tool anddie, steel and foundry industries. Crystalline silicais used in manufacturing, household abrasives,adhesives, paints, soaps, and glass. Additionally,crystalline silica exposures occur in the maintenance,repair and replacement of refractory brickfurnace linings.In the maritime industry, shipyard employeesare exposed to silica primarily in abrasiveblasting operations to remove paint and cleanand prepare steel hulls, bulkheads, decks, andtanks for paints and coatings.

Source: www.osha.gov

Friday, July 31, 2009


Description of Silicosis

When workers inhale crystalline silica, the lung tissue reacts by developing fibrotic nodules and scarring around the trapped silica particles [Silicosis and Silicate Disease Committee 1988]. This fibrotic condition of the lung is called silicosis. If the nodules grow too large, breathing becomes difficult and death may result. Silicosis victims are also at high risk of developing active tuberculosis [Myers et al. 1973; Sherson and Lander 1990; Bailey et al. 1974].
A worker's lungs may react more severely to silica sand that has been freshly fractured (sawed, hammered, or treated in a way that produces airborne dust) [Vallyathan et al. 1988]. This factor may contribute to the development of acute and accelerated forms of silicosis.

Types of Silicosis

A worker may develop any of three types of silicosis, depending on the airborne concentration of crystalline silica:

  • Chronic silicosis, which usually occurs after 10 or more years of exposure to crystalline silica at relatively low concentrations
  • Accelerated silicosis, which results from exposure to high concentrations of crystalline silica and develops 5 to 10 years after the initial exposure
  • Acute silicosis, which occurs where exposure concentrations are the highest and can cause symptoms to develop within a few weeks to 4 or 5 years after the initial exposure [Peters 1986; Ziskind et al. 1976]

Initially, workers with silicosis may have no symptoms. As silicosis progresses, there may be difficulty in breathing and other chest symptoms such as cough. Infectious complications may cause fever, weight loss, and night sweats. Severe mycobacterial or fungal infections can complicate silicosis and may be fatal [Ziskind et al. 1976; Owens et al. 1988; Bailey et al. 1974]. Fungal or mycobacterial infections are believed to result when the lung cells (macrophages) that fight these infections are overwhelmed with silica dust and are unable to kill mycobacteria and other organisms [Allison and Hart 1968; Ng and Chan 1991]. About half of the mycobacterial infections are caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), with the other half caused by M. kansasii and M. avium-intracellulare [Owens et al. 1988]. Nocardia and Cryptococcus may also cause infections in silicosis victims [Ziskind et al. 1976].

Medical evaluations of silicosis victims usually show the lungs to be filled with silica crystals and a protein material [Owens et al. 1988; Buechner and Ansari 1969]. Pulmonary fibrosis (fibrous tissue in the lung) may or may not develop in acute cases of silicosis, depending on the time between exposure and onset of symptoms.

Furthermore, evidence indicates that crystalline silica is a potential occupational carcinogen [NIOSH 1988; IARC 1987; DHHS 1991], and NIOSH is reviewing the data on carcinogenicity.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/consilic.html

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Silica, Crystalline, Silicosis Safety Issues

Recognizing potential hazards is key in preventing and minimizing the effects of silica exposure. Silicosis is a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by overexposure to respirable crystalline silica. The following references aid in recognizing crystalline silica hazards and health effects.

What is crystalline silica?

Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Cristobalite and tridymite are two other forms of crystalline silica. All three forms may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica.

What are the hazards of crystalline silica?

Silica exposure remains a serious threat to nearly 2 million U.S. workers, including more than 100,000 workers in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work and tunneling. The seriousness of the health hazards associated with silica exposure is demonstrated by the fatalities and disabling illnesses that continue to occur in sandblasters and rockdrillers. Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. There is no cure for silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis. In addition, smoking causes lung damage and adds to the damage caused by breathing silica dust.

Source: www.OSHA.gov

Friday, July 24, 2009

Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT)

HealthySEAT is a new software tool from EPA designed to help school districts conduct voluntary, customized self-assessments of their school facilities for environmental, health, and safety hazards.

More than 53 million children and about 6 million adults spend a significant portion of their days in more than 120,000 public and private school buildings. Many of these buildings are old and in poor condition, and may contain environmental conditions that inhibit learning and pose increased risks to the health of children and staff. The healthy school environments web site is designed to provide one-stop access to the many programs and resources available to help prevent and resolve environmental issues in schools.

For more information visit: http://www.epa.gov/schools/

Source: EPA - Office of Air and Radiation - Indoor Environments Division

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ten Things You Should Know About Mold per USEPA

As per the USEPA:
  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

source: www.epa.gov

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cleaning and Remediation of Flood Contaminated HVAC Systems

As per NIOSH Interim Recommendations for the Cleaning and Remediation of Flood-Contaminated HVAC Systems: A Guide for Building Owners and Managers

During flooding, systems for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) can become submerged in flood waters. As a result, these systems may contain substantial amounts of dirt and debris and may also become contaminated with various types of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. The following recommendations will help ensure that HVAC systems contaminated with flood water are properly cleaned and remediated to provide healthy indoor environments.

Microorganisms may grow on all surfaces of HVAC system components that weresubmerged in flood waters. In addition, moisture can collect in HVAC systemcomponents that were not submerged (such as air supply ducts above the water line)and can promote the growth of microorganisms. Therefore, all components of the HVACsystem that were contaminated with flood water or moisture should be thoroughlyinspected, cleaned of dirt and debris, and disinfected by a qualified professional. Thefollowing recommendations will help ensure that HVAC systems contaminated withflood water are properly cleaned and remediated to provide healthy indoorenvironments.

These interim recommendations are based on current knowledge as ofSeptember 21, 2005; the recommendations will be updated and revised as appropriate,as additional information becomes available.

For complete article go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/emres/Cleaning-Flood-HVAC.html

Friday, June 19, 2009

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?

As per CDC - Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.
Ref: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fluview Surveillance Reports - CDC Swine Flu Updates

FluView Surveillance Reports

The most recent report on Swine Flu by the CDC can always be found on the FluView Weekly Surveillance Report page.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy During the Pandemic

As per the CDC, stay informed. The website http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ will be updated regularly as information becomes available.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • Take everyday actions to stay healthy.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.

Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update

Weekly Influenza Activity Estimates Reported by State and Territorial Epidemiologists [Activity levels indicate geographic spread of both seasonal and novel influenza A (H1N1) viruses] - Map can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm

A Pandemic Is Declared

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. A Phase 6 designation indicates that a global pandemic is underway.

More than 70 countries are now reporting cases of human infection with novel H1N1 flu. This number has been increasing over the past few weeks, but many of the cases reportedly had links to travel or were localized outbreaks without community spread. The WHO designation of a pandemic alert Phase 6 reflects the fact that there are now ongoing community level outbreaks in multiple parts of world.

WHO’s decision to raise the pandemic alert level to Phase 6 is a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus.
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/

Friday, June 12, 2009

How Can I Tell if I Have A Mold Problem?

Answer from www.epa.gov/mold/moldbasics.html

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Read the publication, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" at www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html [EPA 402-K-02-003]

Una Breve Guía para el Moho, la Humedad y su Hogar está disponible en el formato PDF www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide_sp.pdf Documento de la agencia EPA número 402-K-03-008.

Read the publication "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings at www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html [EPA 402-K-01-001, March 2001]
Mold Resources are available at www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use to Reduce Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Transmission

Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use to Reduce Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Transmission

As per the CDC - This document provides updated interim guidance on the use of facemasks and respirators for decreasing the exposure to novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. This guidance replaces other CDC guidance on mask and/or respirator use that may be included in other CDC documents in regards to the outbreak of novel H1N1 virus. No change has been made to guidance on the use of facemasks and respirators for health care settings. This document includes guidance on facemask and respirator use for a wider range of settings than was included in previous documents and includes recommendations for those who are at increased risk of severe illness from infection with the novel H1N1 virus compared with those who are at lower risk of severe illness from influenza infection. For more information about human infection with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus, visit the CDC H1N1 Flu website. Other CDC novel H1N1 guidance will be updated with the information contained in this document as soon as possible.

For complete article go to http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm

Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments

Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments

As per NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene - This 2008 document revises existing guidelines and supersedes all prior editions. It is based both on a review of the current literature regarding fungi (mold) and on comments from a review panel consisting of experts in the fields of mycology/microbiology, environmental health sciences, environmental/occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, and environmental remediation.

To see the entire guidelines go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/moldrpt1.shtml

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mold Prevention and Control Tips

Moisture control is the key to mold control. When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act promptly. Any initial water infiltration should be stopped and cleaned promptly. A prompt response (within 24-48 hours) and thorough clean- up, drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth.

Mold prevention tips include:

  • Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
  • Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
  • Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
  • Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
  • Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
  • Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
  • Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.

Source: http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings per the USEPA

Table 1: Water Damage - Cleanup and Mold Prevention

Books and papers- For non-valuable items, discard books and papers.
Photocopy valuable/important items, discard originals.
Freeze (in frost-free freezer or meat locker) or freeze-dry.

Carpet and backing - dry within 24-48 hours§ Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
Reduce ambient humidity levels with dehumidifier.
Accelerate drying process with fans.

Ceiling tiles - Discard and replace.

Cellulose insulation -Discard and replace.

Concrete or cinder block surfaces-Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters.

Fiberglass insulation - Discard and replace.

Non-porous, hard surfaces (Plastics, metals) - Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary.

Upholstered furniture - Remove water with water extraction vacuum.
Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters.
May be difficult to completely dry within 48 hours. If the piece is valuable, you may wish to consult a restoration/water damage professional who specializes in furniture.

Wallboard (Drywall and gypsum board) - May be dried in place if there is no obvious swelling and the seams are intact. If not, remove, discard, and replace. Ventilate the wall cavity, if possible.

Window drapes - Follow laundering or cleaning instructions recommended by the manufacturer.

Wood surfaces Remove moisture immediately and use dehumidifiers, gentle heat, and fans for drying. (Use caution when applying heat to hardwood floors.)
Treated or finished wood surfaces may be cleaned with mild detergent and clean water and allowed to dry.

Wet paneling should be pried away from wall for drying.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/mold/table1.html

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Determining Eligibility of Mold Remediation Costs For Grant from FEMA

This is part II in the series about FEMA grants for mold remediation costs - The cost of mold sampling, both pre-and post-remediation, may be eligible for reimbursement, provided there is evidence prior to remediation to indicate the existence of disaster-related mold.
  • The cost of mold sampling which reveals no presence of disaster-related mold is not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Costs to perform eligible remediation - either through force account or a contractor - may be eligible for reimbursement. Contractor costs are subject to the contract procurement requirements in 44 CFR 13.36.
  • The following remediation activities may be eligible under Category B:
    * Wet vacuuming, damp wiping or HEPA vacuuming of the interior space.
    * Removal of contaminated gypsum board, plaster (or similar wall finishes), carpet or floor finishes, and ceilings or permanent light fixtures.
    * Cleaning of contaminated heating and ventilation (including ductwork), plumbing, and air conditioning systems, or other mechanical equipment.
  • If an applicant fails to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of mold contamination to a facility, the rehabilitation and repair of the additional contaminated area will not be eligible for federal assistance
  • If an applicant can document and justify why reasonable measures were not taken to prevent further contamination to a facility from mold, or why reasonable measures taken were insufficient to prevent further damage, remediation activities may be eligible for reimbursement. Examples of extenuating circumstances may include:
    * Disruption of power.
    * Facility remained underwater.
    * Inability to access the facility due to the disaster, i.e. debris blocking access routes and facility.
    * Facility HVAC equipment damaged due to the disaster.
    * Insufficient resources to remediate the entire facility.

Source: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/pa/9580_100.shtm

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obtaining Grant Money for Mold Remediation Through FEMA Part I

As per FEMA website - Extensive disaster-related damages may result in public facilities becoming inundated or exposed to wet and humid weather conditions for extended periods of time. The limited availability of repair and restoration contractors may delay clean-up activities. In addition, the disruption of electrical power can inhibit the use of water extraction, pumping and drying electric equipment. As such, the damaged structures and their contents may remain waterlogged until power is restored and remediation can begin. Such water saturation may cause growth and propagation of mold on structures and interior contents, causing health-related problems and increasing the cost of repairs. The following guidance is provided to assist Public Assistance staff and applicants (entities that meet the requirements of 44 CFR 206.222 - State, local governments, Indian tribes or authorized tribal organizations, and certain private non-profits) with the remediation and/or repair of their damaged facilities.

Source www.fema.gov

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Practical Approach to Mold Remediation

Here is a good article / paper on a practical approach to mold remediation - Mold Remediation: A Practical Approach

Mold Can Be A Problem Long After Floodwaters Recede

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Mold can be a growing problem.

Five to six weeks after a flood, mold can become a problem in homes and businesses that have not been thoroughly cleaned.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers steps that can be taken to combat the musty, microscopic organism's growth and its potential to cause serious health problems. Mold can also cause structural damage to homes, according to state and federal officials.
"Removing flood contaminated materials and household goods, and thoroughly cleaning up after a flood are essential steps in combating mold," said Federal Coordinating Officer Albie Lewis.
Floodwaters affect household fixtures in different ways.

Porous materials are nearly impossible to clean. Soaked carpets, carpet pads, linoleum, fabric covered furniture, wet insulation and ceiling tiles should be thrown out. There is no way to clean them. For heirloom rugs and furniture, contact a professional cleaner.
Appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, cooking stoves, dishwashers, hot water heaters, washers and driers contain insulation which may harbor mold spores without visible evidence and should be discarded.

Surfaces such as wallboard, sheetrock, chipboard and particle board may have to be replaced. Water can wick up higher than the visible water line. The best practice is to remove the wall board at least a foot above the water line.

Non-porous surfaces, including glass, ceramic, metal and plastic, can be cleaned. A combination of water, household bleach and soap or detergent can be used to wash down walls, floors and other mold-contaminated areas. Follow directions on containers and take particular note of warnings.

Here are some cleaning tips to rid damaged properties of, and prevent mold.
  • Do not mix chlorine liquids and ammonia. Wear rubber gloves, protective clothing and a
    tight-fitting face mask when working around mold.
  • Remove heating and cooling registers and ducts, and then hose the ducts to prevent contamination from flowing through the ducts when the unit is turned on.
  • Heating and air conditioning filters should be changed and the system ductwork cleaned by a professional so that mold spores don't circulate in the dwelling or business.
  • After hosing ductwork, wash with a disinfectant. If ducts are in slab or otherwise inaccessible, have them cleaned professionally.
  • When rebuilding, property owners living in flood-prone areas should consider using water-resistant materials.

Excerpted from press release from FEMA http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=48390

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mold Prevention Tips From the CDC


  • Keep the humidity level in your home between 40% and 60%. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months and in damp spaces, like basements.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

Source: www.cdc.gov

Saturday, May 16, 2009

CDC Travel Health Warning for Novel H1N1 Flu in Mexico Removed

CDC’s Travel Health Warning recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico, in effect since April 27, 2009, has now been downgraded to a Travel Health Precaution for Mexico.

Current Situation

CDC has been monitoring the ongoing outbreak of novel H1N1 flu in Mexico and, with the assistance of the Mexican authorities, has obtained a more complete picture of the outbreak. There is evidence that the Mexican outbreak is slowing down in many cities though not all. In addition, the United States and other countries are now seeing increasing numbers of cases not associated with travel to Mexico. Finally, the risk of severe disease from novel H1N1 virus infection now appears to be less than originally thought.

CDC Recommendations

At this time, CDC has removed its recommendation that U.S. travelers avoid travel to Mexico.
CDC continues to recommend that travelers visiting Mexico take steps to protect themselves from getting novel H1N1 flu.

CDC recommends that travelers at high risk for complications from any form of influenza discuss with their physicians the risks and benefits of travel in the context of their planned itinerary to Mexico, and may want to consider postponing travel. Travelers at high risk for complications include:

  • Children less than 5 years old
  • Persons aged 65 years or older
  • Children and adolescents (less than 18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders
  • Adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities

If you travel to an area that has reported cases of novel H1N1 flu:
Stay Informed

Be aware that Mexico is checking all exiting airline passengers for signs of novel H1N1 flu. Exit screening may cause significant delays at airports.

source: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/content/travel-health-precaution/novel-h1n1-flu-mexico.aspx

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mold Remediation Tasks

Tasks Involved In Remediation as Per the CDC

Responding to mold problems requires a series of actions. The order in which actions take place is sometimes important. Typically, the following actions are implemented to some extent regardless of whether a problem is small and simple or large and complex:
  • Take emergency actions to stop water intrusion if needed.
    Identify vulnerable populations, extent of contamination, and moisture dynamic.
  • Plan and implement remediation activities.
  • Establish appropriate containment and worker and occupant protection.
  • Eliminate or limit moisture sources and dry the materials.
  • Decontaminate or remove damaged materials as appropriate.
  • Evaluate whether space has been successfully remediated.
  • Reassemble the space to prevent or limit possibility of recurrence by controlling sources of moisture and nutrients.
  • For small, simple problems, the entire list may be implemented by one person. For larger, more complex problems, the actions in the list may be accomplished by a series of people in different professions and trades. For circumstances that fall between those extremes, some combination of occupant action and professional intervention will be appropriate. In general, no single discipline brings together all the required knowledge for successful assessment and remediation.

source: www.cdc.gov

What You Can Do To Stay Healthy Per CDC

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

As per the CDC:
  • Stay informed. This website will be updated regularly as information becomes available.
    Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • Take everyday actions to stay healthy.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flood Cleanup and the Air in Your Home

As per the USEPA, for basic information on how to clean up after a flood and how to prevent indoor air problems go to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/flood/flood_booklet_en.pdf This 28 page booklet prints in landscape as a 15 page printout. The booklet discusses how to prevent and cleanup your home after a flood.

CDC Increases Testing for Swine Flu

CDC has developed a PCR diagnostic test kit to detect this novel H1N1 virus and has now distributed test kits to all states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The test kits are being shipped internationally as well. This will allow states and other countries to test for this new virus. This increase in testing will likely result in an increase in the number of confirmed cases of illness reported. This, combined with ongoing monitoring through Flu View should provide a fuller picture of the burden of disease in the United States over time.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CDC Public Guidance on Swine Flu H1N1 Virus

Public Guidance

In addition, CDC has provided guidance for the public on what to do if they become sick with flu-like symptoms, including infection with novel H1N1. CDC also has issued instructions on taking care of a sick person at home. Novel H1N1 infection has been reported to cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In addition, a significant number of people also have reported nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Everyone should take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, including frequent hand washing and people who are sick should stay home and avoid contact with others in order to limit further spread of the disease.
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Swine Flu CDC Update - New Virus Emerges

A New Virus Emerges

Novel influenza A (H1N1) is a new flu virus of swine origin that was first detected in April, 2009. The virus is infecting people and is spreading from person-to-person, and has sparked a growing outbreak of illness in the United States with an increasing number of cases being reported internationally as well.

CDC anticipates that there will be more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths associated with this new virus in the coming days and weeks because the population has little to no immunity against it. Novel influenza A (H1N1) activity is now being detected in two of CDC’s routine influenza surveillance systems as reported in the May 8, 2009 FluView. FluView is a weekly report that tracks U.S. influenza activity through multiple systems across five categories.

The May 8 FluView found that the number of people visiting their doctors with influenza-like-illness is higher than expected in the United States for this time of year. Second, laboratory data shows that regular seasonal influenza A (H1N1), (H3N2) and influenza B viruses are still circulating in the United States, but novel influenza A (H1N1) and “unsubtypable”* viruses now account for a significant number of the viruses detected in the United States.

It’s thought that novel influenza A (H1N1) flu spreads in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread; mainly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick with the virus.

CDC continues to take aggressive action to respond to the outbreak. CDC’s response goals are to reduce the spread and severity of illness, and to provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by this new public health threat.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Monday, May 11, 2009

CDC Issues School Guidance

This includes updated interim guidance for schools and childcare facilities on preventing the spread of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. At this time, CDC recommends the primary means to reduce spread of influenza in schools focus on early identification of ill students and staff, staying home when sick, and good cough etiquette and frequent hand washing. Decisions about school closure should be at the discretion of local authorities based on local considerations.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Sunday, May 10, 2009

CDC Develops PCR Diagnostic Test Kit

As per the CDC website - CDC Has Increased Testing

CDC has developed a PCR diagnostic test kit to detect this novel H1N1 virus and has now distributed test kits to all states in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The test kits are being shipped internationally as well. This will allow states and other countries to test for this new virus. This increase in testing capacity is likely to result in an increase in the number of reported confirmed cases in this country, which should provide a more accurate picture of the burden of disease in the United States.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Swine Flu and Other Influenza Viruses

Antimicrobial Products Registered for Use Against the H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and Other Influenza A Viruses on Hard Surfaces - As Per USEPA

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently tracking an H1N1 flu outbreak that has caused infections in humans in the United States, Mexico, Canada and other countries. Information on this Web page will help you identify antimicrobial products that are registered by EPA to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces that may be contaminated with the 2009-H1N1 flu.

EPA registers pesticide products, including disinfectants. As part of the registration process, EPA evaluates the product efficacy to make sure the public health label claims are accurate. Currently, over 500 disinfectant products are registered for use on hard, non-porous surfaces against influenza A viruses. EPA believes, based on available scientific information, that the currently registered influenza A virus products will be effective against the 2009-H1N1 flu strain and other influenza A virus strains on hard, non-porous surfaces. For safe and effective use of these products, always follow label instructions for these products, paying special attention to the product’s dilution rate (if applicable) and contact time.

Choose a product whose label states that it is effective against "Influenza A virus" and lists your specific site of concern, such as: farm premises, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, schools, offices or homes. These products are widely available and can be purchased at drugstores, supermarkets, and home maintenance/repair stores, among others.

As the CDC stresses, your first line of defense is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based cleaner. These registered disinfectant products are for use on hard, non-porous surfaces, such as door knobs, handles, tables, floors, etc. EPA emphasizes that these products are not to be used on the skin or to be taken orally.

More than 500 antimicrobial products (20 pp, 62 K PDF) are registered by EPA specifically for use against influenza A virues. This is not a complete list since some products may have different distributor or product names and may not be referenced. We will continue to update this list as more information becomes available. Approved products specifically have label information which states they provide effectiveness against “Influenza A virues.”

Up-to-date information about the 2009-H1N1 flu is available on CDC’s Web site

Source: http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/influenza-disinfectants.html

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Influenza A(H1N1) Swine Flu - update May 6 2009

As per WHO - May 6 2009, 22 countries have officially reported 1516 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection.

Mexico has reported 822 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 29 deaths. The United States has reported 403 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (165), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (4), Germany (9), Guatemala (1), Ireland (1), Israel (4), Italy (5), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (6), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (2), Spain (57), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (27).

It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders.

There is no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products.

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.
Source: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_05_06/en/index.html

EPA ensures students and faculty protected from asbestos at 5 Arizona charter schools

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined five Arizona charter school operators a combined total of $ 35,700 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act violations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined five Arizona charter school operators a combined total of $ 35,700 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act violations.

In April 2007, EPA inspectors discovered the school operators failed to conduct inspections to determine if asbestos-containing material was present in school buildings, and all had failed to develop asbestos management plans. The schools have since completed inspections and have developed asbestos management plans.

“All schools, including charter schools, need to conduct asbestos inspections and have asbestos management plans,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We are pleased that these schools have now conducted inspections and put asbestos management plans into place, as asbestos in schools has the potential for endangering the health of students, teachers, and others, including maintenance workers.”

The schools are:

* Phoenix Advantage Charter School: The operator, Phoenix Advantage Charter School, Inc. was fined $12,600. The school’s first management plan documented over 10,000 square feet of assumed asbestos-containing materials. The revised management plan shows after more testing and abatement actions, the school building still contains 3,200 square feet of actual or assumed asbestos-containing materials.

* The Arts Academy at Estrella Mountain and South Mountain: The operator, PCL Charter Schools, was fined $10,200. The Estrella Mountain location was found to not have any asbestos containing materials, while the South Mountain location’s management plan shows that the school contains 2,059 square feet of asbestos-containing materials.

* The Hearn Academy: The operator, Ball Hearn, was fined $8,800 and the school was found to contain 1,230 square feet of asbestos-containing materials.

* Tucson Preparatory School: The operator, Tucson Preparatory Partnership, Inc., was fined $200 for not having a management plan at its former location on North Oracle Road. An asbestos inspection conducted by the new tenants of the North Oracle building identified no asbestos-containing materials.

* AAEC at Paradise Valley, South Mountain, and Red Mountain: The operator, Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center, Inc. was fined $3,900 for failing to conduct an inspection of Paradise Valley school, and for not having management plans at its Paradise Valley, South Mountain, and Red Mountain schools. No asbestos-containing materials were identified at these schools.

Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present and develop a management plan to address the asbestos materials found in the school buildings. In certain circumstances, an inspection is not required if the school has a signed statement from the architect or builder stating that a new building was constructed with no asbestos-containing materials.

Schools that do not contain asbestos-containing material must still develop a management plan that identifies a designated person and includes the architect’s statement or building inspection and the annual notification to parents, teachers, and employees regarding the availability of the plan.

The EPA’s rules also require the school to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records in the management plan.

Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in their administrative office and at the school, which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers, and the general public. Asbestos is a known environmental carcinogen. Individuals exposed to airborne asbestos fibers could contract illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

For more information on asbestos in schools visit: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Infections With a Swine-Origin Influenza A (H1N1) Virus

On April 28, this report was posted as an MMWR Dispatch on the MMWR website (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr ).

Since April 21, 2009, CDC has reported cases of respiratory infection with a swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus (S-OIV) transmitted through human-to-human contact (1,2). This report updates cases identified in U.S. states and highlights certain control measures taken by CDC. As of April 28, the total number of confirmed cases of S-OIV infection in the United States had increased to 64, with cases in California (10 cases), Kansas (two), New York (45), Ohio (one), and Texas (six). CDC and state and local health departments are investigating all reported U.S. cases to ascertain the clinical features and epidemiologic characteristics. On April 27, CDC distributed an updated case definition for infection with S-OIV (Box).

Of the 47 patients reported to CDC with known ages, the median age was 16 years (range: 3--81 years), and 38 (81%) were aged <18 years; 51% of cases were in males. Of the 25 cases with known dates of illness onset, onset ranged from March 28 to April 25 (Figure). To date, no deaths have been reported among U.S. cases, but five patients are known to have been hospitalized. Of 14 patients with known travel histories, three had traveled to Mexico; 40 of 47 patients (85%) have not been linked to travel or to another confirmed case. Information is being compiled regarding vaccination status of infected patients, but is not yet available. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of April 27, a total of 26 confirmed cases of S-OIV infection had been reported by Mexican authorities. Canada has reported six cases and Spain has reported one case.*

Compete releae can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5816a5.htm

Monday, May 4, 2009

H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Update May 4 2009

CDC continues to take aggressive action to respond to an expanding outbreak caused by novel H1N1 flu.

CDC’s response goals are to:

1.Reduce transmission and illness severity, and
2.Provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by this emergency.

CDC continues to issue and update interim guidance daily in response to the rapidly evolving situation. CDC will issue updated interim guidance for clinicians on how to identify and care for people who are sick with novel H1N1 flu illness. This guidance will provide priorities for testing and treatment for novel H1N1 flu infection. The priority use for influenza antiviral drugs during this outbreak will be to treat people with severe flu illness.

On May 3, CDC is scheduled to complete deployment of 25 percent of the supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to all states in the continental United States. These supplies and medicines will help states and U.S. territories respond to the outbreak. In addition, the Federal Government and manufacturers have begun the process of developing a vaccine against the novel H1N1 flu virus.

Response actions are aggressive, but they may vary across states and communities depending on local circumstances. Communities, businesses, places of worship, schools and individuals can all take action to slow the spread of this outbreak. People who are sick are urged to stay home from work or school and to avoid contact with others, except to seek medical care. This action can avoid spreading illness further.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Maryland Dept of Heath and Hygiene Swine Flu Preparedness Guide

Maryland's Department of Health and Metal Hygiene has developed a Swine Flu Preparedness Guide which can be found at Swine Flu Preparedness Guide. It includes Common Sense Precautions Including:
•Wash your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing, and wiping or blowing the nose.
•Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
•Use paper tissues when wiping or blowing your nose; throw tissues away after use.
•Stay away from crowded living and sleeping spaces, if possible.
•Stay home and avoid contact with other people to protect them from catching your illness.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Antiviral Drugs and H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

As per the CDC ( http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/antiviral.htm )

Antiviral Drugs

Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) with activity against influenza viruses, including swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs can be used to treat swine flu or to prevent infection with swine flu viruses. These medications must be prescribed by a health care professional. Influenza antiviral drugs only work against influenza viruses -- they will not help treat or prevent symptoms caused by infection from other viruses that can cause symptoms similar to the flu.

There are four influenza antiviral drugs approved for use in the United States (oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine and rimantadine). The swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses that have been detected in humans in the United States and Mexico are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine so these drugs will not work against these swine influenza viruses. Laboratory testing on these swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses so far indicate that they are susceptible (sensitive) to oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Benefits of Antiviral Drugs
Treatment: If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious influenza complications. Influenza antiviral drugs work best when started soon after illness onset (within two 2 days), but treatment with antiviral drugs should still be considered after 48 hours of symptom onset, particularly for hospitalized patients or people at high risk for influenza-related complications.

Prevention: Influenza antiviral drugs also can be used to prevent influenza when they are given to a person who is not ill, but who has been or may be near a person with swine influenza. When used to prevent the flu, antiviral drugs are about 70% to 90% effective. When used for prevention, the number of days that they should be used will vary depending on a person’s particular situation.

CDC Recommendation

CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.

•Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu ®) is approved to both treat and prevent influenza A and B virus infection in people one year of age and older.
•Zanamivir (brand name Relenza ®) is approved to treat influenza A and B virus infection in people 7 years and older and to prevent influenza A and B virus infection in people 5 years and older.

Recommendations for using antiviral drugs for treatment or prevention of swine influenza will change as we learn more about this new virus.

Friday, May 1, 2009

CDC H1N1 Flu Update (Swine Flu)

CDC continues to take aggressive action to respond to an expanding outbreak caused by H1N1 (swine flu). CDC’s response goals are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by this emergency.

CDC continues to issue and update interim guidance daily in response to the rapidly evolving situation. Early this morning, CDC provided interim guidance on school closures. Supplies from CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) are being sent to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak. In addition, the Federal Government and manufacturers have begun the process of developing a vaccine against this new virus.

Response actions are aggressive, but they may vary across states and communities depending on local circumstances. Communities, businesses, places of worship, schools and individuals can all take action to slow the spread of this outbreak. People who are sick are urged to stay home from work or school and to avoid contact with others, except to seek medical care. This action can avoid spreading illness further.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Questions and Info Part III

How serious is swine flu infection?

Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death.

What is CDC doing in response to the outbreak?

April 29, 2009, 10:55 PM ETCDC has implemented its emergency response. The agency’s goals are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by the new virus. CDC continues to issue new interim guidance for clinicians and public health professionals. In addition, CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) continues to send antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak.

What epidemiological investigations are taking place in response to the recent outbreak?

CDC works very closely with state and local officials in areas where human cases of H1N1 (swine flu) infections have been identified. In California and Texas, where EpiAid teams have been deployed, many epidemiological activities are taking place or planned including:
  • Active surveillance in the counties where infections in humans have been identified;
  • Studies of health care workers who were exposed to patients infected with the virus to see if they became infected;
  • Studies of households and other contacts of people who were confirmed to have been infected to see if they became infected;
  • Study of a public high school where three confirmed human cases of influenza A (H1N1) of swine origin occurred to see if anyone became infected and how much contact they had with a confirmed case; and
  • Study to see how long a person with the virus infection sheds the virus.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm

For previous Part II of this series go to http://moldandasbestos.blogspot.com/2009/04/swine-flu-questions-part-ii.html