Infectious Diseasesat the Workplace HAMMER Series January 16, 2009 L.B. Sandy Rock, MD, MPH
Infectious Diseases (including MRSA) at the Workplace A workplace hazard that has often been overlooked is the transmission of infectious diseases among workers. This presentation addresses some of the more likely contagious diseases (e.g. the common cold and influenza), as well as those about which concern among workers often arises (e.g. MRSA---methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Other topics include hepatitis, herpes and “strep.” Emphasis is placed on workplace hygiene, such as hand washing, cough etiquette and surface decontamination.
“Infectious” • Communicable by infection, as from one person to another or from one part of the body to another • Directly • Indirectly
Disease • Dis---a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force • Ease---we all know what that is
Microbes • Living creatures that you can only see with a microscope • Fungi • Bacteria • Viruses • Others • They’re everywhere!
Specific Infectious Diseases at the Workplace • Colds • Virus; easily spread directly (cough, sneeze) and indirectly (virus on hand-doorknob or other material-hand-face-sick) • Influenza (flu; the real deal) • Virus; very contagious (virulent) directly or indirectly • Get your flu shot; wash your hands; cover your cough; stay home first 2 days of illness
(Disease---cont’d) • Herpes • Virus; lip, genitals; blisters, swollen glands; direct OR indirect contact (less likely) • Hepatitis A (many other types) • Virus; “fecal-oral route” • Bloodborne Pathogens • Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV • Viruses; no cures; some treatment; avoid if you can; avoid contact with body fluids, wash hands; Hep B vaccine (no C or HIV)
MRSA • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus • Bacterium (-a) • “staphylo” = Greek for grapes • “coccus” = round • “aureus” = gold
“Strep” • Bacterium (-a) • Streptococcus---many types • Strepto = chain (Gr.) • Coccus = round
How do you stay well…? • A study published in the British Medical Journal in November found that hand washing may be more effective than vaccines at preventing the spread of illnesses such as the flu. • Henry the Handwashing Fool • Hands Together -- CDC
A word about surface decontamination • Weak hypochlorite (bleach) solution works…but toxic and caustic • In a pinch, can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. • Best: mix of ***-alkonium chloride and alcohol
???????? • Antibacterial soap? Use or no?