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Entries in Diarrhea (3)

Monday
Jan022012

Flushing Toilet Can Spread Diarrhea Disease

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Flushing the toilet with the lid up can spray diarrhea-causing bacteria into the air, according to a new study of hospital toilets.

Researchers from Leeds Teaching Hospitals in the U.K. detected C. difficile—a germ that can cause diarrhea and even life-threatening inflammation of the colon—nearly 10 inches above the toilet seat after flushing lidless hospital toilets. C. difficile is frequently found in hospitals and long-term care facilities where antibiotics are common.

“The highest numbers of C. difficile were recovered from air sampled immediately following flushing, and then declined 8-fold after 60 [minutes] and a further 3-fold after 90 [minutes],” the researchers reported in the January issue of the Journal of Hospital Infection.

C. difficile was spotted on surrounding surfaces 90 minutes after flushing, with an average of 15 to 47 contaminated toilet water droplets landing in the nearby environment, according to the study.

“Lidless conventional toilets increase the risk of C. difficile environmental contamination, and we suggest that their use is discouraged, particularly in settings where [C. difficile infection] is common,” the authors wrote.

Although the study focused on hospital toilets, experts say the findings extend to public restrooms and households.

“Almost everywhere we go, except in some public spaces, we have lids on our commodes. But not everyone puts them down when they flush,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Doing so will reduce this type of environmental contamination very substantially.”

A 2004 episode of Myth Busters found lidless toilets do indeed spray water onto surrounding surfaces—including toothbrushes—but concluded the health risk was negligible. In fact “control” toothbrushes removed from the restroom during the flush were also speckled with fecal bacteria.

In recent years, C. difficile infections have increased in number and severity—a trend Schaffner said might wane if more people opt to drop the lid.

“We don’t know this, but it is intriguing,” Schaffner said. “Just remember: put the lid down before you flush and always wash your hands.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Tuesday
Sep272011

Pools, Playgrounds Distribute Diarrhea, Disease

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Kids love wading pools and playgrounds with sprinklers, but so do parasites.

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  links recreational water parks to a record 134 outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in two years. That’s 13,966 cases of watery diarrhea.

Cryptosporidiosis, or crypto for short, is caused by cryptosporidium -- a microscopic parasite spread through feces. Pool and fountain water gets contaminated "when a person has a fecal incident in the water or fecal material washes off of a swimmer’s body,” the CDC report explains.

The parasite can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, dehydration and even nausea.

The outbreaks reported by the CDC occurred in 2007 and 2008 -- the most recent years for which statistics are available. The report reveals a 72 percent hike in crypto cases compared to the previous two-year period.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May162011

Diarrhea, Digestive Ills Relieved With Fecal Transplants

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Demonstrating that even in medicine, "one man's trash is another man's treasure," patients with debilitating diarrhea are finding relief, if not cures, after receiving bacteria-rich stool from the guts of healthy donors, usually close relatives.

Despite the gross-out factor, fecal transplants are simple enough to perform at home using such inexpensive tools as a bottle of saline, a two-quart enema kit from the local drugstore and a standard kitchen blender.

The approach, also called fecal bacteriotherapy, is hardly new.  Dr. Ben Eiseman, the longtime chief of surgery at Denver General Hospital, reported in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in 1958 that enemas containing feces from healthy colons successfully replenished good digestive bacteria in patients suffering from pseudomembranous colitis, a painful colon inflammation associated with a bacterium called Clostridium difficile.

Dr. Thomas J. Borody, from the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, Australia, reported in the same journal in 2003 that "human probiotic infusions" reversed ulcerative colitis in six patients, each of whom had been sick at least five years with the inflammatory condition.  All remained disease-free in one to 13 years of follow-up.

In recent years, the number of chronic infections with C. diff has increased, often from prolonged antibiotic use and growing antibiotic resistance, especially among the elderly and those in hospitals and long-term care facilities.  That has driven renewed interest in fecal transplantation, although it's still not covered by health insurance plans.

North American gastroenterologists and infectious disease experts, mindful that the technique has been used in Europe, have been offering it as last-ditch therapy for patients wasting away from debilitating diarrhea that hasn't responded to even the most powerful and most expensive antibiotics, such as vancomycin.

Doctors infuse patients' colons using an enema or colonoscope (and sometimes the stomach using a nasogastric tube) with solutions of water or saline spiked with donor feces that have been screened for parasites, HIV, hepatitis, and other illness-causing microbes.  They suggest donors should be someone you know and trust, like a spouse, a parent or a child, although a few institutions are experimenting with donations collected from healthy men or women who have been tested and found free of major diseases.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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