Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

Our expertise is utilized by Infection Preventionists, Public Health Experts, First Responders, Dentists, Physicians, Nurses, Veterinarians, Aestheticians, Environmental Services professionals and janitorial product distributors to develop more sustainable cleaning and disinfection practices in North America.

Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, April 20, 2018

City vs County: Which mice spread life-threatening human illnesses?

You never know where or when inspiration will strike. Today it happened to strike following a very large cup of regular coffee and finding the topic for this week’s blog. It’s possible that since I generally only drink decaf, that the inspiration was more of a caffeine buzz. Either way, I was excited!

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I grew up on a farm. In fact, I am proud to say that both sides of my families come from farming backgrounds. My grandfather was a world renowned livestock auctioneer. I grew up playing in barns, often getting up to no good. I made pets of any farm animal we had and certainly spent my fair share of time finding ways to catch or trap “pests” aka mice, raccoons etc. As a country girl, you learn to deal with all sorts of animals, amphibians, reptiles and insects. You don’t have to like them and may try to avoid them, but I can say with complete honesty that I did not grow up with a fear of any of them.

One would think this would be true of all country kids. Nope. My mother is deathly afraid of snakes.  There are a couple of pranks we have pulled on her that without a doubt would have gone viral. I also had an uncle who hated mice. I cannot confirm if he simply HATED them or if in fact he was afraid of them. Regardless, there is one incident of him hitting a mouse with a gavel (he too was a well-known auctioneer) when a mouse popped out from under his socks in his dresser.

You may wonder why I bring up mice. It goes back to my inspiration for this week’s blog. A study that was published in mBio that looked at house mice and their ability to carry human illnesses. We know that when spring cleaning we need to be cautious about cleaning mouse droppings because of Hantavirus, but now we need to be concerned about more than just Hantavirus. The researchers collected 416 mice over a year and analyzed the droppings of the captured mice.  They we able to identify 149 distinct species of bacteria including those most commonly linked to intestinal upset; C. difficle, E. coli, Shigella and Salmonella.  The researchers also looked at the viral load of the mouse poop and found 36 separate viruses. None of the viruses found were known to infect humans, but were known to infect dogs, chickens and pigs suggesting that there may be some cross over.

I guess it’s true when we say mice are dirty.  Based on this study, researchers are recommending that if you find mouse droppings around your food that you throw it out, unless perhaps you can properly disinfect the packaging (if it’s of a non-porous substrate, like tin cans).

Of interest, the study was conducted in the city, NYC to be exact. Being a country bumpkin, I wonder if country mice would show the same results. I’m going to believe they wouldn’t. While it may not be a proven fact, country kids have better immune systems because we play in the dirt (and manure) from a pretty young age!

Bugging Off!


Friday, April 13, 2018

Rub my feet?

I love having my feet rubbed. It’ more relaxing than my Friday night glass of wine, more satisfying than eating chocolate, candy or chips and dip. Perhaps most importantly, it’s lower in calories so I don’t hate myself in the morning and the person rubbing my feet is exerting energy and burning calories. Basically it’s an all-around win-win. I love having my feet rubbed so much that I have perfected the ability to work in “Rub my feet?” to virtually any conversation and I have found that the threat of having to rub my feet can keep a hockey team of 9 year olds under control (threatening to watch princess movies also works if you need an alternative option).

It was with a bit of personal disappointment that I came across a recently published article “Evaluation of a shoe sole UVC device to reduce pathogen colonization on floors, surfaces and patients” where researchers spiked the soles of 200 pairs of shoes, implanting 3 strains of bacteria and a non-toxigenic strain of Clostridium difficile. The shoes were then randomly assigned to be either exposed to UV-C radiation for 8 seconds or act as controls with no exposure.  According to the researchers, UV-C significantly reduced shoe sole contamination with all bacterial species they tested. Additionally, shoes that were exposed to the UV-C device also significantly reduced the contamination on all floor types and with all species of bacteria tested.

So what’s my take? The study is interesting, but the results are really not surprising. In the last several years there has been quite a bit of research on various UV-C technologies that has shown they are capable of decreasing the bacterial burden on surfaces. It’s entirely logical that these devices would be effective in disinfecting shoes. Are the soles of shoes the areas we should be concerned with disinfecting? Certainly, they could be a potential fomite that are carrying pathogens from place to place, but for now I’ll continued to be more concerned about properly disinfecting objects like stethoscopes, and other hospital equipment which we know for fact can lead to transmission of pathogens. Besides, if I think the soles of shoes (or feet) are a true concern for transmitting pathogens, how can I in good conscious ask someone to rub my feet? These socks need to be used you know!!

Bugging Off!


Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring showers leave bath toys in the dust

According to the calendar, spring has arrived.  According to the temperature outside, I would say that Mother Nature is a bit confused. Today started out at -4C (25F) with snow on my vehicle. In my neck of the woods, the average temperature ranges from a low of 4C (39F) to a high of 12C (53F). It’s April, I do not expect or want to see snow. It’s spring! The birds are singing, plants are starting to show signs of life and I have started spring cleaning and wardrobe changing. For me this also means moving from socks and boots to my favorite bare feet and shoes. My exposed ankles were not loving the cold wind this morning! 

Spring cleaning is quite literally a “thing”.  So much so that last year a survey was conducted online among 1,015 U.S. adults, ages 18+. The survey showed that 66% of respondents participate in spring cleaning. Most people reported that spring cleaning leads to a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of rejuvenation after clearing out all the clutter. Of the areas to be targeted for the most thorough cleaning, the bathroom tends to be the room that gets the most thorough clean (62%), followed by the kitchen at (60%) while bedrooms are close behind at 58%.

After reading a study that was just published in Biofilms and Microbiomes, I’m glad to hear that our bathrooms are the areas that get the most attention, but suspect some of the germiest items are overlooked!  I mean who thinks that our beloved rubber ducky would be the harbinger of doom. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your train of thought, scientific curiosity knows no bounds.  Those who have a passion to understand biofilms know that any plastic material that is dunked in bathwater provide ideal conditions for bacterial and fungal growth. Yes, those cute little squeezie toys that we so love to suck water into and then squirt it out to peals of belly laughs from our sweet little loved ones can hold dense growths of bacteria and fungi not to mention murky water that may also come squirting out.

Over an 11 week period the researchers exposed some of the toys to clean water and others dirty water containing soap and body fluids.  The results were unappetizing to say the least. When they cut the toys open they found between 5 and 75 MILLION cells per cm2. Regardless of water, 80% of the toys were found to contain potentially pathogenic bacteria including Pseudomonas and Legionella.  All toys exposed to the dirty water were found to have fungal contamination, but don’t think that made the “clean-water” toys better….60% of them were found to have fungal contamination.

Should we ban the duck?  I’m not sure about that, but then my son has hit the age where he’s not playing with bath toys. If I were to do it again, I may consider twice what types of toys I buy to play with or at the very least try to find a way to plug any holes so that water cannot get inside!  Why do I say that?  Well, as the saying goes…a picture is worth a thousand words….and the picture for this blog are from my son’s bath toys that we still have that have not be played with in well over a year.   Who know a Hippo could be so gross looking inside!

Bugging Off!


PS – you can be assured, the bath toys are being swept out in this year’s spring cleaning!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cholera Comes to Canada

Yes, you read that correctly. Cholera and Canada are not words you read together with any frequency these days. In the 1800’s, Cholera killed at least 20,000. Today in my province we may see one case per year and even then, all cases have been found to be as a result of being exposed to cholera in a country where it is endemic.  

Cholera is caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with fecal matter. The infection can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even lead to extreme dehydration and death. While there have not been any reported deaths, this is exactly what has happened in Canada’s most western province, British Columbia (BC).  While not a huge number, at least four people have been infected with cholera last week.  It is believed that the illness is tied to eating herring eggs that were harvested on the coast of Vancouver Island. 

Herring and herring eggs have always been an important part of the BC fishery. On the coast, herring eggs are gathered using hemlock branches, seaweed or on kelp. They are nutritious and delicious and are part of an important industry for many coastal communities.  For many, herring egg season is often highly anticipated with people waiting on the docks for their first taste of the season.

Unfortunately this year, shortly after spawning and collection of the eggs, a public warning was issued by health authorities after four confirmed cases of cholera on Vancouver Island linked to the consumption of herring eggs.  The warning advises people not to eat herring eggs from French Creek to Qualicum Bay on the east coast of Vancouver Island and as a result of the warning, the Department of Fisheries has issued an emergency closure of herring egg harvest in the area. The outbreak is associated only with eating herring eggs laid in marine environments such as those deposited on kelp, not herring eggs harvested directly from fish. The bacteria that causes cholera is not killed by freezing so people are being asked to have their herring eggs tested before eating.

Thankfully, no new cases of cholera have been identified, but this outbreak highlights the fact that our oceans, lakes and rivers are under pressure from our abuse and misuse.  We need to pull up our socks and treat our resources with respect because if we don’t, they will bite back!

Bugging Off!


Friday, March 23, 2018

When best laid plans get ruined…

I recently read a social post “I’m a perfectionist with a procrastinator complex. Someday I’m going to be awesome!”. I really wish I was witty enough to come up with these types of sayings, but am so thankful that someone is and that someone is just like me! I like to be organized. I like to be perfect and without a doubt I love to procrastinate. I tell myself I work better under pressure...

This week I was organized. I knew exactly what the topic of this week’s blog was going to be. I knew it on Monday. Tuesday, I could have written the blog but decided to wait until Thursday as that’s when I usually write it. Well….last night was spent in the hospital with my son.  Nothing too serious and readily handled with a nebulizer treatment and prednisone.  He’s back at school today with a note to the teacher apologizing if he’s a bit hyper. If you’ve not experienced a child (or me for that matter) on prednisone, it can be akin to someone drinking a can (or two) of Red Bull or any other energy drink.

So while I had a great blog topic (UVC disinfection of the soles of shoes), last night I had fun doing a mini-audit of infection prevention practices. There were a few breaches as one would unfortunately expect around PPE use and hand hygiene. I may have loitered in the hall surreptitiously observing the environmental staff going about their duties and am happy to say they were very thorough in their cleaning processes!  Kudos to them! 

I may also consider the disinfection of shoe soles in a different light (pun intended) after watching where my son walked and where the bottoms of his shoes ended up! You’ll just have to wait until next week to read about it!

Bugging Off!


Friday, March 16, 2018

#TBT but on a Fri-Yay: V-logging anyone?

Blogging is all about inspiration. Some weeks I have a topic and it speaks to me, while other weeks the topic and I just don’t jive.  This week I had the perfect topic considering I landed back home after a week away on a combo work and vacation trip with enough time to get most of the laundry done, pack up and jump back on a plane.  It was about the dirtiest things in airports. That topic is going to have to wait.

Today I was searching for something and I came across one of the videos I did a few years back for ISSA.  The video is a condensed version of a 45 minute presentation.  The presentation “How cleaning can control infection…..and costs” discusses just how much infectious diseases such as influenza cost society each year.  I briefly provide an explanation of how cleanliness not only saves lives, but can save money and share four scientific best practices that can be used to strengthen your argument, when you are trying to convince others that decontamination is not a cost, but an investment.

The reason I’m sharing the video is that I’ve recently toyed with adding V-logs (video blogs) to Talk Clean To Me. The reason I haven’t is like most people I hate watching myself. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to be self-critical.  I notice if my mouth moves funny, my necklace is crooked, I think I look old – you name it I’ve likely thought it.  Here’s the video – go ahead, critique away!

If you like the video and the idea of an occasional Vlog let me know!  If there’s enough interest I’ll start putting some together…but only if I shoot my good side!

Bugging Off!