Author Archive for: dnamarketing

To Wipe or Not to Wipe: MRSA Infections & Containing the Spread

In the fall, the CDC released an article that MRSA was a growing problem and concern, and that it was becoming more prevalent as a community acquired infection (CAI), as opposed to the more commonly known healthcare acquired infections (HAIs)… yet the CDC also continues to report over and over that MRSA rates are declining.

The article was followed by other media outlets such as USA TODAY, who in their own study, found that MRSA infections, particularly outside of health care facilities, are much more common than government statistics suggest.

So What’s Their Motivation?

Why do there seem to be so many mixed messages about MRSA infection rates coming from the CDC?  Good question! I  have my theories, but we’ll get there a bit later. First, let’s look at some other info and statistics from another respected health care organization… one that deals with patients with MRSA on a regular basis, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).

According AAOS, MRSA may be more easily transmitted when the following five Cs are present:

  • Crowding
  • Frequent skin-to-skin Contact
  • Compromised skin (cuts or abrasions)
  • Contaminated items and surfaces
  • Lack of Cleanliness

Locations where the five Cs are common include schools, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities, and daycare centers, cruise ships and sports facilities (i.e. equipment, mats and locker rooms).  In these type of environments, people are informed to take personal precautions, such as avoiding contact, covering wounds and exercising proper hand and body hygiene. But there’s more to it.

Prevalence of MRSA
The AAOS also states that the number of hospital admissions for MRSA has exploded in the past decade:

By 2005, admissions were triple the number in 2000 and 10-fold higher than in 1995. In 2005 in the United States alone, 368,600 hospital admissions for MRSA—including 94,000 invasive infections—resulted in 18,650 deaths. The number of MRSA fatalities in 2005 surpassed the number of fatalities from hurricane Katrina and AIDS combined and is substantially higher than fatalities at the peak of the U. S. polio epidemic.

MRSA in the Community

According to the CDC website, MRSA in the community requires a diligent and thorough process of both personal hygiene, tactics to prevent the spread, and addressing the environment, equipment and other shared items. Here’s what they say about keyboards, difficult surfaces and shared equipment:

Cleaning Keyboards and other Difficult Surfaces

Many items such as computer keyboards or handheld electronic devices may be difficult to clean or disinfect or they could be damaged if they became wet. If these items are touched by many people during the course of the day, a cleanable cover/skin could be used on the item to allow for cleaning while protecting the item. Always check to see if the manufacturer has instructions for cleaning.

Shared Equipment

Shared equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry. Equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, should be cleaned according to the equipment manufacturers’ instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.

— CDC.gov, General Information About MRSA in the Community

Prevention, Containment & Cross-Contamination

We believe there are a number of root causes to the rising rate of community acquired MRSA — one certainly being the over-prescribing of antibiotics, but that’s another blog post altogether. The other challenge of containing the spread and preventing a larger outbreak, however, is

janitorial-cleaning

much more about the environment and surfaces that are difficult to sanitize with traditional spraying, wiping [and sometimes rinsing and mopping], and water and bleach-based methods. We’ve seen this first hand in several cases where a ‘sanitizing service’ is called in after an initial infection, only to have more people infected after the service. We’ve also seen situations where the janitorial service is using a power hose to dispense high-powered, water-and-bleach sanitizer that literally is spraying as much onto nearby areas from overspray and splash back.

I’m not suggesting the service provider caused more infections, I’m only suggesting they must have missed key areas where transmission is occurring, and/or that their protocols are potentially causing cross contamination. I’m also not suggesting that all of the other prevention guidelines aren’t useful on the CDC website, all helpful and important information to prevent and treat MRSA infections.

But clearly, something is getting missed. Traditional spraying, wiping and mopping isn’t doing the job, or these infections would definitely be on the decline… right?  Could it be causing cross-contamination? Are they missing key areas and ‘difficult surfaces.’  And are the equipment manufacturers really ‘equipped’ to offer serious, professional sanitizing information on their gear? What about all the other surfaces where water-based chemicals can’t be used, such as metal equipment that can corrode, electronics in locker rooms, medical training and therapy machines, workout machines, leather and sensitive fabrics that water with bleach can break down… ?

Fighting Evolved Superbugs with 70+ Year-Old Techniques 

It’s not hard to find videos of other sanitizing services. People in full bunny suits, often spraying and wiping from a handheld bottle and using the same towels from place to place. Or if they are using a spraying ‘machine’ they are using covering up metals, electronics and other materials like leather that would be harmed by their chemicals.

Did you know in a Hospital Control and Epidemeology study, 2 strains of MRSA were found to survive for surprisingly long periods of time on hospital fomites, including:

  • 11 days on a plastic patient chart
  • Over 12 days on a laminated tabletop
  • 9 days on a cloth curtain

MRSA is persistent, not only in its life duration prior to infection, but in its attack during an infection.

We recently pinged Clorox on their social media pages to inquire about using their anti-bacterial wipes on fine electronics and sensitive equipment (which we see a lot of social media chatter about) and here was the exchange:

MRSA sanitizing using Clorox?

They responded fast, which was great. Don’t get me wrong, I use Clorox products at home, some great products…  but there’s a place and use for them, and it’s not industrial sanitizing. It’s not superbug killing. It’s not infectious disease control.

And that’s exactly my point. Too many people are combating superbugs (living, evolving organisms with only one purpose programmed into their genetic code: to survive and propagate) with outdated or ineffective techniques. Superbugs are mutating every year. This is also why we believe organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus —MRSA —are becoming more prevalent in non-healthcare environments. [For more on superbug evolution and antibiotic overuse, check out this helpful post on Wired].

We simply cannot keep using outdated sanitizing methods to combat today’s superbugs, especially when the likelihood of antibiotic usage dropping significantly seems quite low. And despite the message that the CDC would like us to believe, we’re not winning the war on MRSA… yet.

So back to my previous sidebar on the CDC motivations for trying to position MRSA as ‘declining’ and apparently ‘under control’ vs. looking at the real statistics like the AAOS has done (which speak for themselves, frankly). On the one hand, healthcare reform will require mandatory reporting by healthcare facilities on their infection rates by type, and without meeting the mandate, facilities can face steep fines.

Sounds great, right?

Wouldn’t you like to be able to research a hospitals infection rates before your doctor schedules your knee surgery there? Or research the nursing home where you’re putting your dad soon before you sign on the dotted line?  Or find out if your son or daughter’s sports team has a sanitizing protocol in their facility?  I would.

On the other hand, though, as pay for performance kicks in and reimbursements get tougher and tougher (and take longer and longer) government-run healthcare and payers will not profit enough if they don’t appear to have their act together. Alternative care sources in the private sector could certainly emerge. Take for example, the emergence of concierge practices.

But sending everyone into a long queue at the same facilities where ‘MRSA and other infection rates are declining’ is a profit-generating proposition. Unfortunately, it feels to us a bit more like stacking the deck, and stacking it high against healthcare staff and the public alike.

Ok, I’m getting into yet another potential blog… for now I’ll leave you with this, because our mission remains the same: we desperately want to keep people from the devastating effects of MRSA and other harmful pathogens. So I implore anyone who has decision-making authority in the value chain to take a long, hard look at your sanitizing techniques, at the continuing evolution of superbugs, and at some statistics other than those on the CDC website…  and consider there might be a [much] better way.

Thoughts? As always, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jeff Halmekangas, President, Level4 Bio

Jeff Halmekangas
President
Level4 Bio
Email: jeff@level4bio.com

 

 

More Cruise Line Norovirus Outbreaks: What Are They Missing?

If you follow the news at all, you know there have been several cruise ship outbreaks that led to truncated voyages over the last few weeks due tocruise ship outbreak of norovirus Norovirus. Some new records have been hit, with one ship reporting more than 700 cases. After returning to port, infected passengers were advised to go to local hotels and quarantine themselves until they were better.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, they are wonderful (sans an outbreak, of course). You get an entire vacation packaged with room, food, excursions, activities, entertainment, etc. in one, easy-to-schedule price— and you typically see a variety of amazing destinations in only a few days that would otherwise be a logistical feat (or nightmare) to schedule on your own.  I say that because I’m a big fan, so this post isn’t intended to deter you from a cruise. It might lead you to do a little more research on the cruise line you choose, however… and hopefully save you a virus.

Crisis Communications in Full Swing

After the first outbreak was reported, I actually communicated over social media with one woman who was on the ship with the largest number of cases. She said the staff were standing in front of the buffet lines with a pump bottle of hand sanitizer, and other staff members were spraying and wiping a sanitizing chemicals wherever they could. They looked calm on the outside, but it was clear they were all a bit panicked on the inside… they just didn’t know what else to do.

Then I saw classic PR crisis communications in full play (and I can’t blame them): the cruise line brought in a solution for spraying sanitizer, and posted an official response with plenty of pics next to the new machines and the company providing the services.  And yes, that’s what Level4 Bio offers (it wasn’t us… yet!), but there are some big differences… which I’ll come to in a bit.

So What is Norovirus, Really?

In laymen’s terms, it’s the winter vomiting bug, and a common cause of diarrhea (gastroenteritis). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Noroviruses cause 19-21 million infections, 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths every year in the United States. Norovirus infection is sometimes misnamed “stomach flu“, however, Gastroenteritis is not associated with flu, a respiratory infection.

Norovirus infection outbreaks are more likely to occur in crowded or closed communities, such as cruise ships, long-term care facilities, prisons, overnight camps and dormitories – places where the virus can spread rapidly from human-to-human.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the most common causes of human norovirus infections are contaminated foods, shellfish, ready-to-eat foods that were handled by infected workers (salads, ice, cookies, fruit and sandwiches), or any food contaminated with the feces or vomit of an infected person.

Cruise ship sanitizingAnd What Are the Cruise Ships Possibly Missing?

I saw several articles before the holidays commenting that this might be a tough virus winter… but ships are being hit pretty hard… imagine 700+ people on a self-contained vessel all vomiting and chained to the commode.  There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  Cleaning staff are entering rooms, cleaning as best they can, but spraying and wiping with rags, which can often cause more cross contamination and spread the virus further.

As far as I can discern (and from my exchanges with passengers), they are using hand sanitizers, and some other sanitizing chemicals (possibly water-based) and spraying / wiping high traffic areas.  I’ve watched videos on this new sanitizing spray service that one cruise line is promoting and while spraying their sanitizing chemical, they have to put large trash bags around TV’s and other electronics.

I also happen to know their chemical is extremely noxious, and not safe for anyone to be around soon after a service. I would like to warn that cruise ship, but I’m not able to reach anyone to get a message into the right person. Trust me, I’ve been trying. They might be trading one problem for another. And clearly from that company’s own promotional videos, they can’t sanitize machines, metals or fine electronics… which on a cruise ship, equates to a lot of areas that are likely being completely missed, but that are high traffic areas:

  • Slots / gaming machines in casinos
  • In-room electronics such as phones, TVs
  • TVs and phones in public access areas
  • Buffet tables and food-warming heaters
  • Entire kitchen facilities
  • Computers and control machinery in staff areas
  • Elevators and staircase rails
  • Room doors and electronic key entry devices
  • Metals such as vents, fans, doors, etc. in common areas and public access restrooms
  • and probably much more

Many viruses prefer warm areas, so electronics are a common breeding ground and therefore a common transmission point. And with so many people in close quarters and roaming the same acres of ship as 2000+ other passengers, there’s an endless list of places where noxious, water based chemicals simply cannot do an effective job.

Clearly, much is being missed.

The Bigger Picture

Hand sanitizers are a very small part of the solution and clearly in all of these latest cruise ship scenarios, weren’t terribly effective in containing the virus. And we’ve been posting social media and notes to the CDC for years, yet they still recommend hand sanitizers, and this:

Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces 

After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1000–5000 ppm (5–25 tablespoons of household bleach [5.25%] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

To have an effective infection control protocol, you need to sanitize entire areas – not just where passengers are ‘expelling.’  The operative part is highlighted in red… “Use a chlorine bleach solution with water…”   This isn’t an EPA / green solution.  You can’t put chlorine or noxious chemicals into close, crowded quarters like a cruise ship (or anywhere, in all honesty) or risk them going into the ocean.

The real solution is the last part of their recommendation: “OR OTHER DISINFECTANT” — the problem is, people don’t know what else is available that can address an entire cruise ship from floor to ceiling, top to bottom and everywhere in betweenAnd a solution that can completely saturate metals, machines and fine electronics without damage or corrosion.

An Alternative to Consider

It’s our blog, so yep – we’re going to say it. Here are some great reasons why the cruise ships should give us a look:

  • We can completely saturate metals and fine electronics absolutely anywhere (and any material, for that matter) without any damage or corrosion.
  • Our solution is lab tested to effectively kill a long list of viruses and bacteria including Norovirus on any surface
  • Our sanitizing formula is EPA approved, and our machines are FDA registered.
  • Our patented technology atomizes our chemical formula and dries in minutes – leaving areas clean and ready for almost immediate use.
  • There are absolutely no noxious chemicals, no rinsing, no wiping, no chlorine bleach or other harmful chemicals that are harmful to people or the environment.

We started Level4 Bio to help prevent outbreaks and save even 1 life from the often devastating effects of harmful pathogens. My sincere hope is that many people read this and pass it on, and ideally, it gets to the right decision makers at the cruise ship companies so they can consider an alternative, since clearly the current sanitizing techniques are not quite doing the job.

I welcome your comments, and if you’re headed on a cruise soon, I wish you a safe and healthy voyage!

Jeff Halmekangas, President, Level4 Bio

Jeff Halmekangas
President
Level4 Bio

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to Use Level4 Bio and Our Formula D2

Infectious pathogens are evolving, and new threats are emerging as virus and bacterial strains mutate over time. Today’s threats require new approaches in technology and formula to safely and effectively kill harmful surface and airborne pathogens on any surface, and in any environment.

Top 10 Reasons to Use Level4 Bio and our FORMULA D2:

  1. FORMULA D2 can be used in a wide variety of environments, eliminating the need to have dozens of chemicals in inventory and removing the risk and hassle of chemical management (or mis-management)
  2. FORMULA D2 does not damage skin or mucous membranes.
  3. FORMULA D2 can be sprayed directly on electronics, keyboards, and metals without corrosion.
  4. FORMULA D2 is premixed so the concentration is correct.
  5. FORMULA D2 does not have to be wiped up, and it dries quickly without residue.
  6. FORMULA D2 is nonflammable when used with the SS-20 Sanitizing System.
  7. FORMULA D2 is safe for food contact surfaces and doesn’t require rinsing.
  8. FORMULA D2 can reach small areas.
  9. FORMULA D2 can reach high and low surfaces without stooping or ladders.
  10. FORMULA D2 contains 58.6% alcohol, a known and proven sanitizing agent used for over 100 years.

Level4 Bio Expands to Serve Midwest Market

New Sales and Marketing Office to Support Demand Throughout Midwest Region

(Fountain Hills, Arizona. Aug 6, 2012) - Level4 Bio, the first safe power sanitizing service for killing surface and airborne pathogens in any environment, announced today its expansion with a sales and marketing office based in Detroit, Michigan. The new regional office will help support demand for the company’s services throughout the Midwest market.

“We’re excited to expand into the Midwest region,” commented Jeff Halmekangas, Co-founder and President of Level4 Bio. “So many businesses in the public and private sectors, including medical facilities, are battling the threat of these ‘evolved’ superbugs– but they are using 50- to 75-year-old cleaning techniques in the fight. Level4 Bio is bringing them the new gold standard in sanitizing technology so they can dramatically improve staff, patient and customer safety. Implementing this advanced solution can also help hospitals and medical facilities reduce patient readmission rates for hospital acquired infections, or HAIs.”

The company’s patented technology is FDA registered, EPA approved, UL certified and already in use in a number of hospitals, VA Medical Centers and many brand-named food processing plants across the country. It is also proven safe and effective for people of any age, and also directly on sensitive medical equipment, computers and fine electronics where traditional spraying/ wiping methods and other sanitizing solutions are not even possible.

The solution is lab-tested and proven to kill the vast majority of surface and airborne pathogens including Staph, Staph MRSA, Salmonella, E-Coli, Norwalk Virus (“Norovirus”), Listeria, Type 1 HIV, Hepatitis B, Pseudomonas and the vast majority of other harmful viruses and bacteria.

The company can be found and followed online at www.level4bio.com, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

About Level4 Bio

Level4 Bio is the first safe power sanitizing service designed to kill surface and airborne pathogens including the world’s worst germs. Using a patented distribution system and chemical formula, the company helps facilities and businesses contain and kill harmful viruses and bacteria that put human health and safety at risk. The solution is safe for use in any environment where people live and work, including directly on sensitive medical equipment and fine electronics. Level4 Bio technology is registered with the FDA as a medical device, EPA approved and UL certified.

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Understanding E-Coli (Escherichia coli)

Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses. Still other kinds of E. coli are used as markers for water contamination—so you might hear about E. coli being found in drinking water, which are not themselves harmful, but indicate the water is contaminated. It does get a bit confusing—even to microbiologists.

Who gets E-Coli infections?

People of any age can become infected. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) than others, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of STEC infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/less than 38.5˚C). Most people get better within 5–7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

What are the complications?

Around 5–10% of those who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Clues that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Persons with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most persons with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.

Should an infected person be excluded from school or work?

School and work exclusion policies differ by local jurisdiction. Check with your local or state health department to learn more about the laws where you live. In any case, good hand-washing after changing diapers, after using the toilet, and before preparing food is essential to prevent the spread of these and many other infections.

How long can an infected person carry STEC?

STEC typically disappear from the feces by the time the illiness is resolved, but may be shed for several weeks, even after symptoms go away. Young children tend to carry STEC longer than adults. A few people keep shedding these bacteria for several months. Good hand-washing is always a smart idea to protect yourself, your family, and other persons.

What is the best treatment for STEC infection?

Non-specific supportive therapy, including hydration, is important. Antibiotics should not be used to treat this infection. There is no evidence that treatment with antibiotics is helpful, and taking antibiotics may increase the risk of HUS. Antidiarrheal agents like Imodium® may also increase that risk.

Source: CDC.gov

What are ‘Superbugs’? Are they a problem?

Superbugs, viruses and bacteria are broad terms we use to describe different types of germs. Germs exist in all sorts of places; outside, at home, in hospital, at work – pretty much everywhere.

Superbugs are germs (or pathogens) that are resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics are drugs which are used to kill bacteria that can cause illness. If a germ is resistant to the drug we use to kill it, then it will survive and continue to make people ill.

Superbugs thrive in semi-closed environments like hospitals, healthcare surgeries and nursing homes – where there is a high concentration of illness and germs. Some are already resistant to antibiotics, and others are learning from each other and developing resistance too.

Where they thrive

Unfortunately, these bugs thrive in semi-closed environments like hospitals, healthcare surgeries and nursing homes – where there is a high concentration of illness and germs. Some are already resistant to antibiotics, and others are learning from each other and developing resistance too.

Though antibiotics do work, their widespread use means some germs (pathogens) have evolved to become immune to them, and that means they are very difficult to treat.

Hospitals and other similar environments have an especially high number of people passing through, bringing with them contamination from many sources. The germs then collect and multiply, and it’s easy for the various germs to attack, because hospital patients are likely to have weakened immune systems due to ill health.

Level4 Bio kills MRSA and the vast majority of other viruses and bacteria, including the latest strains of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

Contact Us to Learn More

 

Norovirus: a leading cause of disease from contaminated foods in the U.S.

Anyone Can Get Norovirus

Anyone can be infected with noroviruses and get sick. Also, you can get norovirus illness more than once during your life. The illness often begins suddenly. You may feel very sick, with stomach cramping, throwing up, or diarrhea.

Noroviruses spread easily, causing more than 20 million gastroenteritis cases each year in the U.S. There’s no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection and no drug to treat it.

Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States. CDC estimates that each year more than 20 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are caused by noroviruses. That means about 1 in every 15 Americans will get norovirus illness each year. Norovirus is also estimated to cause over 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year in the United States.

Many Names, Same Symptoms

You may hear norovirus illness called “food poisoning” or “stomach flu.” It is true that food poisoning can be caused by noroviruses. But, other germs and chemicals can also cause food poisoning. Norovirus illness is not related to the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.

Symptoms of norovirus infection usually include diarrhea, throwing up, nausea, and stomach cramping.

Other, less common symptoms may include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and general sense of fatigue.

Although the Norovirus illness is usually not serious, it can be serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions. It can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and death.

Norovirus Spreads Quickly

Norovirus can spread quickly from person to person in crowded, closed places like long-term care facilities, daycare centers, schools, hotels, and cruise ships. Noroviruses can also be a major cause of gastroenteritis in restaurants and catered-meal settings if contaminated food is served.

Norovirus and Food

Norovirus is a leading cause of disease from contaminated foods in the United States. Foods that are most commonly involved in foodborne norovirus outbreaks include leafy greens (such as lettuce), fresh fruits, and shellfish (such as oysters). However, any food item that is served raw or handled after being cooked can become contaminated with noroviruses.

The viruses are found in the vomit and stool of infected people. You can get it by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus (someone gets stool or vomit on their hands, then touches food or drink).
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them).

People with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover. But, some people may be contagious for even longer.

Norovirus: No Vaccine and No Treatment

There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection. Also, there is no drug to treat people who get sick from the virus. Antibiotics will not help if you have norovirus illness. This is because antibiotics fight against bacteria, not viruses.

Stop the Spread of Norovirus

  1. Practice proper hand hygiene: yes, wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food.
  2. Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
  3. Do not prepare food while infected.

Another Key to Containing Norovirus Outbreaks

The other key to stopping the spread of Norovirus, especially in crowded or contained areas, is to ensure you are sanitizing environments from floor to ceiling and everywhere in between, including transmission points where traditional, water-based chemicals and spraying / wiping techniques aren’t as effective such as fine electronics such as computers, keyboards, food processing equipment, etc.

Questions? Contact us to learn more about how Level4 Bio can help safely and effectively disinfect, protect and minimize the spread of the Norovirus in any environment where people live and work.

Level4 Bio Launches Power Sanitizing Service to Kill Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs

FDA Registered Technology, EPA Approved, Proven Safe and Effective in Any Environment Where People Live and Work

(Fountain Hills, Arizona. Mar 2, 2012) – Level4 Bio, the first safe power sanitizing service for killing surface and airborne pathogens in any environment, announced today the launch of the company and the general availability of its power sanitizing services.

The Level4 Bio solution is patented, registered with the FDA as a medical device, EPA approved and UL certified. The company was founded in Q4 2011 to help control and contain the impact and spread of infectious diseases including the latest strains of antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs.’

Superbugs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are strains of viruses and bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotic drugs. According to the CDC, such superbugs and other uncontrolled pathogens cost the United States billions of dollars every year, while causing hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of lives.

“Facilities and businesses have disinfected using bleach or alcohol-based spraying and wiping methods for more than fifty years,” commented Jeff Halmekangas, Vice President of Level4 Bio. “But bleach is harmful to the environment, and spraying and wiping techniques often cause cross-contamination and completely miss impossible-to-reach corners, nooks and vents where these ‘superbugs’ migrate and breed. And hand sanitizers, hot water and steam don’t kill harmful pathogens. Level4 Bio is far more effective in combating today’s pathogens, yet safe for people and the environment.”

Unlike traditional disinfecting methods, Level4 Bio uses a proprietary sanitizer containing a solution of 58.6% alcohol with a Four-Chain Quat and CO2 as a carrier. The CO2 distribution method atomizes the solution through power spraying technology, thoroughly disinfecting entire rooms in minutes, including areas beyond human reach. The solution dries in seconds and continues sanitizing after it has dried, leaving the area safe and ready for immediate use.

The technology is already in use in a number of hospitals and brand named food-processing plants across the country. It is proven safe on direct food surfaces and in human contact areas. The solution is lab-tested and proven to kill the vast majority of surface and airborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E-Coli, Norwalk (“Noro”) Virus, Listeria, Type 1 HIV, Avian Flu (H5N1), Influenza A (H1N1), Hepatitis B, Pseudomonas, Staph, Staph MRSA and others.

The company derived its name from the relative Biosafety Levels (“BSL 1 – 4”) that the CDC uses to define the bio-containment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility. The company offers a free onsite virus and bacteria swab test to help facilities and businesses assess the effectiveness of their current disinfecting methods.

About Level4 Bio

Level4 Bio is the first safe power sanitizing service designed to kill surface and airborne pathogens including the world’s worst germs. Using a patented distribution method and chemical formula, the company helps facilities and businesses contain and kill harmful viruses and bacteria that put human health and safety at risk. The solution is safe for use in any environment where people live and work, including on sensitive medical equipment and fine electronics. Level4 Bio technology is registered with the FDA as a medical device, EPA approved and UL certified.

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What is MRSA?

Knowledge is Power: Understanding the Facts About MRSA

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections. More severe or potentially life-threatening MRSA infections occur most frequently among patients in healthcare settings.

Symptoms

MRSA in healthcare settings usually causes more severe and potentially life-threatening infections, such as bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, or pneumonia. The signs and symptoms will vary by the type and stage of the infection.

Skin Infections

In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. They often first look like spider bites or bumps that are red, swollen, and painful. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).

How MRSA is Spread in the Community

MRSA infections, as with all staph, are usually spread by having contact with someone’s skin infection or personal items they have used, like towels, bandages, or razors that touched their infected skin. These infections are most likely to be spread in places where people are in close contact with others—for instance, schools and locker rooms where athletes might share razors or towels.

Factors that have been associated with the spread of MRSA skin infections include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene. People may be more at risk in locations where these factors are common, including:athletic facilities, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities, and daycare centers.

Risks from Contaminated Surfaces

MRSA is found on people and not naturally found in the environment (e.g., soil, the ocean, lakes). MRSA could get on objects and surfaces outside the body if someone touches infected skin or certain areas of the body where these bacteria can live (like the nose) and then touches the object or surface. Another way that items can be contaminated with staph and MRSA is if they have direct contact with a person’s skin infection. Keeping skin infections covered with bandages is the best way to reduce the chance that surfaces will be contaminated with MRSA.

Even if surfaces have MRSA on them, this does not mean that you will definitely get an infection if you touch these surfaces. MRSA is most likely to cause problems when you have a cut or scrape that is not covered. That’s why it’s important to cover your cuts and open wounds with bandages. MRSA can also get into small openings in the skin, like the openings at hair follicles. The best defense is good hygiene. Keep your hands clean, use a barrier like clothing or towels between you and any surfaces you share with others (like gym equipment) and shower immediately after activities that involve direct skin contact with others. These are easy ways to decrease your risk of getting MRSA.

Hospitals and Healthcare Settings

Healthcare procedures can leave patients vulnerable to MRSA, which is typically spread in healthcare settings from patient to patient on unclean hands of healthcare personnel or through the improper use or reuse of equipment.

Hands may become contaminated with MRSA by contact with:

  • colonized or infected patients;
  • colonized or infected body sites of the personnel themselves; or
  • devices, items, or environmental surfaces contaminated with body fluids containing MRSA.

Appropriate hand hygiene such as washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub can prevent the spread of MRSA.

Source: CDC.gov

Ringing in the New Year and a Safer, Healthier 2012

As we ring in the new year and count our blessings, it’s hard not to look back on a 2011 filled with some unexpected outbreaks and a rise in hospital acquired infections. We just launched Level4 Bio in November, 2011 and since then, I’ve become laser focused on watching the headlines for such news. I’m shocked by the statistics, but with every headline I see, I’m even more excited about how Level4 Bio will help save lives and save businesses from the devastating effects of the world’s worst germs.

Why Did We Call it “Level4 Bio?”
Every pathogen is categorized based on a ‘biosafety level,’ which is the level of the biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4). These levels were developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and created to communicate the relative danger to the surrounding environment. The same classification levels are also used by the European Union.

While most of the foodborne, airborne and surface pathogens encountered in the U.S. fall into the BSL 1, 2 and 3 levels, our goal is to help eliminate and prevent them all, including the Level4 germs wherever they hide and breed. Yep, it’s a lofty goal, but people who set out to change the world should have lofty goals in mind. Whether we help one, or one hundred million — our mission is clear: to protect people and business from the world’s worst germs.

Cheers to a Healthier, Safer 2012
So check back often and watch for updates from us across our site, other related blogs and on our social media pages for more as we launch and build the business.

From the team at Level4 Bio, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

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