Tuesday, February 20, 2018

VCU Sanger Series: Going Viral!

On 2/19/18, as part of the VCU Sanger Series Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger, a VCU School of Medicine graduate and current Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 
visited the campus and gave a masterful historical and scientific presentation on influenza.

Check out Dr. Taubenberger's excellent review article (full text PDF here) on reconstructing the 1918 influenza virus, including insights into host inflammatory response and disease progression.

It seems like the deeper we understand influenza, the more questions arise.

Fascinating lecture.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Zach Danziger! Drumming Innovation on Tedx

I am nearly certain that no drummers or musicians read this medical blog so this one is a bit whimsical.

As a drummer, the cover article on Zach Danziger in Modern Drummer magazine caught my eye. 

This gentleman's playing style is unconventional. The TEDx video above showcases it well.

Avant garde. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Resurgence of Scarlet Fever in the UK: This is the Real Deal

Scalatiniform rash. Source: NHS UK
And recently I just blogged about the folly of declaring victory on infectious disease!

This paper recently published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases reports a 3 fold increase in the incidence of scarlet fever in the UK. The cause is unclear and not driven by a dominant circulating strain of Group A streptococcus. Drug resistance is not the cause and and neither is malnutrition nor poverty.

The increase in scarlet fever is real and is the greatest seen in the last 50 years. 

The microbes are one step ahead of us (again).

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Congratulations Dr. Oveimar de la Cruz: VCU Department of Medicine Celebration of Excellence

Congratulations Dr. Oveimar De La Cruz for being recognized last night at the VCU Celebration of Excellence Event.

Dr. De la Cruz is a recognized expert in transplant infectious diseases consultation and has taken VCU transplant infectious diseases to new horizons.

Dr. De La Cruz will be giving an invited lecture, on respiratory viral infections in transplant recipients, at the 18th International Congress on Infectious Diseases, Buenos Aires, Argentina (March 2018).


Thursday, February 8, 2018

No-Touch Disinfection Methods to Decrease Drug Resistant Pathogens- A Step Forward But Not Salvation

We commonly get excited when new technology hits the ground. Sometimes, excitement exceeds the evidence in support of an intervention.

At VCU, we aggressively deploy UVC robots for terminal cleaning of C. difficile as published here. The impact has been modest (as expected).

This recent paper, by Alex Marra, Marin Schweizer and Mike Edmond, is the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of no-touch disinfection methods to decrease MDR pathogens. The authors beautifully estimate the impact of touchless technologies using a comprehensive literature review and pooled risk estimates.

No touch disinfection can impact C. difficile and VRE infection rates but only as an augmentation to traditional cleaning. 

Beware: no touch disinfection is not infection prevention salvation, keep the expected outcomes in check with reality.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Radio Interview: Heightened Flu Activity in Virginia; Some People Like To Live Dangerously

I recently recorded a radio interview on local influenza activity with broadcast journalist John Ogle of WCVE, the local Richmond NPR station.

Oh yes, there is heightened influenza, as we are all aware.  Acquaintances and patients alike ask me for advice to minimize risk of infection.

Despite the concern,  it is amazing how many patients are refusing influenza vaccination in the clinic.

One of my patients recently refused influenza vaccination exclaiming " I don't need any vaccines, and, I also do not wear a seat belt. I like to live dangerously!" 

How do you argue with that?

Ode to Dr. Wenzel: Dreams of Troy Reviewed in local Philadelphia Newspaper

Ode to Dr Wenzel! 

His latest cyber terrorism medical thriller, Dreams of Troy, was reviewed in Chestnut Hill Local, a Philadelphia area newspaper. The article and review is available here.

The book is a good read. 

A few images from his VCU book signing (December 2017) can be accessed here.