ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
CANCER
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness

(HealthDay News) -- Poor cleaning of restrooms aboard cruise ships raises the risk of norovirus-caused gastrointestinal illness outbreaks, a new study finds.

Norovirus causes about 95 percent of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks that occur on cruise ships. Between 2003 and 2008, norovirus outbreaks occurred on 66 ships monitored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In this study, U.S. researchers checked 273 cruise-ship restrooms on 1,546 occasions and found that only 37 percent of them were cleaned daily. Overall, toilet seats were the best-cleaned objects in the restrooms, while baby changing tables were the least thoroughly cleaned objects. On three ships, none of the baby changing tables were cleaned during the study period.

The researchers also found that 19 restroom objects in 13 ships weren't cleaned at all during the entire five- to-seven-day monitoring period. Toilet area handholds were largely neglected and accounted for more than half of the uncleaned objects on 11 ships.

The thoroughness of restroom cleaning didn't differ by cruise line, the study said.

The findings are important because five of the six evaluated restroom objects are easily contaminated by pathogens during regular use.

"Although hand hygiene with soap after toileting may diminish the transmission of enteric pathogens via bathroom door knobs or pulls, hand washing is unlikely to mitigate the potential for any of the other toilet area contact surfaces to serve as a source of transmission of enteric pathogens," study author Dr. Philip Carling, a professor of clinical medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, said in a school news release.

"Furthermore, there was substantial potential for washed hands to become contaminated while the passenger was exiting the restroom, given that only 35 percent of restroom exit knobs or pulls were cleaned daily. Only disinfection cleaning by cruise ship staff can reasonably be expected to mitigate these risks," he said.

The Cruise Lines International Association on Friday issued a response to the findings.

"The cruising industry takes the sanitation of its vessels and the mitigation of all gastrointestinal illnesses, including norovirus, very seriously," the statement read. "Our comprehensive public health and sanitation procedures -- which go above and beyond this study's focus on public restrooms -- are highly effective in maintaining healthy settings for families on vacation. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of norovirus outbreaks take place at land-based locations, such as schools, daycare centers, hospitals and nursing homes."

The study appears in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

SOURCES: Boston University School of Medicine, news release, Nov. 2, 2009 Published on: November 06, 2009