Cryptosporidiosis is an infection caused by the parasite, Cryptosporidium, often called crypto. It is spread by direct contact with infected people or animals or exposure to fecal contamination of water, soil, food, or the hands of contaminated individuals. The parasite has an outer shell which means it can survive outside of the body for long periods of time, plus the shell protects it from chlorine disinfection, making it difficult to eradicate. Crypto outbreaks occur around the world, but are more common in low income areas with poorer water treatment and food sanitation. However, outbreaks of crypto from contaminated drinking water occurred in Texas in 1984 and Milwaukee in 1993. More recently, large-scale outbreaks have been linked to

The incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) and congestive heart failure is rising rapidly in the U.S., because the population is growing older. The birth rate in the U.S. is declining, making the average age rise. The most devastating complication of AF is cerebral artery embolism (blood clot) with resultant stroke. Severe disability often results in this setting. Anticoagulation therapy has been shown to markedly reduce the incidence of stroke from AF, and direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs)

Over the past decade, cigarette smoking has continued to decline, but the use of electronic cigarettes (ECs) is rising. Current estimates are that about 4% of the U.S. population uses ECs, or vapes, as it is commonly termed. While ECs come in all shapes and sizes, they all use the same technology, as seen in the illustration. When turned on, a battery heats up a heating element which causes the liquid in the vaporizer chamber to aerosolize. The resulting aerosol is commonly and incorrectly

“Then came the measles” from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Chapter XXII by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835-1910). In 2019, there were more than 1,300 cases of measles reported in the U.S., more than any year since 2000 when measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. The 2019 outbreak was linked to unvaccinated travelers who brought the disease here from other countries, with subsequent transmission to pockets of unvaccinated individuals. Most readers have never suffered from measles

Women have used powders for genital hygiene for decades to absorb odors and moisture. While rates of powder use in the genital area have declined over the past 50 years, it remains a routine practice for some women. Commonly used products typically include talc, cornstarch, or a combination of both. Investigations into an association between the use of talc-containing powders for genital hygiene and ovarian cancer have revealed mixed results. Recent high-profile litigation and media coverage of

Last month, my column was based on one of a series of articles written by Dr. Edward Hoffer, concerning America’s broken health care system. Today I would like to continue that by looking at other broken areas. For example, our current malpractice system does not well serve doctors or patients. Medical malpractice insurance is a substantial cost of operating a medical practice. A standard $1.3/3.9 million policy can run $30-40,000 a year for a family practitioner with no surgery to well over

Foodborne illness is common in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, estimates that there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness each year in the U.S., with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. The five most common causes of foodborne illness are norovirus, salmonella, clostridium perfringens, campylobacter, and staphylococcus aureus. All are caused by contact with an infected person, an infected food or surface, or consumption of infected food or liquid. Together, these

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