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Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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John J Cush, MD
Baylor University Medical Center- Dallas
Expertise: Rheumatology
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home : public health : public health news January 16, 2018

MDTV on Public Health Emergency Preparedness
Outbreak Prevention
The Steps to Take to Avoid Spreading Diseases
MDTV anchor Patricia Stark with expert George VanOrden.
MDTV anchor Patricia Stark with expert George VanOrden.

Quarantines and isolation were two of the earliest measures used when preventing the spread of diseases.  Surveillance and prevention are more commonly used practices that have taken the place of quarantine and isolation.  Most diseases are from animal origin and spread to humans.  Hand washing is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of germs and infections. 


Diseases can spread quickly if proper preventative steps are ignored.  In the times of when plagues were common and dangerous, measures like quarantines and isolation were used on a daily basis.  Quarantines were originally used to protect cities from incoming plague epidemics.  City officials (particularly in Venice) would force ships to remain anchored at sea for 40 days before they were considered safe for landing.  Those who have already caught the disease were removed from the public in order to avoid spreading it to others.  These tactics, while effective, are no longer the most ideal practices used currently.

Surveillance and prevention are the two most common used preventative techniques out into practice.  Surveillance involves detecting disease changes that might provide evidence for a new host and also indicate a change in treatment.  Prevention informs the public about the best defenses against spreading infection, including constant hand washing.  These measures are most effective against notifiable diseases, in which constant information regarding cases are needed to inform individuals about the best way to control and prevent an infection.

In most cases, washing hands on a frequent basis is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs.  The best hand washing technique involves washing hands with soap for up to 20 seconds, making to sure to reach all areas including underneath the nails.  Rinse hands for 10 seconds and avoid touching faucets and door knobs which are areas full of germs.  Another tip to remember is to use moisturizer after washing hands to prevent germs from entering through cracks created in the skin after washing.  When it comes to preventing the spread of diseases, proper hygiene and washing hands are the best techniques to staying healthy.

Watch MDTV to learn more about emergency preparedness.  Find out what local health officials are doing in your area to prevent the spread of diseases and other outbreaks.  MDTV is a nonprofit company that provides the public with essential disease education.  The relayed information is designed to raise awareness about current health related risks.

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• Disease Trends in Your Community
• Outsmarting the Flu
• Sharing Information

Related Links:
• 911Ready
• Outbreak Prevention Video

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