H1N1 cases in health workers show need for protection

first_imgJun 18, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – An analysis of novel H1N1 influenza cases in healthcare workers in the early weeks of the epidemic shows that half of them were probably infected on the job, and most of those weren’t using respiratory protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.Among 26 cases for which detailed information was available, 13 of the healthcare personnel (HCP) were believed to have been infected in a healthcare setting, the CDC said. Only three of the infected workers reported using a surgical mask or an N-95 respirator.The findings suggest that health workers are being infected both at work and in the community and that healthcare facilities need to reinforce messages about current infection control recommendations, the CDC said in the Jun 19 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.Part of the problem is that potentially infectious patients aren’t always being identified as soon as they arrive at a clinical or hospital, so medical workers are not promptly alerted about the need to don protective garb, CDC officials said at a news briefing today.Exposure factorsThe CDC had received reports of 48 novel flu infections in HCP by May 13, and 26 of those included detailed information about possible exposures to the virus. Two of the 26 workers were hospitalized, but none required intensive care, and all recovered.Six of the 26 workers reported caring for a patient with H1N1 flu, and another six cared for a patient with a respiratory illness, the CDC said. Six workers reported close contact with someone who had the virus or a respiratory illness, and four had traveled recently to Mexico.Of the 13 personnel judged likely to have been infected at work, 12 probably or possibly caught the virus from a patient, and the other person probably was infected by another healthcare worker, the CDC reported.As for the other 13 personnel, 11 were believed to have been infected outside work, and the other two had no reported exposures either on or off the job.Among the 12 people believed to have been infected by patients, 11 gave information on their use of personal protective equipment (PPE) while working. Only three of these reported always using a surgical mask or an N-95 respirator. Five reported always wearing gloves, but none reported consistent use of eye protection. Nor did any worker report always using gloves, gown, and a mask or respirator.However, the findings do not prove that the workers were infected because they didn’t use PPE, the report states.Infection control recommendationsBecause of the lack of a vaccine and limited data on the novel virus’s behavior, the CDC currently recommends that at-risk HCP use N-95 respirators, eye protection, and contact precautions, in addition to the usual infection control precautions for seasonal flu, the report notes. The latter include vaccination, isolation of patients in single rooms, and standard and droplet precautions.Among the barriers to the use of proper infection control precautions, the CDC says, is failure to recognize patients and activities that warrant such precautions. Dr. Michael Bell commented at today’s news briefing. He is associate director for infection control in the CDC’s Divisionof Healthcare and Quality Promotion, National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases.”Probably the single most important thing is that infectious patients be identified at the front door,” whether in a hospital or an outpatient clinic, Bell said.He added later, “One of the patterns we’re beginning to see is that healthcare facilities are not promptly identifying potentially infectious patients.” In normal circumstances, with no indication that PPE is needed, “there’s no way to expect those personnel to do this consistently. That identification of a potentially infectious patient’s first step is absolutely essential for this to work.”The number of novel flu infections in people involved in healthcare has grown to 81 since May 13, Bell reported. He said the CDC does not have detailed information on the additional cases, but there are no signs of a “sudden increase or an alarming change in pattern.””We are not seeing anything to indicate that HCP are overly represented among cases in this country,” he added.The MMWR article says that about 4% of confirmed and probable H1N1 cases in adults up to May 13 were in HCP, whereas about 9% of working adults in the United States work in healthcare.Disease severity in young peopleIn other comments at today’s briefing, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the CDC’s Influenza Division, said the robust immune response of young people may have something to do with the finding that the virus is hitting younger people harder than older groups. Last week Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization, said most of the severe and fatal cases are occurring in people between 30 and 50.In response to a question, Jernigan noted that older people may have some protection from the virus because of previous exposures to other H1N1 viruses, distant relatives of the new strain.”In terms of the younger individuals, it may be that the severity of the disease is due to the robust immune response of younger individuals,” he added. “But at this point we don’t have any specific information to tease that out. But I would say that the serology supports the notion that there may be protection among older individuals, and the severity of the disease, notably in Mexico City, suggests that the robust immune response in the younger may be responsible for the severity.”On another topic, Jernigan said it’s too early to tell whether the novel H1N1 viruses will crowd out seasonal flu viruses and become predominant in the southern hemisphere’s current flu season. He said the data from some areas suggest that the novel virus is becoming dominant, but some laboratories are testing only for that strain, so the true picture isn’t clear. In some other areas where surveillance has been done for a long time, authorities are finding that the novel virus is predominant but that seasonal strains are also circulating, he said.”Right now we don’t have enough information to say that there is a replacement occurring, and at this point we’re expecting that there’ll be multiple subtypes circulating this fall,” he said.See also: Transcripts of CDC press briefings on novel H1N1 fluhttp://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/press/last_img read more

Student wins film award

first_imgA USC School of Cinematic Arts student was honored with a Princess Grace Award for his work in film and digital animation on Wednesday at a gala in New York City. Willie Williams, a graduate student studying animation and digital arts, is one of 21 emerging artists from a variety of fields including theater, dance and film that received an award.The award was presented by the Princess Grace Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established by Prince Rainier III of Monaco in honor of his late wife, Princess Grace Kelly, a well-known supporter of the arts and former Hollywood movie star.Williams received a $7,002 scholarship — the amount Williams estimated his thesis project would cost — from the foundation to fund his thesis film project, titled Our Legacy, as part of the award.“Award recipients are chosen through a panel process by professional experts in each of the three categories. They get together and watch all of the submissions and then ultimately decide who deserves an award,” said Christine Kite, communications manager for the Princess Grace Foundation.Williams, who received his BFA from Texas A&M-Kingsville and is currently enrolled in the MFA animation and digital arts program at USC, said he was completely surprised to find out he won an award.“I had no idea I was going to win the award. I’m competing against people from across the nation, kids who study at schools like the California Institute of [the] Arts, who are all doing interesting films,” Williams said. “In my mind it was a shot in the dark if I was going to actually win.”Williams said he started his career in fine arts as a printmaker, forging stills that conveyed a story through a single image. Upon suggestions from his friends and colleagues, he made the transition into filmmaking, focusing on digital animation.“I definitely did my research when I started thinking about film school. I narrowed it down to a couple of schools, but I ended up choosing USC because you can’t beat the faculty here as well as the availability of all the different types of departments in the film school,” he said.Williams was also a finalist in the 2010 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmakers Competition for storyboards and layout for his work My Hero. He also screened his first animated film Sold at the Director’s Guild Theater in Hollywood in May. He said he hopes to open his own studio after completing his studies.“I want to employ fresh talent in the industry so that they can have a chance to spread their wings,” Williams said. “My studio would ultimately be geared towards animation, but obviously some knowledge of live-action films is essential as well.”Williams said he attributes his successes to the opportunities given to him at USC.“Going to USC film school was something I saw that I could capitalize on. The faculty here means everything to me,” Williams said. “They are truly amazing and the best part of the school, in my opinion. They make me love what I do.”Kathy Smith, chair of the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts at SCA, said the school could not think of a more deserving artist for the award.“He has worked extremely hard the past two years while studying at SCA, taking on numerous campus jobs to help support his career and studies,” Smith said in an e-mail. “We are very grateful to the Foundation for their support of our students and in particular for the creative space and financial relief it will allow Willie on his thesis project.”last_img read more

Scherf Named Co-MVC Golfer of the Week

first_imgDrake University golfer Lucas Scherf was named Co-MVC Golfer of the Week Wednesday evening after earning medalist honors in leading the Bulldogs to a tie in the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate. Scherf shot 8-under par through two rounds before the event was cut short due to inclement weather.A second round 65 propelled Scherf into an individual title in the event. Scherf broke 70 strokes in both rounds at Twin Oaks and is the first Drake golfer to post multiple sub-70 rounds in an event since 2014-15. Scherf birdied seven holes in the second round with just one bogey.The Bulldogs return to action at the Golden Horseshoe Intercollegiate in Williamsburg, Va. hosted by William & Mary, March 24-26.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more