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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pretty Pink Pedicures!

When asked what my favorite season is I would have to say spring.  I admit, I’m a bit biased as I was born in the spring.  While I do so love the warm weather of summer and beautiful colours of fall, I think I love spring most as it signifies the end of winter, the last of the snow and getting back into sandals or at the very least open-toed shoes!  Wearing shoes that show off your toes often means a mad dash to your closest nail salon to have your feet and toes gussied up.
Most nail salons see a steady parade of business throughout the year. Nails get cut and filed, feet soak in tubs, cuticles get pushed back and trimmed, and calluses get buffed. And while the majority of nail salon visits won't send you on your way with anything other than an excellent manicure and pedicure, customers and salon workers are at risk for spreading infections.  In fact there have been numerous outbreaks associated with poor cleaning and disinfection practices at nail salons and spas over the years.  The following are merely some of the bugs you should be on the lookout for!
Despite its name, athlete's foot affects people regardless of their athletic prowess. It's the common name for Tinea pedis, a fungal infection that requires a moist, confined environment to take root and spread.  Unfortunately, the pedicure baths of a salon or spa provide the perfect breeding ground due to the amount of feet that get put into the same tub; most of which are far from clean so you may want to spend a little time focusing on the cleanliness of the salon you’re in.  A fungus isn’t so easily removed from the surfaces it grows on, so a light cleaning may not rid a tub of its presence. Frequent use of a disinfectant that carries a fungicidal claim is the best way to prevent spa clients from getting athlete's foot from a foot tub.
Warts are caused by a contagious virus called Human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many different strains of the virus (such as the type that can cause cervical cancer), but only a few different kinds spur the overproduction of skin cells that results in warts.  Warts spread through person-to-person contact when HPV makes contact with a break in the skin or when a salon worker uses the same pumice stone for different clients. Most salons offer new pumice stones but if you want to be absolutely sure, you can always bring your own to lower the risk of getting warts. 
Antibiotic resistant organisms are also a concern.  In recent years, you've likely noticed an uptick in stories about a type of staph infection called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus; the dreaded MRSA. MRSA infections can lead to severe scarring, amputation and even death.  Though not common, MRSA is known to be spread at nail salons, leading to infections on hands or feet and beneath fingernails. MRSA can be spread through the sharing of improperly cleaned nail instruments or reusing nail files. Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours and you'll likely experience pain in your hands or feet. The swollen, red skin around the infected area will crack open and ooze pus.
This last nasty bug might give you a good reason not to shave your legs. You can get Mycobacterium fortuitum from foot baths and the risk is greatly increased when a soak is preceded by leg shaving. M. fortuitum infections consist of large boils on the toe, foot or leg. These boils may be surrounded by smaller bumps. Sometimes they heal on their own, but sometimes they linger and can even turn into open sores. M. fortuitum boils can be lanced by a medical professional and treated with extremely potent antibiotics, but unfortunately, these boils and sores can cause heavy scarring.  To avoid getting this bug, pay attention to any regional reports of M. fortuitum outbreaks.
The long and the short is that we should not be afraid to ask the salon owner about the establishment's cleaning procedures. If you want to learn more about how you can keep safe at your next manicure or pedicure appointment check out our Pedicure Peril education campaign!  We hope your next manicure or pedicure will be a relaxing and infection free experience!
Bugging Off!
Nicole

Friday, March 18, 2016

#FF Spring Cleaning for the Brain

If you live in an area where winter equates to cold and snow there really is nothing better than seeing your first robin and hearing the twittering of birds in the morning.  Spring is a time of renewal and growth.  It’s a time to watch nature come alive with budding trees and blooming flowers, but it’s also a time when we tend to shake off the winter blahs. We feel   alive and want to refresh our lives.  Your refresh may come in the shape of purging closets to make way for your spring / summer wardrobe, a spring tune up for your car and removal of winter tires, hitting the gym to lose the extra pounds that somehow showed up or waking your brain with a little education.

As noted in past blogs, the Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on topics related to infection prevention and control. The objective is to bring the best possible education to the widest possible audience with the fewest possible barriers when trying to access it.  Here's the list of teleclasses for the second quarter of 2016.

Date
Title of Teleclass
Speaker
April 7th
Preventing Invasive Candida Infections – Where could we do better?
Dr. Philippe Eggimann, Switzerland
April 20th
The Core Components for Infection Prevention and Control Programs and Action Plan
Julie Storr, WHO
April 26th
Infection Prevention – It’s not just washing hands
Dr. Peter Hoffman, England
May 4th
Special Lecture for May 5th
Prof. Didier Pittet, WHO
May 12th
Infection Prevention Resources: Too few? Too many? A Discussion of Strategies to Calculate Appropriate IP Personnel Resources
Kate Gase, USA
May 16th
Physicians, Farmers, and the Politics of Antibiotic Resistance
Dr. Laura H. Kahn, USA
May 17th
What’s New in Number 2? Update on Diarrheal Disease From a Global Perspective
Dr. Dave Goldfarb, Canada
June 2nd
Are Your Cleaning Wipes Safe? Evidence Supporting the “One Room – One Wipe” Approach in Healthcare Settings
Dr. Laura Gavalda, Spain
June 9th
Controlling the Spread of VRE: Is active surveillance worthwhile?
Prof. Hilary Humpreys, Ireland
June 23rd
Exploring the Role of Environmental Surfaces in Occupational Infection Prevention
Dr. Amber Mitchell & Barbara DeBaun, USA
For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit www.webbertraining.com

I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these teleclasses and share them with your colleagues! 

Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, March 11, 2016

Zika virus – another reason to dislike mosquitoes!

While I’d like to think I’m omniscient and try my best to get my son and husband to think so, sadly I am not.   One of the last blogs in 2015, All I Want For Christmas, talked about the WHO’s list of emerging pathogens that are likely to cause severe outbreaks in the near future, which few or no medical countermeasures exist.  WHO’s prescient warning included Zika virus.  I’m sure back in December I would harbour a guess that most people outside of the public health and infection prevention realm would not have known what Zika virus was.  Today, based on the fact that a Google search gave about 118,000,000 hits in under 0.6 seconds, I would say that the number of people who know about Zika virus has grown exponentially.

Zika virus has been reported in Africa and parts of Asia since the 1950s, and in the southwestern Pacific in 2007. In 2015, Zika virus emerged in South America with widespread outbreaks reported in Brazil and Colombia.  Since Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites, travellers to countries where Zika virus is actively circulating and to countries in tropical and subtropical regions where the virus has the potential to circulate should take precaution.  Twenty to twenty-five percent of people infected with Zika virus are believed to develop symptoms. These can include low-grade fever, headache, red eyes, and rash along with joint and muscle pain.  The incubation period of Zika virus ranges from 3 to 12 days. The disease symptoms are usually mild and last for 2 to 7 days.  Most people recover fully with simple supportive care and without severe complications (hospitalization rates are low). Zika virus infection may go unrecognized or be misdiagnosed as dengue, chikungunya or other viral infections causing fever and rash.  Treatment is generally limited to symptom relief.

In November 2015, the Ministry of Health of Brazil established a relationship between an increase in cases of microcephaly in newborns and Zika virus infections in the country’s northeast.  Given reports of cases of apparent sexual transmission of Zika, pregnant women’s sex partners living in or returning from areas where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur should practice safer sex or abstain (throughout the pregnancy).
Currently, there is no prophylaxis, vaccine or treatment for Zika virus. Prevention is limited to reducing mosquito populations, as mosquitoes and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people. Everyone should avoid exposure to mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long pants, and using mosquito nets during the daytime as well as insect repellents.

Perhaps this is not the best topic leading up to March break when some of you lucky ducks will be heading off to beaches and warmth.  I’m not meaning to be a fear monger, but the speed with which Zika virus went from a mild concern to a public health threat is worth sharing.  If you’re leaving Saturday you still have time to run out and get some mosquito repellent, a mosquito net and put away all of your shorts and t-shirts and pack long pants and shirts! 

Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sunshine or Rainclouds - What is our future?

When it comes to reports on the state of healthcare, I would hazard a guess that many of us think the future is bleak.  According to the newest CDC VitalSigns report, we have some good news:  we are in fact preventing healthcare associated infections and are saving thousands of lives.  Between 2008 and 2014 some of the marked improvements include a 50% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and a 17% decrease in surgical site infections (SSIs). 

While this reduction in HAIs is moving in the right direction and certainly improving the lives of our patients, the fight is not over; 1 in 7 HAIs associated with catheters and/or SSIs are now being shown to be caused by the same 6 antibiotic-resistant bacteria:



As highlighted by the report, the challenge ahead is how we help to prevent antibiotic resistant infections. The report specifies that the 3 key areas we should be prioritizing our efforts on are: preventing the spread of bacteria between patients, preventing infections related to surgery and/or placement of a catheter, and improving antibiotic stewardship. For Infection Preventionists, I’m sure this does not come as a surprise, but it does reinforce the areas that need to be prioritized. Moving forward, it will be imperative to provide evidence to continue to support the need for ensuring we have a robust infection prevention program that includes sufficient staff and resources to implement surveillance programs and other initiatives to reduce HAIs.  This report emphasizes the need to ensure we are isolating patients when necessary and the importance of knowing what the antibiotic resistance patterns in our facilities are. In addition, it solidifies the need to follow best practices and other recommendations for preventing SSIs or central line and catheter infections.

To those of you in the field - kudos on a job well done!  Congratulations to the positive efforts and lives saved or improved as a result of your diligent work.  In an era where our headlines focus on the ominous stories in an effort to fear monger and sensationalize our healthcare, you are the unsung heroes.   It will be interesting in the coming days to see how the tabloids and news channels spin this latest one; my bet is they focus on the negative.  I think we need to focus on the positive.  Why?  Just ask yourself: where would be without the role of infection prevention?  How many lives would have been lost or adversely impacted?  What would our healthcare facilities look like if there were no Infection Preventionists?  I shudder at the thought.  A 50% decrease in CLABSIs and a 17% decrease in SSIs is something to be celebrated! 

Bugging Off!

Nicole