Topics A to Z

As part of NEHA's continuos effort to provide convenient access to information and resources, we have gathered together for you the links in this section. Our mission is "to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all,” as well as to educate and inform those outside the profession.

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) continues to persist in Mississippi; 2012 was the worse year for human infections, with a total of 247 reported human cases and five deaths. Public health officials are keenly interested in ways to detect WNV in advance in their jurisdictions, so they can implement appropriate and timely mosquito control in affected areas. A total of 40,312 female Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes were collected by gravid traps in Mississippi in 2013 and 2014 and tested by VectorTest, a rapid immunochromatographic assay (“dip-stick” test) that is a highly specific and effective rapid threat assessment tool. This study evaluated if and to what extent VectorTest could provide advanced warning of impending human WNV cases in a specific area. These data were examined with regard to date of onset of human WNV cases to determine the predictive value of VectorTest for WNV activity. Both years, positive mosquito pools appeared before the vast majority (87.2%) of reported human cases. Overall, in 27 out of 37 human WNV cases (73.0 %) occurring in our study sites, there was an average advanced warning of 26 days (range 11–53 days) as indicated by positive mosquito collections near the patient’s home. This operational health department study, although somewhat limited, reveals that mosquito sampling and testing can inform public health and mosquito control personnel of WNV activity in an area and of impending human cases.

December 2016
December 2016
79.5 | 20-24
Wendy C. Varnado, PhD, Jerome Goddard, PhD

Abstract

Studies have shown that fecal contamination can be determined by conducting multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) analyses. The hypothesis is if bacteria exhibit resistance, they are likely to be derived from organisms exposed to antimicrobial agents. Therefore, this project seeks to apply MAR analysis to nonpoint source (NPS) and combined sewer overflow (CSO) areas along the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. Presumptive E. coli was isolated from NPS and CSO samples and tested with eight different antimicrobial agents to assess MAR indices. Isolates from CSO sources showed significantly greater resistance (p < .05) and higher MAR indices, with an average MAR index of 0.36 for CSO samples and 0.07 for NPS samples. It was also revealed that 96.9% of CSO isolates exhibited resistance, versus only 43.8% of NPS isolates. Our study on the Anacostia River using this approach clearly shows fecal coliforms are associated with CSO overflows, indicating that pollution-derived coliform levels are strongly linked to antimicrobial resistance. The implementation of this method as an index for water quality in the remediation of the Anacostia River has the ability to serve as a model and monitoring tool for the rehabilitation of urban watersheds.

October 2016
October 2016
79.3 | 36-39
Gaurav Dhiman, Emma N. Burns, David W. Morris, PhD

Public health policy targeting populations at greatest risk can be used to significantly reduce the burden of foodborne disease. This study calculated incidence rates, disability adjusted life years, and quality adjusted life years estimates for salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, adjusted for underreporting. Investigators then looked at how these measures of disease burden can contribute to the policy debate on the public health significance of foodborne disease. Targeting food safety activities through proactive public health policy and by using underreporting estimates of reported cases of foodborne illness may raise the issue of foodborne disease in the policy agenda.

July 2015
Andrew Papadopoulos, PhD, MBA, CPHI
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Abstract

Waterborne outbreaks of salmonellosis are uncommon. The Tennessee Department of Health investigated a salmonellosis outbreak of 10 cases with the only common risk factor being exposure to a single splash pad. Risks included water splashed in the face at the splash pad and no free residual chlorine in the water system. We surveyed water quality and patron behaviors at splash pads statewide. Of the 29 splash pads participating in the water quality survey, 24 (83%) used a recirculating water system. Of the 24, 5 (21%) water samples were tested by polymerase chain reaction and found to be positive for E. coli, Giardia, norovirus, or Salmonella. Among 95 patrons observed, we identified common high-risk behaviors of sitting on the fountain or spray head and putting mouth to water. Water venue regulations and improved education of patrons are important to aid prevention efforts.

June 2017
June 2017
79.10 | 8-12
Joshua L. Clayton, MPH, PhD, Judy Manners, MSc, Susan Miller, MS, Craig Shepherd, MPH
Additional Topics A to Z: Recreational Waters

Abstract

Water quality trading (WQT) is a market-based mechanism that aims to improve water quality in a way that maximizes economic efficiency while conserving environmental integrity. It is a compliance approach that allows point sources, such as factories, to meet regulatory obligations by using pollutant reductions created by another source, such as local farms, which has lower pollution control costs. The objective of this study was to explore the possibility of expanding the use of WQT from agriculture to rural septic systems, an often-neglected nonpoint source of nutrients to Lake Erie. Septic system upgrades in northwestern Ohio are of special interest because the soil conditions in this area pose a limitation to the effectiveness of nutrient removal for conventional soil-based systems. We assessed the willingness of septic system users to upgrade their systems using three scenarios emphasizing climate change, governmental regulation, or WQT. We found that septic system users were most interested in upgrades under the WQT scenario. The idea of WQT was better accepted in certain locations where septic system users were more concerned about the environment, perceived the local water quality to be degraded, and were aware of the limitation of their septic systems. Pilot WQT projects should focus on approaching these users.

 

January 2020
January/February 2020
82.6 | 8-15
Yanting Guo, MSc, PhD, Department of Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health, The University of Findlay, Karen Mancl, MS, MA, PhD, Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University, Richard Moore, MA, PhD, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University
Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater

Abstract

In early 2005, the Howard County Health Department began a sampling initiative to evaluate the potential presence of elevated naturally occurring radionuclides in individual drinking well water supplies of Howard County residents. Earlier preliminary test findings from the U.S. Geological Survey and subsequent discussions with the Maryland Department of the Environment led to sampling for gross alpha (GA) and gross beta (GB) particles, plus confirming radium-226/-228 for both existing and newly developed residential properties. In 2009, sampling focused in and directly around the portion of the county containing the Baltimore Gneiss geological formation. More than 2,061 properties were tested with 3,091 samples collected and analyzed. Greater than 19% of properties sampled had elevated GA and/or GB levels, while select data combinations for untreated GA, GB, and radium-226/-228 indicated an elevated combined radium-226/-228 in 42.4% of those results. Also revealing were results with elevated radium-226/-228 with GB levels well below the current recommended standard. In this special report, we describe ongoing testing efforts and treatment effectiveness for residents within Howard County.

 

June 2021
June 2021
83.10 | 14-21
Sarah E. Collins, MS, LEHS, Howard County Health Department, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bertram F. Nixon, MS, LEHS/REHS, Bureau of Environmental Health, Howard County Health Department, Johnia Curtis, MPH, Bureau of Assessment, Planning, and Communications, Howard County Health Department

Abstract

During the summer of 2014 an outbreak of tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) occurred in a group of high school students and staff at a youth camp, which was reported to Coconino County Public Health Services District. Six confirmed and five probable cases of TBRF occurred. During the environmental investigation two rodents tested positive for TBRF, but the vector, soft ticks, could not be found in their “normal” habitat. Ticks were finally located in areas not typical for soft ticks.

April 2016
April 2016
78.8 | 8-11
Marlene Gaither, REHS, MPH, ME, Mare Schumacher, Nathan Nieto, PhD, Jennifer Corrigan

Abstract

The role of worksite environments in promoting physical activity (PA) remains largely unexplored. With workers in the U.S. spending half of their waking day in their work environment, the workplace could be an important venue for the promotion of health and PA. We examined associations between PA gained while at work and the built environment around the workplace. We measured PA using accelerometer devices in a sample of 119 participants of the Supports at Home and Work for Maintaining Energy Balance study, with a wear time of 1 week. Measures of built environment included perceived walkability, two different measures of objective walkability, and greenness.

Working in an environment perceived as walkable was associated with more minutes of PA while at work in all models. When measured objectively, walkability was found significant in the adjusted models controlling for both home walkability and amount of PA gained in nonwork related activities. Greenness of the work environment was found nonsignificant. Findings suggest investing in walkable environments around the workplace or having worksites located in walkable areas can contribute to increased minutes of PA for employed people in the U.S.

 

March 2019
March 2019
81.7 | 20-26
Oriol Marquet, PhD, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, Aaron J. Hipp, PhD, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University

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