Tuberculosis, often known simply as TB, is one of the most infamous bacterial killers of all time, made immortal in books and movies. The advent of antibiotics that can treat and cure TB lulled people, including those in the healthcare community, into a false sense of security, believing that TB was a thing of the past. This set the stage for a massive resurgence of TB in this country in the late twentieth century. Unfortunately, the new TB was widely resistant to most treatment drugs, but the worst of the outbreak was slowly brought under control. Tuberculosis remains a major killer in the world, killing over 1 million yearly and infecting at least one-third of the entire world population. TB is especially prevalent in developing nations, but it also remains an active disease in the United States as well, with almost 10,000 reported infections in 2013 alone. While tuberculosis infections are on the decline, it remains a disease worth preventing.TB 1 Continue reading


Adenoviruses, of which there are over 50, can cause a variety of illnesses ranging from mild respiratory disease, to very painful eye infections, diarrheal illnesses, rashes, and even life-threatening infections in those who are immune compromised. The number of cases of Adenovirus infection are not regularly tracked since many cases will go undiagnosed, but these infections are considered to be very common throughout the life span, although they may be more common in younger people as they would be less likely to have prior exposure and any level of immunity. Adenovirus infections cause significant lost days of work and school and are certainly an infection worth preventing.adeno 1 Continue reading


Rotavirus is a very common infection worldwide and most every child will have been infected by the age of five years. Rotavirus causes abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and most notably, frequent watery diarrhea. The diarrhea can be so severe as to require hospitalization for re-hydration and fluid maintenance, but there is no specific therapy to reduce the duration of the infection and subsequent disease. Some children, over 400,000 per year, especially those in the developing world, but also in the United States, die from Rotavirus infection due to dehydration worldwide. Rotavirus is an infection worth preventing.Rotavirus

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Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus, commonly known by its initials as CMV, is a very common viral infection that can occur in anyone of any gender, race, or socioeconomic class. It is often a disease of childhood with the majority of people being infected when they are children age 6 or under. Most people who have CMV will never know it, but in some people CMV can be very dangerous, even fatal. And it is especially dangerous for pregnant women to have their first CMV infection while carrying the baby.

CMV is part of the herpes virus family, being number five of that group to be specific, but it doesn’t cause the classic herpes symptoms of painful fluid filled blisters. At its worst, at least in most people, it won’t cause much more than what appears to be the common cold. But, like other herpes viruses, it remains in the body for your lifetime and that means that like herpes simplex and varicella zoster (chicken pox or shingles), it could reactivate at any time, especially during times of bodily or emotional stress, and potentially cause problems.CMV1

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Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)

Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) was once a relatively common source of infection and disease in the United States, especially in the western half of the United States, with a handful of western states accounting for almost all infections. This profile radically changed with the introduction of the two dose Hepatitis A vaccine in 1995 which has greatly reduced the number of infections and illnesses associated with HAV in the United States, although because immunization isn’t universal, although by every rational measure it should be, cases continue to occur.HAV 3 Continue reading

Blood-Borne Pathogens

While there are multiple pathogenic organisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other more exotic organisms such as prions, that could potentially be transmitted from an infected person to uninfected people through blood contact, the term Blood-Borne Pathogens is most commonly used to refer to the “Big 3,” by which is meant Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), recognized by all reputable medical authorities, as the virus that causes the disease known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Controlling the potential spread of these infections due to the contamination of environmental surfaces with blood or other body fluids that can transmit the infections, through the thorough and complete destruction of the causative viruses is one of the backbones of effective infection control in institutions as well as in homes.BBP Continue reading

Ebola has been in the news a great deal lately, and that makes sense because it is always big news when this particularly scary virus makes an appearance. Yes, it can be deadly and many people in an isolated part of the world have contracted it. And yes, there is now a case contracted right here in the United States, but regardless of the hype, this infection remains VERY UNLIKELY to affect or infect most Americans. The risks are well known and all Westerners who have contracted the disease have worked directly with patients either in West Africa or in the United States/Europe. For the VAST MAJORITY of people, this is not something to be overly concerned about unless you travel and work in health care in Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia, or unless you are a healthcare worker in the United States who is caring for an Ebola infected person. This amounts to very few Americans. The Ebola hysteria is mostly unjustified and the best thing most Americans could do about Ebola is relax and stop watching too much cable news!

But one good thing about Americans focusing on an infectious disease is that it provides an excellent reminder about bacteria and viruses that ACTUALLY ARE a real threat in the United States. There are several infections that cause serious illness and even death in hundreds, if not thousands of Americans every year but because these are not at the top of the news hour, people might not be paying as much attention as they should. Infections like MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), Hepatitis C, and Influenza are all very real threats to many Americans, far more serious and real a threat than Ebola is ever likely to be in this country. But since we live where we do, we can take precautions against these much more likely killers through influenza vaccines and through careful and consistent disinfection and cleaning of shared surfaces and objects which might carry infections like influenza or MRSA.

A great thing to do if you are worried about Ebola is to refocus on these very real threats to your health and safety instead of the remote risk of Ebola. Then, once you think about and learn about these much more likely risks, take realistic steps to protect yourself with help from  An informed person is already one less likely to become ill from one of the real threats facing us in America today. Learn more, protect yourself and those you love, and rest easier knowing you are protected!


Candida is a very common genus of fungi which take on the form of yeast instead of mold. There are many species of Candida, probably about 20 or so, although it is possible more are yet to be discovered and described. C. albicans is probably the one species of yeast that is most likely to cause an infection in humans and it is actually pretty common, especially among some people. However, despite some of the hysteria you might encounter, especially on the Internet from Dr. Google and from some so-called holistic or homeopathic “medical” practitioners, Candida is usually not a significant problem for most people.Candida 1 Continue reading


Trichophyton is the fancy scientific name for a group of fungi that are very familiar to most people even if they don’t recognize the clinical name. Typical encounters with Trichophyton include, but are not necessarily limited to: athlete’s foot, jock itch, nail fungus, ringworm, and similar afflictions, all of which are quite common amongst people, even those who consider themselves quite clean, and in fact, their penchant for bathing may in fact be a part of the problem. Continue reading

The vaccinia virus was once very common in the United States and then for many years it became essentially unheard of. Now, the occurrence of vaccinia infection is increasing once again, although still rare, it is now known to occur primarily in the families and intimate contacts of members of the military and other emergency response personnel. Unlike most any other appearance of an infectious agent, vaccinia occurs only because it was, at some point and to at least some people, intentionally introduced, and that only because of political changes in the world today. The problematic infections are secondary ones among those never intended to be exposed, and those infections can be life-threatening among some individuals. Stumped? Vaccinia is closely related to one of the most dreaded viral killers in all of human history: smallpox.

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