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5 Fungal threats you might have missed due to COVID-19

Uncategorized Jun 06, 2020
 

With all the attention at the moment focussing on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the rest of microbiology has taken somewhat of a backseat. While the COVID pandemic has restricted behaviour and led to 6.4M cases and 383,000 deaths, the number of illnesses and deaths caused by fungi is also of epic proportions at 800M and 1.6M deaths annually. With global warming a serious problem for humanity, I want this week to discuss some of the reasons that fungi are often neglected. I want to shed some light on why this is, and what we should be discussing. We'll look at forced evolution in the lab and why Temperature optima may well turn out to be the best predictor of the next fungal plague or infection illness. Will it turn on us or our agriculture crops? Thats the crux of food security - and mycotoxins and other direct infections do more than reduce our access to bananas! I'll also make a short review of some of the fungal catastrophes to put this into context as well as discuss what we know about...

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3 New Facts about COVID Fomites You Need to Know

Uncategorized May 29, 2020
 

The CDC changed their website and the twittersphere went into a panic, since there was a presumed change about surface contamination. Find out how fomite transmission in a hospital proved the point about surface risks. Also, we take a look at how sunlight can be used to decontaminate surfaces and what you need to know about alcohol based hand sanitiser. #COVID #fomites #covidsafe

Watch the Livestream about fomite or surface level contamination. What happened in South Africa?  How their experience informs about what needs to be considered in other urban environments. 

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How to validate cleaning using your phone for a COVID safe workplace

Uncategorized May 20, 2020
 

Turn your phone into a UV torch

Let me show you how you can quickly and inexpensively turn your mobile phone into as device that can 'see' in ultraviolet.  Being able to see in UV is useful if you want to double  check that your cleaners have done a good job.  Did you know that you can use a fluorescent highlighter to mark high touch items and then check with UV to see that it's been cleaned. 

This is very useful and important especially as economies around the world tentatively re-open.  Effective disinfectant cleaning must begin with care and attention to areas or items in the built environment that have a high probability of having shed coronavirus on them.  All you need is some sticky tape, a blue and a purple Sharpie and a fluorescent marker. 

Once you've made your 'UV lens' for the flash on your phone, go around your workplace and mark out some items you want to validate that your cleaners have cleaned.  Under UV light, these will...

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The COVID safe workplace and how to validate cleaning at your business

Uncategorized May 15, 2020
 

The social easing experiment and public health

In Australia like across much of the world, governments are grappling with how soon their local economies can start back up? While many scientists and doctors show considerable concern about exit strategies that are too fast - it is understood that quarantine can't last forever. These are weighty decisions, since easing social distancing restrictions will undoubtedly lead to unwanted infections and loss of life. In fact, the Chief Scientist at the WHO had the following to say about this.

How bad could it get?

And it could get worse according to Dr. Swaminathan

The important role of environmental cleaning to deal with potentially contaminated workplaces

In this week's Livestream I want to discuss one important aspect of infection control that will be important as the exit strategy gets underway. The role of transmission and how personal responsibility about hand hygiene along with care in the built environment can contribute...

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COVID Toes, loss of smell and preview of our survey results on COVID-safe workplaces

Uncategorized May 09, 2020
 

Two unusual symptoms to watch out for

The way humans behave is central to the ways in which SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted. Whether it’s a cough or a sneeze or touching something that’s then handled by someone else, we need to change behaviour (and quickly) to minimize transmission in the absence of pharmaceutical interventions. In Australia, as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed and businesses are being encouraged to prepare for reopening, the risks once again loom for fresh wave/s of infection. So, what does COVID-safe awareness look like? Overarchingly, it’s using scientifically and medically valid information to make choices that minimize harm and in the first place, accessing this information and using it for self-education and then applying it for your own and others benefit.

This week, I want to focus some attention on 2 interesting papers. Both of them are about non-fever warning signs that the exposed and then infected individual may go on to develop into...

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Preparing for a COVID-safe workplace and environmental surface testing for SARS-CoV-2

Uncategorized May 01, 2020
 

Preparing for a post pandemic world

Social easing restrictions will eventually happen - but what does the research say? In today’s episode we’ll be reviewing what the literature says about direct and non-contact forms of virus transmission. I’ve just published a review paper on “Environmental Surface Contamination” and I’ll be picking out the key points. In the media today, there’s some potential good news regarding how businesses should prepare for reopening. But what should they be considering? The Employment Minister, @senatormichaeliacash suggests that retailers create “COVID-safe workplaces”.

Businesses urged to create COVID-safe workplaces

With this in mind, I’ll be setting out some valuable information about surface contamination and what areas and items should be carefully monitored and screened. Apart from simply cleaning more carefully, some workplaces should be considering updates to their cleaning audits and...

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Pollution increases the risk for mould allergy and COVID-19 infections

Uncategorized Apr 23, 2020
 

Air pollution - what does it look like?

Have you ever wondered how the air we breathe can cause respiratory irritation? What is in that haze or smog that sometimes blankets urban cities? Sure, it probably contains chemicals and maybe even smoke - but there's a lot more to it than just a chemical soup. In today's Livestream we're going to deep dive into particulate matter, or PM and review what's known about the fungal contribution. Then we're going to look at the inflammatory potential of mould fragments in the PM2.5 and PM10 and ultra-small size ranges (yes, even down to the nanoscale).

What else is in the air?

Environmental metagenomics to identify what fungi are in the air

If we use molecular methods to investigate what's in the air, we quickly discover that there's a lot of mould in the air.  Some scientists have been able to fractionate those fungi present in the PM2.5 and PM10 size range and relate this with 'hazy' and 'non-hazy' atmospheric conditions.  This...

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What does a mould level greater than 1000 CFU mean for your health?

Uncategorized Apr 16, 2020
 

Mould levels and human health

The WHO in their seminal work from 2009 talk about 500 CFU - or colony forming units per cubic metre of air but what does that mean? Reading that document suggests that levels less than 500 mean the building is not water damaged - especially if you live in Finland! But what about indoor mould levels in the rest of the world?

Threshold limit values for indoor mould exposure and why they are important

Today's livestream delves into this topic of 'colony forming units' or CFU's- which are the numbers of discrete fungal colonies that appear (or grow) in petri plates when exposed to the air. The numbers on the plate can be translated into units per cubic metre of air. When this is done, we have THRESHOLDS. Think of these as numerical traffic lights.

 

At green, it's OK indoors, and your mould levels can be considered normal...but what happens if the petri plate traffic lights show AMBER or RED? Some great French research uses 3 ways of measuring risk...

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Coronavirus in cats - Evidence of infected cat populations in Wuhan

Uncategorized Apr 06, 2020
 

More evidence that cats can get SARS-CoV-2

Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Cameron Jones, and I'm an environmental microbiologist. I wanted to make a quick follow-up video to a video I did the other day that was focusing on the issue of SARS-CoV-2and pets, and more particularly, we're going to be focusing on cats because a fascinating paper just came out overnight and that is the topic of today's Livestream. Coronavirus in cats. There has been a lot of talk about whether or not this is a myth or whether there is some scientific validity to this and I wanted to make this video because I think that this topic has a great deal of merit. I think there's a lot of very interesting research which is going on focusing on the pets as a reservoir for SARS and whether or not these animals are capable of transmitting the virus between themselves, whether or not people are able to transmit the virus to the pet, and of course, the very worrying question, is it possible for the pets to transmit the...

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Can my pet transmit SARS-CoV-2?

Uncategorized Apr 03, 2020
 

Should I worry about SARS-CoV-2 and my pet cat?

This week we're taking a mould holiday and instead focussing on a very serious contemporary health crisis. Today, I want to review what we know about SARS-COv-2 and virus transmission in pets. There have been some disturbing news stories about this virus in 2 dogs and then 2 cats. Investigations in Hong Kong revealed that the virus could be detected in at least one dog. The CDC cautions that there is no immediate risk to people from their pets, but they have amended their interim guidance to public health officials managing people with COVID-19 in-home care to advise on what to do about pets.  I know you all want to know the answer to the question: Can my pet transmit SARS-CoV-2?  Read on to find out...or scroll down to the end of this blog post to find the answer now

Obviously, no one wants people to start fearing their pets, but these early reports certainly suggest that there is some form of transmission...

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