Fistbump, forehead cuddle, just don’t shake hands at Olympics; handwashing sucks at Australian hospitals, and elsewhere

British athletes are being told not to shake hands at the 2012 Olympics in London, a good idea considering that one-in-five hospitals – hospitals with sick people where everyone is supposed to religiously wash hands – in Australia suck at handwashing.

The Australian government on Tuesday released data on the MyHospitals website about how often staff at 233 public hospitals clean their hands, against an interim benchmark of 70 per cent.

It is the first time such information has been made publicly available.

The figures show that about half of the country’s major public hospitals are above the benchmark, while just over 30 per cent were similar to the current standard.

Around 19 per cent were below the benchmark.

The data are based on audits of hand hygiene moments – when there is a perceived or actual risk of pathogen transmission from one surface to another via someone’s hands – in public hospitals between July and October last year.

Meanwhile, Dr Ian McCurdie, the British Olympic Association (BOA) chief medical officer, told the Daily Mail that a mild bug which can knock athletes off their stride could be picked up in the "quite stressful environment" of the Games.

When asked whether this means shaking hands should be off-limits, he said, “I think, within reason, yes.

“I think that is not such a bad thing to advise. The difficulty is when you have got some reception and you have got a line of about 20 people you have never met before who you have got to shake hands with.

‘Within reason if you do and have to shake hands with people, so long as you understand that regular handwashing and/or also using hand foam can help reduce the risk – that would be a good point.’”

The advice is part of a detailed package of health and resilience issues which the BOA has looked at ahead of the Games.

Canadian Olympic gold hockey post-doctoral fellowship opportunity at UBC

Kevin Allen (right, exactly as shown) is the kind of hockey player who would take a slap shot from 20 feet, bounce it off the goalie’s head and then skate by and go, “uh, sorry.”

I was often the goalie.

He would then laugh on the bench with the other goons.

This was odd because Kevin also played goal. I once used his equipment and figured out why he was laughing after hitting me in the head: his goalie gear was way better than mine; couldn’t feel anything, and the stuff was huge. There was no net left to shoot at. How did a graduate student have far better equipment than me?

I admired Kevin’s hockey skills, and how he could play so much hockey, have a couple of kids and take so long to finish his PhD; I admired his expensive goalie equipment even more.

Kevin finally finished his PhD at Guelph, won some award at the International Association for Food Protection in 2005, he may have won more, I don’t know, went to work with Bioniche — the E. coli O157:H7 vaccine people in Canada — and now has landed himself a professoring job.

It’s at the University of British Columbia, that’s in Vancouver, where the winter Olympics – what The Daily Show called a series of drunken dares on ice or snow – have just wrapped up, with a parade featuring a giant inflatable beaver.

Kevin’s building his research empire and, while I don’t run help wanted or conference announcements anymore, I will if they are solely in my self-interest or at least afford me the opportunity to taunt former students. Look at the first sentence of the job description – what was he going to write, a mind-numbing post-doctoral fellowship is available? It probably helps if the candidate plays hockey. Gender doesn’t matter.

Post-doctoral fellowship opportunity
The University of British Columbia
Discipline: Molecular Food Microbiology
Faculty: Land and Food Systems
Department: Food, Nutrition and Health
Location: University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
An exciting post-doctoral fellowship is available for an ambitious and highly motivated individual who has recently completed their doctoral degree. This individual will lead a research program focused on utilizing traditional and molecular approaches to examine stress response physiology, comparative genomics, and antimicrobial resistance in foodborne pathogens such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Vibrio spp. Demonstrated experience with genomics, microarray analysis, and recombinant techniques is highly desirable.
The position is a 1-year term, renewable for up to 3 years. Renewal will be based on progress, which includes scientific presentation/publication and continuation of funding. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience according to UBC guidelines. Candidates graduated from Food Microbiology or Microbiology possessing a strong publication record and excellent academic credentials are encouraged to apply. Applicants should send their curriculum vitae, names and full contact information for three references, and a cover letter. The cover letter should detail previous efforts relating to their molecular biology expertise and experience with foodborne pathogens.
Please submit applications electronically to Dr. Kevin Allen. Note, UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. Employment requires previous completion of a doctoral degree.
Application submission address: Competition closing date:
Until filled Webaddress:

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