Dentist Infection Control

Florida Infection Control Consulting Services Blog

Sep 8, 2017

University of Florida Researchers Working to Develop New Sepsis Treatment

Researches from the University of Florida are participating in a clinical trial that evaluates whether an anti-cancer medication can serve as an effective treatment for sepsis and septic shock, according to a UF report.

Sepsis is the body's extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening, and without timely treatment can rapidly cause tissue damage, organ failure and death.

Researchers are working to determine whether an immunotherapy drug used to treat patients with types of non-small cell lung cancer and other variants of the disease can also treat sepsis patients. The drug blocks a protein, which then boosts the immune system.

As data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality notes, sepsis (septicemia) was the most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals in 2013, accounting for nearly $24 billion in aggregate hospital costs. This is more than $7 billion higher than the second most expensive condition treated (osteoarthritis).

The clinical trial involves organizations from throughout the country. The report indicates that UF is the only center in Florida recruiting participants for the trial at this time.

Aug 3, 2017

Florida Confirms First Sexually Transmitted Case of Zika in 2017

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has announced it has confirmed the first sexually transmitted Zika case in 2017.

The case was confirmed in Pinellas County. The DOH reported that the individual's partner recently traveled to Cuba and had fallen ill with symptoms consistent with Zika. Both tested positive for Zika. The virus can remain in semen for months after infection, even without symptoms, and can be spread to partners during that period of time.

Following confirmation, the DOH stated it notified mosquito control, which is rolling out mosquito reduction activities.

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, which is a sign of incomplete brain development. Physicians have identified other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth.

There is no evidence of ongoing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes in any area of Florida at this time.

As of August 1, the total number of Zika cases reported in Florida in 2017, which is broken down as follows:
  • Travel-related Infections of Zika — 90
  • Locally acquired infections exposed in 2016, tested in 2017 — 6
  • Undetermined exposed in 2016, tested in 2017 — 22
For five things you should know about Zika, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.

Apr 26, 2017

Infection Control Expert Phenelle Segal to Present at Florida Society of ASCs Annual Meeting

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, founder of Florida-based Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), will present at the 2017 Florida Society of Ambulatory Surgical Centers (FSASC) Annual Conference & Trade Show.

Read the announcement on the ICCS website by clicking here.

Dec 14, 2016

CDC Declares Florida Zika-Free

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared Florida to be free of the Zika virus, but emphasized the need for caution.

The CDC noted, "There have been no new cases of local Zika virus transmission identified in South Miami Beach for more than 45 days, suggesting that the risk of Zika virus infection is no longer greater than in the rest of Miami-Dade County."

Miami-Dade County continues to carry a yellow area designation, meaning it's a cautionary area. Pregnant women in Miami-Dade County remain eligible for Zika virus testing.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden praised Florida's rapid response and comprehensive mosquito control program for interrupting Zika transmission, but noted that "... we must stay vigilant and also take what we have learned and be prepared for next season."

As of December 8, a total of 4,575 cases of Zika had been reported in the continental United States and Hawaii, according to CDC. These cases include 185 locally transmitted mosquito-borne cases in Florida, 38 cases believed to be the result of sexual transmission, and one case that was the result of a laboratory exposure.

While Florida has been declared Zika-free, the same cannot be said for all U.S. states. Texas just confirmed four new local cases.

Nov 17, 2016

CDC Identifies Antimicrobial Stewardship Program for University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospitals as Model

The week of November 14-20, 2016, has been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "Get Smart About Antibiotics Week." This annual one-week observance is intended to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use.

As the CDC reports, at least 30% of antibiotics prescribed in hospital clinic, doctor's offices and emergency departments are unnecessary. This equates to 47 million unnecessary prescriptions written in those settings. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of the infections.

Such statistics emphasize the need for organizations to develop and maintain antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs. As of 2015, about 50% of all hospitals had instituted an AMS program. The White House issued a "National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria" in 2015, which included a goal of 100% of hospitals establishing an AMS program by 2020.

CDC provides links to a few websites of hospital AMS programs throughout the country to serve as examples intended to assist organizations with developing their own AMS programs. Included is a link to the AMS program website for the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospitals.

The program is named "GotaBug." The following are steps the program advises hospital staff members to take to help reduce antimicrobial resistance:
  • Take an antibiotic "Time Out" as part of your daily rounds
  • Reassess antimicrobial therapy based on cultures and susceptibilities
  • Pick the correct drug, dose and duration
  • De-escalate broad spectrum antimicrobials whenever possible
  • Stop antimicrobials when no longer needed
  • Get your annual flu shots
  • Wash your hands

Florida-based infection control consultant Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, president and founder of Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), and the ICCS team of consultants assist healthcare organizations with the development of AMS programs as part of their ongoing effort to preventing infections. To learn about how ICCS can help your organization, contact ICCS.

Oct 31, 2016

The Role of Personal Protective Equipment in Infection Prevention History

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, president of Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), has contributed a new column to Infection Control Today on personal protective equipment (PPE).

Topics discussed in the column include:
  • Early uses of PPE
  • Guidelines concerning their use
  • PPE in the 21st century
  • Evolution of PPE across the continuum of care
  • Special circumstances for PPE use, specifically Ebola
  • Recent controversies in the surgery setting concerning proper surgical attire

To access the article, click here.

ICCS is a Florida-based provider of infection control consulting for surgery centers, dental offices and many other types of healthcare organizations. Services provided by the ICCS team, led by Phenelle, including developing, implementing and maintaining evidence-based infection prevention and control programs as well as providing educational programs to meet client needs.

Oct 26, 2016

Zika Virus Detected in Blood Donated in Florida

Blood donated and screened in Florida has tested positive for the Zika virus, according to multiple news reports.

This is the only positive Florida test result for donated blood to date. The donation never entered the blood supply.

OneBlood, a blood center serving most of Florida and parts of other states, has tested a sample of every Florida donor's blood for several months.

The American Red Cross announced earlier in the year that it was also conducting blood donor screening.

In its October 24 Zika update, the Florida Department of Health provided the following breakdown of non-travel and travel-related Zika infections to-date in the state:
  • Travel-related infections of Zika — 752
  • Non-travel-related infections of Zika — 169
  • Infections involving pregnant women — 113
  • Out-of-state cases (not Florida residents) — 19
  • Undetermined — 5
  • Total — 1,058
In August, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommended universal testing of donated whole blood and blood components for Zika virus in the United States and its territories.