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2013 Superbug

Nurses Article   (8,457 Views 14 Replies 637 Words)
by MassED MassED, BSN, RN (Member) Member Nurse

MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1 Article; 20,346 Profile Views; 2,636 Posts

In my perusal of the daily internet news, I come across a headline of "superbug" that both captivates and horrifies me. I should be doing chores, studying, or a multitude of other things on my day off from work, but this necessitates more investigation. The deeper I delve into this topic, the more I worry about the immediate future of healthcare and my own community.

Do you think the 2013 Superbug will be Pandemic?

  1. 1. Do you think the 2013 Superbug will be Pandemic?

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2013 Superbug

While I should be studying for my upcoming CEN test date, with coffee in hand, I decide to wander the "science" headlines, as I am apt to do on a warm and sunny Sunday morning. I pay attention to these headlines, as being on the front line in an emergency room; these concerns can become a reality and we need to be prepared for when they make an appearance on our doorstep.

This type of headline, "Superbug," has me perusing in that vein into other outbreaks of the same nature. We have all read of Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, nursing homes, daycare facilities, and restaurants. I suppose we can all avoid salad bars and oysters, but is that realistic? How long would we have to modify our diets and lives?

I come across an eye catching headline of "superbug" on ABC news. It appears more as "SUPERBUG" to my paranoid eye. The Centers for Disease Control is concerned about a new strain of Norovirus, originally found in Australia in 2011, that will strike the United States. Noroviruses are the leading cause of epidemic gastroenteritis, including foodborne outbreaks, in the United States. Most infections were reported by long term care facilities and restaurants. 20% of these infections are foodborne where 28% are unknown transmission routes. Exactly what are these "unknown" transmissions leads my brain down a rabbit hole that I do not have the energy (or stomach) to investigate (Barclay).

This new superbug is a type of Norovirus. Norovirus is a genus of genetically diverse single-stranded RNA, non-enveloped viruses in the Caliciviridae family. Normally with 21 million people affected annually from Norovirus, 800 people die. That is not a troublesome fatality rate compared to trauma or car accidents. What catches my eye about this strain of this virus is the virulence. Due to the lack of immunity to this strain, it is expected that 50% more Americans are going to be affected by this strain. The Norovirus is far more contagious than Influenza. Influenza is airborne via cough and sneezing and has 1000 different particles that can attach to a person. This Norovirus only has 18 particles that can make a person sick. That is scary and amazing (Besser).

That should strike some degree of fear in all the hearts of all medical personnel. We all use "gel in, gel out" hand sanitizers at work, but reading about this new virus, it will not be eliminated by this gel; this brings about a whole new approach to cleanliness and hand washing not just in the workplace, but in our community. The flu virus lives on surfaces for a few hours outside of the body, but this new Norovirus can survive and remain infectious for weeks! My stomach just dropped. Not only do we have to be concerned for the patient influx with this new virus, we have to worry about each other and protecting ourselves from becoming statistics. Bleaching of surfaces, as well as soap and water hand washing remains to be the treatment of choice for this type of virus, but I have to wonder about the potential for pandemic. How will your local Wal-Mart and supermarket sanitize their carts?

There is a vaccine in the finishing stages by Japanese company Takeda Pharmaceuticals, to combat the Norovirus that would provide lifelong protection for 95% of recipients (Bloomberg). That sounds pretty fantastic. Until that time comes, what are your thoughts? How will your facility handle an outbreak?

Where I work we have only 4 isolation rooms. One of the methods to control the outbreak is to isolate ill persons. That would be a near impossibility in my facility. How else could this be controlled?

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BSN, RN in ER.

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Student Mom to Three has 2 years experience.

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Blech. I confess to being scared to death of GI bugs. I work in outpatient endoscopy, so I don't really have to worry *too* much about dealing with it at work. But, I certainly do not want my kids to get some N/V/D superbug. YUCK. I've always thought a cruise would be fun..but really they are just giant petri dishes of this kind of nastiness.

Thanks for ruining my day.....:nailbiting: (didn't there used to be an up-chuckin' emoticon?)

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51 Posts; 2,480 Profile Views

This, too shall pass.

As an ED nurse myself, I recommend going back to basics: Eat at home, wash your own salads, and wash your hands with soap and water in between patients, not with gels that turn your skin into an alligator's. Bleachy wipes are my friends when at work, and I wipe the bed rails and remote control down after an infectious patient leaves the room. Try to eat well and sleep enough so that your immune system can fence off most intruders. When in doubt, read "outdated" infection control policies from the 60's...they still work today!

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How ironic that I start my day with this particular post. Flipping through channels last night I came across the last 5 or so minutes of the movie Contagion. According to the info it is about the CDC racing to find a vaccine for a lethal virus.( I do not believe this is a spoiler for those who haven't seen the movie but just in case, read at your own risk..lol)

The ending scene was a scenario starting with a bulldozer knocking down a tree in what looks like a tropical landscape. The bulldozer knocks down the tree, disturbing the bats' habitat. The bat flies off, takes fruit from a banana plant, makes a new roost above a pig farm, drops a piece of contaminated fruit that the pig eats. The pig is bought for a restaurant. The chef starts to prepare the pig when he is informed that a customer wants a photo with him. The chef, who you remember was preparing the pig, just wipes his hands on his apron and then goes out to great the customer and shakes her hand. The subtitle then reads "Day 1".

May I tell you how disturbing that was to watch. Not being a microbiologist /chemist etc. I can't argue whether or not this is a realistic scenario. However knowing enough about how viruses, bacteria etc are transferred, it didn't seem to far off the mark. May I also add how paranoid this scene made me. I actually woke up this morning and was thinking about all the fruit I had in the kitchen. I was particularly thinking about how last week out of the 10 containers of raspberries I had in the fridge 6 were consumed before I read the article about the cyclospora outbreak in the Midwest and how they think it is related to contaminated produce possibly raspberries!! Cyclospora is a rare microscopic protozoan parasite. I won't take up space describing the details but it is worth a read.

In the last month alone I have already come into contact with two patients who tested positive for the superbug-CDE and I just recently heard/read about it. We were all caught by surprise when we got a call from lab and then a bit anxious when the infectious disease department was racing to figure out the next step. In this case the headlines became a reality.

Being a nurse and being exposed to all these bugs is scary but knowing that something as simple as enjoying a bowl of fruit on your day off could expose you to some rare bug....that is even scarier to me. I may have to re-think my anti-Twinkie stance :down:

Edited by NRSKarenRN
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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1 Article; 2,636 Posts; 20,346 Profile Views

haha Student Mom to Three! Thanks! I love cruises! I don't love any food bar, though! There are hand sanitizers everywhere on cruise ships, just knowing that it won't be effective for this type of virus is really scary!

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1 Article; 2,636 Posts; 20,346 Profile Views

also growing your own fruit/veggies would be an option. If there were time in our days! I suppose raising your own animals for meat too....

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1 Article; 2,636 Posts; 20,346 Profile Views

How ironic that I start my day with this particular post. Flipping through channels last night I came across the last 5 or so minutes of the movie Contagion. According to the info it is about the CDC racing to find a vaccine for a lethal virus.( I do not believe this is a spoiler for those who haven't seen the movie but just in case, read at your own risk..lol)[COLOR=#333333] The ending scene was a scenario starting with a bulldozer knocking down a tree in what looks like a tropical landcape. The bulldozer knocks down the tree, disturbing the bats' habitat. The bat flies off, takes fruit from a banana plant, makes a new roost above a pig farm, drops a piece of contaminated fruit that the pig eats. The pig is bought for a restaurant. The chef starts to prepare the pig when he is informed that a customer wants a photo with him. The chef, who you remember was preparing the pig, just wipes his hands on his apron and then goes out to great the customer and shakes her hand. The subtitle then reads "Day 1". May I tell you how disturbing that was to watch. Not being a microbiologist /chemist etc. I can't argue whether or not this is a realistic scenario. However knowing enough about how viruses, bacteria etc are transferred, it didn't seem to far off the mark. May I also add how paranoid this scene made me. I actually woke up this morning and was thinking about all the fruit I had in the kitchen. I was particularly thinking about how last week out of the 10 containers of raspberries I had in the fridge 6 were consumed before I read the article about the cyclospora outbreak in the Midwest and how they think it is related to contaminated produce possibly raspberries!! Cyclospora is a rare microscopic protozoan parasite. I won't take up space describing the details but it is worth a read.

In the last month alone I have already come into contact with two patients who tested positive for the superbug-CDE and I just recently heard/read about it. We were all caught by surprise when we got a call from lab and then a bit anxious when the infectious disease department was racing to figure out the next step. In this case the headlines became a reality.

Being a nurse and being exposed to all these bugs is scary but knowing that something as simple as enjoying a bowl of fruit on your day off could expose you to some rare bug....that is even scarier to me. I may have to re-think my anti-Twinkie stance:down:

Contagion was a great movie. Also watch "Outbreak." That movie freaked me out when I saw it years ago! Though reading the summary of the movie now, it appears like it is the Ebola virus, which should really scare ALL of us!

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While there are superbug viruses which I am glad scientist are investigating I feel like it is a little out of my control to do much about in my day to day living. Yet several times a year I hear co-workers, BSN nurses with many years of experience whose knowledge I admire, say "My cold won't go away I will ask Dr. so and so to write me a prescription for an antibiotic....he will write me one." Or my favorite...."I aspirated something when eating breakfast and was coughing a lot...I will ask Dr. so and so to write me a prescription for an antibiotic." Both times these nurses got what they asked for!

Maybe if we didn't over use antibiotics (I know they wouldn't work for viruses but perhaps they could help in some way??? stop opportunistic infections??) Stopping the overuse of antibiotics is something real and concrete we can do today to control so many antibiotic resistant bacteria.

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CountyRat specializes in Wilderness Medicine, ICU, Adult Ed..

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While I should be studying for my upcoming CEN test date, with coffee in hand, I decide to wander the "science" headlines, as I am apt to do on a warm and sunny Sunday morning. I pay attention to these headlines, as being on the front line in an emergency room; these concerns can become a reality and we need to be prepared for when they make an appearance on our doorstep.

MassED, I would be careful about those "science news" predictions of doom and gloom. I have been a nurse and a health educator for over 30 years, and in my experience, the press does a lousey job of reporting on issues of science and medicine. Don't get me wrong, some reporters do fine work, but most have no training in science, do not know how to distinquish possible from probable, or association from causation, and are really only interested in writing an attention grabbing story. News media has become more of a form of entertainment than a means of knowing what is happening in the world.

Before you get too scared, assess the source of the information. You will be less afraid, and that alone is good for your health!

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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I agree articles, especially from news media, should be kept in persoective. I am definitely guarded and jaded as far as trust in the major media (there is always bias and prejudice). I am a firm believe in verifying and researching stories. The CDC had some good info, which was included. I didn't check the WHO, where there is usually some information as well. Overall awareness should be the goal. We can see trends in our own environment, for instance, we have had a cluster of allergic/gi reactions to Tuna. That has prompted many of us to suspend our ingestion for now, until more is learned about why this is occurring, but that is another thread...

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While there are superbug viruses which I am glad scientist are investigating I feel like it is a little out of my control to do much about in my day to day living. Yet several times a year I hear co-workers, BSN nurses with many years of experience whose knowledge I admire, say "My cold won't go away I will ask Dr. so and so to write me a prescription for an antibiotic....he will write me one." Or my favorite...."I aspirated something when eating breakfast and was coughing a lot...I will ask Dr. so and so to write me a prescription for an antibiotic." Both times these nurses got what they asked for!

Maybe if we didn't over use antibiotics (I know they wouldn't work for viruses but perhaps they could help in some way??? stop opportunistic infections??) Stopping the overuse of antibiotics is something real and concrete we can do today to control so many antibiotic resistant bacteria.

I agree - after I took microbiology I was able to tell some of my relatives that using antibiotics indiscriminately is a large contributor to superbugs. Unfortunately, they continue to use them ("call so and so to ask them if they have any more x, this cough won't go away" type stuff). Ironically, these are the people who would complain in the event of a superbug or scare the living daylights out of you with the latest health scare they heard about on tv.

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1 Article; 2,636 Posts; 20,346 Profile Views

This is one that really scares me. More than any other one. Ok, well maybe Ebola.

"

[h=1]First Probable Person to Person Transmission of New Bird Flu Virus in China; But H7N9 Is Not Able to Spread Efficiently Between Humans"[/h]

First probable person to person transmission of new bird flu virus in China; But H7N9 is not able to spread efficiently between humans

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