Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Good Read! The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl

Dr. Rudolf Weigl was an eccentric and accomplished Polish zoologist, infectious diseases specialist and immunologist who developed a typhus vaccine. Dr. Ludwik Fleck was an assistant of Weigl. Both worked independently, under duress (Fleck in Buchenwald concentration camp), to produce typhus vaccines for the Nazi cause. 


The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl explores typhus from a sociopolitical perspective and chronicles the horrors of the Nazi medical corps and war machine. 

However, the story has a fantastic twist: 

Dr. Weigl is the medical version of Oskar Schindler. He hid the Polish intelligentsia from the Gestapo by hiring them to work in his laboratory. Dr. Fleck duped the Nazis by producing bogus vaccines for their troops and the SS. Both survived the Nazi regime.

Brilliance in the face of horrific adversity.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Medical Literary Messenger Spring/Summer 2016 Issue Published!

As Editor in Chief of the Medical Literary Messenger, I am proud to announce the publication of the Spring/Summer 2016 issue. 

The free PDF download is available here

All content, present and archived, is available in PDF, MOBI and EPUB format.

Special kudos to Brie Dubinsky, Rachel Van Hart and Dr. Megan Lemay for their invaluable coordination and work on this issue. 

The content is truly superb.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Collateral (Horizontal) Benefits of a Vertical Infection Prevention Intervention

Horizontal infection control programs, as summarized here, employ evidence based strategies (hand hygiene, CHG bathing, checklists etc) to decrease the risk of infection from all pathogens transmitted by the same and most common mechanism: contact. This is the backbone of our very successful hospital infection prevention program at VCU Health.

Here is an article in National Geographic summarizing an MRSA infection prevention initiative at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals featuring my esteemed colleague Eli Perencevich.

The goal was to reduce MRSA, but 'collateral benefit' on other pathogens was observed. Kudos to them.

The interventions were multiple, including MRSA screening/isolation, emphasis on HH and expansion of the infection control staff.  Although MRSA was the target, investments made in the infection prevention platform resembled a horizontal infection prevention program.

In the case of the VA, much of the control MRSA initiative was from a top-down mandate.

In most cases, however, why not start with the horizontal approach first, then target problem pathogens afterwards? 

Reducing infections, broadly, is the overarching goal.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Animals in Healthcare Facilities: If Done Right, The Infection Prevention Risk is Minimal


Here the clip from a video interview that was done at the SHEA 2016 Spring Conference

In my opinion, if done properly, as summarized in this SHEA publication , the infection control risk of animal assisted therapy in the hospital is very, very small. 

The benefits outweigh the risks.


Vibrio vulnificus- Back in the News

In June I wrote a brief blog post about Vibrio vulnifucus infections, about having seen two cases in one week. By no means do I feel that there is a heightened incidence, particularly in the Tidewater area of Virginia, however, there appears to be some concern.

Here is a recent television appearance related to Vibrio infections in Virginia.

Of note, the serious Vibrio vulnifucus generally occur in people with underlying chronic diseases, such as liver disease or diabetes, not healthy folks enjoying a day at the beach or river.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

VCU News- Medicine on a Mission: VCU Global Health and Health Disparities Program Honduras 2016 News Highlight and Video

Here is the VCU News highlight about our 2016 VCU Global Health and Health Disparities Program Honduras trip.

Thank you to Leha Byrd, from VCU News, for joining us in country and producing the news report.

The video is below.




Ignore Your Front Office Staff at Your Own Peril...

L-R: Krystle Shaw, Peggy Andrews, the Blogger, Nadia Masroor,
Missing : Lisa Hassmer
The start of a new academic year (July) is an opportune time to pause and acknowledge the phenomenal work done by my staff so that the VCU Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Infection Prevention Program can succeed.

In the last two years both services have been resuscitated and revamped. 

The hiring of multiple new physicians, personnel and expansion of fellowship, clinic schedules, research, education and infection prevention initiatives would simply not be possible without Nadia Masroor (Research/Program Coordinator), Peggy Andrews (Executive Assistant), Krystle Shaw (Administrative Assistant) and Lisa Hassmer (Executive Secretary Hospital Infection Prevention Program).

They fuel the locomotive.

Thank you-