Everyone experiments in college: Florida State University hit with at least 22 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease

Florida State University is trying to contain an on-campus outbreak of an illness typically seen at day care.

fsu-hand-foot-mouth-diseaseAt what point did universities evolve from the ridiculously overpriced day cares they currently are (for young adults and most faculty)?

A university official told NBC News that as of Friday afternoon, there have been 22 total cases of hand, foot and mouth disease — a highly contagious virus in which sores develop in the mouth, and a skin rash with blisters appears on the hands and soles of the feet.

“I’m thinking we’ve got probably one more little spike [in cases], then hopefully it will have worn itself out,” said Lesley Sacher, executive director of university health services at the Tallahassee school.

The illness starts with a fever and sore throat, followed by painful mouth sores a day or two later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some people don’t get symptoms but are still contagious.

It’s most often seen among infants and toddlers at day care centers who have a lot of direct skin contact as they play, but it’s not unheard of in adults.

And it’s easy for any infection to spread quickly in college dorms, particularly this time of year as students adjust to life in a dorm surrounded by others in close proximity, said Dr. Frank Esper, pediatric disease specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

“We see spikes in certain types of infections during that transition period. It’s one of the reasons we have a meningitis shot that is specifically targeting individuals going into dormitories,” he said.

Hand, foot and mouth is caused by Coxsackie A16 virus, a member of the enteroviruses family. Enteroviruses tend to thrive in the fall, but Esper said they can happen any time of the year.

Michele Aquino: Gourmet food handlers

I don’t like to be paranoid about germs when I go out to eat. I like to relax and I hope that the restaurant has enough pride to provide training and demand safe practices form their employees. I prefer to assume that public policy measures are keeping me safe to a point and my healthy immune system can be counted on in case of a slip up.

When dining upscale, paying a higher price for smaller, more chic portions, many may assume that good food handling practice comes along with meticulous placement of micro-greens. This could be the case, but the same pitfalls exist for any high volume kitchen, with workers who are susceptible to the same illnesses and temptations to cut corners in order to get through the night.

When I read through the New York Times’ Dining and Wine section, restaurants are frequently featured for their chef’s artistic take on comfort food or rising celebrity status. The slideshow photos showcase the restaurant’s unique décor, avant-garde fare, and often a basic health code violation. A pair of hospital-esque latex gloves probably subtracts from the photographers’ artistic visions of plated fancy foods. Maybe chefs just take off the gloves for the photo shoot or move the tongs.

While New York health code does not require gloves to be worn during food prep, it does prohibit bare hand contact with ready to eat foods. Proper glove use is one way to comply. Of course, there are many restaurant employees who will misuse the latex gloves, so thorough handwashing is essential.

Woman’s arm, hand become stuck in mixer at pretzel shop

This is unfortunate, and gross, and it’s often the job of public health types to clean up the mess.

mycentraljersey.com is reporting that a 35-year-old borough woman was airlifted to a local hospital after her hand became stuck in a dough twister at Jim’s Pretzels on S. Main Street.

Police Chief Mark Peltack said the incident happened at 10:53 a.m. Monday when local resident Loretta Jones, an employee at the establishment, had been attempting to make pretzels. Peltack said it took rescue-squad workers a short amount of time to release her hand from the machine.

Jones was then airlifted via state police helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Jones was listed in fair condition at the hospital late Tuesday afternoon.

At the shop, there are various sizes and types of pretzels, an assortment of dips and pretzels wrapped around sausages and hot dogs. The shop also is known for its catered events, in which the store makes platters of pretzels nuggets and five dips, such as spicy or hot mustard; cheddar or nacho cheese; and sweet cream cheese.

Disney Cruise built-in hand sanitizer stations

The enterprising sanitarians at Disney have come up with built-in hand sanitizer stations incorporated into the Art Deco design of Disney Cruise Line’s new ship, the Disney Dream.

The photo (right) shows three of the built-in stations awaiting installation at the entrance to Animator’s Palate, one of the Dream’s three main restaurants.

Disney designers tell USA Today the built-in hand sanitizer stations will be incorporated into all the major eatery areas around the vessel as an alternative to the clunky plastic dispensers.

Hand sanitizer stands have become common on cruise ships over the past decade as the industry has increased efforts to reduce the number of shipboard outbreaks of communicable gastro-intestinal illnesses such as norovirus.

Something in the air: disinfecting hand gels don’t help against H1N1

AFP reports the regular use of alcohol-based disinfecting hand gels authorities recommended during the swine flu pandemic has little effect on the disease’s infection rate, according to a US study.

The findings suggest that the pandemic virus A (H1N1) and similar strains may be most effectively transmitted in the air, rather than by contact with infected surfaces, the authors of the study said.

"An alcohol hand disinfectant with enhanced antiviral activity failed to significantly reduce the frequency of infection with either rhinovirus or influenza," wrote the authors of the study presented on Sunday at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Boston.
Participants in the study disinfected their hands roughly every three hours over ten weeks between August 25 and November 9, 2009. Of that group, 42 out of 100 contracted rhinovirus infections, compared to 51 out of 100 in the control group.

Similarly, 12 of those regularly disinfecting their hands contracted the so-called swine flu, compared to 15 in the control group.

"The hand treatment also did not significantly reduce the frequency of illnesses caused by the viruses," said the authors of the study led by Ronald Turner of the University of Virginia.

The study was financed by the Dial Corporation, which makes various care and cleaning products, including alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Bee-Shield Hand Sanitizer doesn’t work: FDA

Who buys a hand sanitizer named Bee-Shield; is it also an insect repellant?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday that $230,000 worth of hand sanitizing gel made by Puerto Rico Beverage Inc. of Maunabo and distributed by Lord Pharmaceutical, LLC, doing business as Bee International Distributors was seized the day before.

The hand sanitizer is distributed only in Puerto Rico.

The product Bee-Shield Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera (10 fl. oz. or 1 gallon bottles) is an unapproved new drug and in violation of federal law

The gel was marketed as a product that could kill 99.99 percent of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. However, its safety and effectiveness have not been established. Additionally, the active ingredient, benzalkonium chloride, is not recognized as safe and effective for over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal use, making it noncompliant with FDA’s final monograph for OTC topical antifungal drug products.

The product also represents that it prevents the disease caused by the H1N1 influenza virus, that it is effective against viruses and provides extended antimicrobial efficacy. The FDA is unaware of any scientific evidence to support these claims.

On March 3, 2010, the FDA warned consumers not to use this product because it contained high levels of a bacterium, Burkholderia cepacia, that can cause serious infections in humans.

Funnel cake, fireworks and Salmonella – 4th of July celebration Parkville-style

Gonzalo Erdozain, like Nicolas Cage in the movie, The Family Man, likes his funnel cake. He writes,


This year, my wife and I spent July 4 in Parkville, Missouri. On Sunday, I found hand sanitizer at a pizza restaurant. Yes, exactly as shown, left, on a tray with grated cheese, salt, pepper, sweeteners and hand sanitizer.


I used it, but I should have taken it with me, because what I saw next could have definitely used some hand sanitizing action. Enticed by the pouring rain, frogs started appearing all over the place.


As expected, kids chased and grabbed them – bad idea, reptiles and amphibians are known for carrying Salmonella in their skin – and some adults screamed and cried. But the guy that gets the prize for “Worst Idea Ever” was the guy manhandling the frog – in an attempt to keep it away from a crying lady – and then eating funnel cake with those same hands.

Are children really drinking alcohol-based sanitizers?

It’s not just prisoners drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizers for a buzz.

The Irish National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) received 54 enquiries about alcohol-based sanitizers in 2009 and 74 per cent related to children. In 2008, there were just 20 calls from concerned doctors who were treating patients who had ingested alcohol hand gel