If you’re a hockey fan, you are probably well aware of the mumps
outbreak going on in the NHL. I’m a
football fan….so I had no clue, not until Canada’s beloved Sidney
Crosby came down with the mumps this week.
That announcement hit my Facebook stream like a cross check from behind….
The outbreak seems to have started among the Anaheim Ducks
in mid-October. The Ducks played the
Minnesota Wild, the Wild then played the St. Louis Blues, the Blues played the
Rangers….and so forth and so on.
Apparently, the Ducks missed the alert sent from the local health unit that
had been issued in September. With the
announcement of Crosby falling victim, the official tally of confirmed cases in
the NHL is 13.
As noted by the transmission within the NHL, mumps is a
contagious infection that is caused by the mumps virus. It spreads from person to person via droplets
of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person,
usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks, but I suppose spitting would
work too! The mumps virus can also be
spread indirectly when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without
washing their hands and if someone else touches the same surface and rubs their
mouth or nose.
The incubation period of mumps can range from 12 – 25 days
so the chances are highly likely that a few more NHL players will end up with
mumps for Christmas and be wishing they got a lump of coal instead! People with mumps are considered most
infectious a few days before the onset of the characteristic swelling of the
parotid glands to 5 days after their glands begin to swell. As a vaccine preventable disease, mumps is
generally rare in North America. In 1964
there was an estimated 212,000 cases while in 2012 only 229 were reported. While people who have had mumps in the past
are considered to be protected for life, there are a few unlikely individuals
who are infected again.
The best way to prevent the mumps is by being
vaccinated. Two doses of the vaccine
provides a 88% effectiveness in prevention the disease. Other means to prevent infection include
minimizing close contact with infected individuals, ensuring those infected
stay at home and limit contact with others, frequent hand hygiene, covering
your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing – or sneezing or coughing into
your sleeve, refrain from sharing drinks or eating utensils and regularly clean
surfaces that are frequently touched with a registered disinfectant.
Environmental hygiene is particularly important as the virus
can live on contaminated surfaces (e.g. door knobs, faucet handles, light
switches….locker room benches) or personal items (e.g. cups, utensils or
water bottles) for hours or days. These
surfaces can help spread the virus to those who are not immune, especially if there
is sharing of contaminated items or touching of contaminated surfaces and then
touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Perhaps the NHL needs to look at their cleaning and disinfection
programs within the locker room and personal hygiene measures while sitting in
close proximity on the bench. An
interesting thought (being a new hockey mom), since I know firsthand that
covering your mouth while wearing a hockey helmet can prove to be difficult!
There are times when I think I have a great idea for a blog,
but know that it is sometimes best to allow the idea to “percolate”
to ensure that I temper the message. The
idea I had for my blog this week was based on a question from the field. A question so outrageous that following the
last three weeks’ focus on Apathy, the
title that popped to mind was “From Apathy to Stupidity”….. I think I will need to
“percolate” a little more as I think the title needs to be tempered.. I will say however, that there are times
that the hoopla created by media, can make people take leave of their senses
which leaves Infection Preventionists, the EXPERTS in understanding outbreak
management, to be chasing after information that is distracting them from more
So, as it’s been awhile since I have written a #FF blog and
I love being able to share and promote great blogs and great bloggers, here are
some blogs and/or blog entries that I think you should check out!
Down Under – VDU’s Blog is a blog I was recently introduced to thanks to
Twitter and @McKayIM. Aside from having
great blog topics, if you take the time to look at their website you will find
a wealth of information on viruses. Be
sure to check it out!
Perspectives, a new blog (e.g. launched in 2014) written by Heather Lander
(@PathogenPhD) is dedicated to exploring the world of emerging infectious
disease – and as one would expect, has focused much time and effort on
Ebola. I thought this was a perfect
addition as my “question of the week” relates to Ebola. I would definitely be checking this blog out
I hope you’ll check these blogs out! Don’t forget it’s Friday so #FF and tweet!
Summer is generally time for a little rest, relaxation
and catching up on the book list we have compiled throughout the year. As we have done for the last several years,
during the summer months we review a couple books that we think are worth
reading….or at least thinking about reading.
For those of you who attended APIC and waited patiently in line for a
signed copy of this book by none other than Didier Pittet, you may already have
it finished. For those of you who did
not attend APIC or who may have brought it home but have not yet cracked the
spine, I hope this book review entices you to include it as one of your summer
Clean Hands Save Lives was written by Thierry Crouzet and
explores the life work and role that Didier Pittet has played in advancing how
hospitals think about hand hygiene in his attempt to follow his dream of saving
lives through clean hands. A
storyteller, Crouzet takes us on a ride through Pittet’s childhood as a boy
scout, soccer and hockey team captain, and party organizer in medical
school. As the story unfolds we are
introduced to a doctor who through observation of nursing and other staff going
about their daily duties begins to understand how infections are transmitted.
Therein lies Pittet’s breakthrough thought; “instead
of striving to kill microbes in wounds, wouldn’t it be more reasonable not to
put them there in the first place?” As readers we are invited to follow
the story of how Pittet carries people along with him in his question of
“Clean Hands to Save Lives”, first at his own hospital where he saw
firsthand that improved hand hygiene compliance lead to decreases in HAI rates
and his eventual success of carrying this message around the globe.
However, as Pittet learned, success is not simple or
immediate. As he came to learn, one
should not impose their ideas on others, but educate and incite to gain their
interest and agreement. Crouzet captures
not only the successes, but balances the book by including the roadblocks that
Pittet encountered along his journey and how Pittet looked to the learn from
the father of hand hygiene, Ignaz Semmelweiss, so that he may avoid the perils
and pitfalls Semmelweiss encountered in his attempt to bring hand hygiene main
Pittet instead chose to offer alcohol solutions to
hospital employees, educate on their benefits and provided supporting evidence
to prove that they could be used successfully to improve infection rates. In fact, in the first three years of his
program, consumption of alcohol hand products increased by 5-fold while HAIs
were reduced by 50%!
Pittet’s passion is hand hygiene and he drew on the
experience of Semmelweiss to better understand how to develop a hand hygiene
program and gain buy in. Perhaps after
reading the book you may draw upon Pittet’s experience of implementing a hand
hygiene program to either improve upon the program at your facility or develop
a program based around your passion whatever that may be!