You’re such a cute bunny; yes you are; and you can carry dangerous bacteria

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic (e.g. Salmonella spp.), pathogenic, and opportunistic (e.g. E. coli) bacteria in animals represents a potential reservoir of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and resistance genes to bacteria infecting humans and other animals. This study evaluated the prevalence of E. coli and Salmonella enterica, and the presence of associated AMR in commercial meat, companion, research, and shelter rabbits in Canada. Associations between antimicrobial usage and prevalence of AMR in bacterial isolates were also examined in commercial meat rabbits.

Culture and susceptibility testing was conducted on pooled fecal samples from weanling and adult commercial meat rabbits taken during both summer and winter months (n = 100, 27 farms), and from pooled laboratory (n = 14, 8 laboratory facilities), companion (n = 53), and shelter (n = 15, 4 shelters) rabbit fecal samples.

At the facility level, E. coli was identified in samples from each commercial rabbit farm, laboratory facility, and 3 of 4 shelters, and in 6 of 53 companion rabbit fecal samples. Seventy-nine of 314 (25.2%; CI: 20.7-30.2%) E. coli isolates demonstrated resistance to >1 antimicrobial agent. At least one E. coli isolate resistant to at least one antimicrobial agent was present in samples from 55.6% of commercial farms, and from 25% of each laboratory and shelter facilities, with resistance to tetracycline being most common; no resistance was identified in companion animal samples. Salmonella enterica subsp. was identified exclusively in pooled fecal samples from commercial rabbit farms; Salmonella enterica serovar London from one farm and Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky from another. The S. Kentucky isolate was resistant to amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefoxitin, ceftiofur, ceftriaxone, streptomycin, and tetracycline, whereas the S. London isolate was pansusceptible. Routine use of antimicrobials on commercial meat rabbit farms was not significantly associated with the presence of antimicrobial resistant E. coli or S. enterica on farms; trends towards resistance were present when resistance to specific antimicrobial classes was examined. E. coli was widely prevalent in many Canadian domestic rabbit populations, while S. enterica was rare. The prevalence of AMR in isolated bacteria was variable and most common in isolates from commercial meat rabbits (96% of the AMR isolates were from commercial meat rabbit fecal samples).

Our results highlight that domestic rabbits, and particularly meat rabbits, may be carriers of phenotypically antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and AMR genes, possibly contributing to transmission of these bacteria and their genes to bacteria in humans through food or direct contact, as well as to other co-housed animal species.

Prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in fecal Escherchia coli and Salmonella Enterica in Canadian commercial meat, companion, laboratory, and shelter rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) ad its association with routine antimicrobial use in commercial meat rabbits

Preventative Veterinary Medicine, vol 147, 1 November 2017, Pages 53-57, Jennifer Kylie, Scott A. McEwen, Patrick Boerlin, Richard J. Reid-Smith, J. Scott Weese, Patricia V. Turner, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2017.09.004

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167587716305062

Plastic in shellfish

My wife and I were visiting her relatives in France back in 2009 and I can recall her uncle shucking fresh oysters that he had caught just moments before. He served them raw with a fresh wedge of lemon and beer. I enjoyed the beer, couldn’t stand the oysters. It seems that along the coast of British Columbia (Canada), researchers have found plastic particles in shellfish.

Ken Christensen of NPR writes

Sarah Dudas doesn’t mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science.
But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she’ll probably point out a bivalve’s gonads or remark on its fertility.
“These are comments I make at dinner parties,” she said. “I’ve spent too much time doing dissections. I’ve done too many spawnings.”
And lately, the shellfish biologist is making other unappetizing comments to her dinner party guests — about plastics in those shellfish.
In 2016, she and her students at Vancouver Island University planted thousands of clams and oysters across coastal British Columbia and let them soak in the sand and saltwater of the Strait of Georgia. Three months later, they dissolved hundreds of them with chemicals, filtered out the biodegradable matter and looked at the remaining material under a microscope. Inside this Pacific Northwest culinary staple, they found a rainbow of little plastic particles.
“So when you eat clams and oysters, you’re eating plastics as well,” Dudas says.
Funded by the Canadian government and British Columbia’s shellfish trade association, the project aimed to learn whether the shellfish aquaculture industry may be contaminating its own crop by using plastic infrastructure like nets, buoys and ropes. The experiment was a response to those claims by local environmental groups.
But tracking the origins of tiny plastic particles in a big ocean is new territory. So Dudas turned to Peter Ross, who has studied the effects of ocean pollution on sea life for 30 years.
“We’ve long known that plastic and debris can be a problem for ocean life,” says Ross, director of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Pollution Research Program.
In 2013, he began sampling the coast of British Columbia for microplastics. The researchers found up to 9,200 particles of microplastic per cubic meter of seawater — about the equivalent of emptying a salt shaker into a large moving box.
“So, large numbers,” Ross says. “Rather shocking numbers.”

The rest of the story can be found here.

Should they have animals? 13 sickened including several hospitalized after E. coli outbreak linked to California pumpkin farm last year

Drew Bollea of CBS Sacremento reports a California pumpkin farm south of Marysville is set to open for the season after making changes to its petting zoo following an E. coli outbreak last year.

Roughly 180,000 people will come through the gates of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm during the seven weeks they’re open this fall.

“We spent a lot of time last winter thinking about whether we should even have animals,” said Wayne Bishop, the Co-Owner of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm.

Bishop says the decision was difficult after an E. coli outbreak last year was linked to their farm.

“Five to 10 people who were seriously ill,” said Bishop.

According to a report by the California Department of Health, E. coli was detected in fecal matter found in more than a dozen samples from the petting zoo. Thirteen people reported an illness and exposure to the petting zoo. Several children ended up in the hospital for observation.

“With all that rain, it’s very possible that bacteria was washed out of the pens out into areas that people were walking,” said Bishop describing one theory of how people may have contracted the bacteria.

So what changes were made to the petting zoo at Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm this year?

  • The animals are now vaccinated
  • Guests are required to watch a health and safety video
  • The pens are redesigned to keep waste and water away from guests.
  • Bishop added more hand washing stations near the entrance and exit making it nearly impossible to leave the petting zoo without washing your hands.

“If you want to be able to pet animals, this is the safest place in the world to do it,” said Bishop.

Erdozain GKukanich KChapman BPowell D. 2012. Observation of public health risk behaviours, risk communication and hand hygiene at Kansas and Missouri petting zoos – 2010-2011. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012 Jul 30. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01531.x. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract below:

Observation of public health risk behaviors, risk communication and hand hygiene at Kansas and Missouri petting zoos – 2010-2011Outbreaks of human illness have been linked to visiting settings with animal contact throughout developed countries. This paper details an observational study of hand hygiene tool availability and recommendations; frequency of risky behavior; and, handwashing attempts by visitors in Kansas (9) and Missouri (4), U.S., petting zoos. Handwashing signs and hand hygiene stations were available at the exit of animal-contact areas in 10/13 and 8/13 petting zoos respectively. Risky behaviors were observed being performed at all petting zoos by at least one visitor. Frequently observed behaviors were: children (10/13 petting zoos) and adults (9/13 petting zoos) touching hands to face within animal-contact areas; animals licking children’s and adults’ hands (7/13 and 4/13 petting zoos, respectively); and children and adults drinking within animal-contact areas (5/13 petting zoos each). Of 574 visitors observed for hand hygiene when exiting animal-contact areas, 37% (n=214) of individuals attempted some type of hand hygiene, with male adults, female adults, and children attempting at similar rates (32%, 40%, and 37% respectively). Visitors were 4.8x more likely to wash their hands when a staff member was present within or at the exit to the animal-contact area (136/231, 59%) than when no staff member was present (78/343, 23%; p<0.001, OR=4.863, 95% C.I.=3.380-6.998). Visitors at zoos with a fence as a partial barrier to human-animal contact were 2.3x more likely to wash their hands (188/460, 40.9%) than visitors allowed to enter the animals’ yard for contact (26/114, 22.8%; p<0.001, OR= 2.339, 95% CI= 1.454-3.763). Inconsistencies existed in tool availability, signage, and supervision of animal-contact. Risk communication was poor, with few petting zoos outlining risks associated with animal-contact, or providing recommendations for precautions to be taken to reduce these risks.

Always tragic: 3-year-old dead in Japan E. coli O157 outbreak; 23 sickened

Tokyo Daily News reports a 3-year-old girl is the first confirmed death in an outbreak of food poisoning linked to potato salad and other dishes from the Delicious self-service chain of stores.

The Tokyo toddler died after eating food from the Delicious Rokku outlet in Maebashi, capital of Gunma Prefecture, said the Maebashi Health Center.

The girl experienced diarrhea and stomach pains several days later, and was hospitalized in Tokyo. She died in early September. A female relative from Maebashi who shared the food also came down with diarrhea and other problems, but recovered.

The O157 E. coli bacteria detected in the girl was of the same type as that found in 20 other people in Gunma and Saitama prefectures since late August.

While many of those fell ill after consuming potato salad, the toddler instead ate fried food that included shrimp and bamboo shoots.

The fried dishes the girl ate were produced by Fresh Corp. in Ota, also Gunma Prefecture, which operates the Delicious chain stores.

The Maebashi Health Center concluded that the girl’s death resulted from the dishes sold in the Delicious Rokku outlet where 11 people in total ate food contaminated with the E. coli bacteria.

The food poisoning case involving the Delicious chain stores first emerged Aug. 21 when the Saitama prefectural government announced that eight men and women who had eaten potato salad from the Delicious Kagohara outlet in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, on Aug. 7 or 8 had suffered diarrhea or stomach pains. They included a 5-year-old girl who fell unconscious, but recovered.

 

Raw milk is risky

I have friends who grew up on the farm their entire lives and insist on drinking raw milk as they feel that pasteurization completing devoid the milk of nutrients. I can preach about the dangers of consuming raw milk supported with scientific facts but that’s not going to change their minds. They’re adults, they can make their own choices; just don’t impose your choice on a child. When I was younger I was courting a girl who lived on a dairy farm in rural Manitoba (Canada). She insisted on drinking raw milk and offered some to me. I was aware that raw milk was risky but this way before my food safety days. So like many boys courting women, you sometimes make foolish mistakes and so I drank the milk. Puked it up. Not because of microbial reasons, just tasted horrible, maybe it was that batch, not sure.

Kristi Rosa reports
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued an official health advisory regarding a rifampin/penicillin-resistant strain of RB51 Brucella that has been linked with the consumption of raw milk; this follows a alert issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that was issued back in mid-August.

The DSHS defines raw milk as “milk from cows or other animals that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.” Raw milk can be contaminated with several different bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter—all bacteria that are known to be responsible for countless disease outbreaks.

The individual who contracted brucellosis is a Texas resident who was exhibiting fever, muscle and joint pain, as well as fatigue. The DSHS reports that blood culture revealed the bacteria responsible for these symptoms was, in fact, Brucella. Further investigation tracked the infection back to a potential source: a licensed raw milk dairy based in Paradise, Texas, called K-Bar Dairy.

The CDC stresses that any individuals who have consumed raw milk from this dairy between June 1, 2017 and August 7, 2017 should “receive appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).” These individuals are thus at increased risk for infection and should contact their healthcare providers to inquire about PEP and undergo potential diagnostic testing.

K-Bar Dairy has fully cooperated with the CDC’s investigation and has contacted customers and advised them to dispose of any milk that may be contaminated. However, the dairy does not have a record of all customers, therefore, the DSHS alerted the public about the recall on August 14, 2017.

The rest of the story can be found here.

Was it the bulgogi burger? HUS outbreak in S. Korea linked to McDonald’s

Bulgogi is literally “fire meat,” a Korean-style grilled or roasted dish made of thin, marinated slices of beef or pork, grilled on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle. It is also often stir-fried in a pan in home cooking

A Bulgogi burger is the same idea.

Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting an epidemiological investigation into a case of 7 children and 1 adult who showed symptoms of food poisoning with vomiting and diarrhea after eating McDonald’s hamburgers on 25 Aug 2017 at a Jeonju branch in North Jeolla.

Authorities are not ruling out the possibility that the 8 individuals contracted hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), widely known as “hamburger disease,” a bacterial infection that can leave the renal system severely damaged.

On 25 Aug 2017, a group of 15 adults and elementary school students from the same church in Jeonju visited McDonald’s Jeonju branch and ate bulgogi burgers together. A day later, 7 children and 1 adult experienced diarrhea and vomiting. The authorities declared an epidemiological probe into the case on Sat 2 Sep 2017.

As the case was publicized, McDonald’s Korea halted selling bulgogi burgers nationwide starting on Sat 2 Sep 2017. On its website, a notice says, “We have decided to stop selling bulgogi burgers pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation by authorities,” adding that the multinational company’s Korean branch was taking the issue seriously. It also said the company will do its best to help patients recover, though without elaborating on how or when.

The outcome of the ongoing probe is expected to be made public around Wed 6 Sep 2017.

ProMED-mail reports classic bulgogi recipes use a marinade of soy, ginger, garlic, and gochujang (Korean chili paste) to flavor and tenderize strips of meat. Because combining a marinade into ground beef would change the consistency of the hamburger, making it more of a “sloppy-joe”, usually a bulgogi inspired sauce is used on top of the burger although a Korean inspired spice combination can be added to the ground beef.

31 sickened by E. coli O55 in Dorset: Almost 4 years later, health-types’ report is public

In Dec. 2014, an outbreak of E. coli O55 was identified in Dorset, UK with at least 31 sickened. Public Health England (PHE) and local environmental health officials investigated and found nothing, other than cats were also being affected.

There was a protracted battle between local residents affected by the outbreak, and the lack of disclosure by PHE, documented in June, 2017.

But now, the health-types have gone public, in a report in the current issue of Eurosurveillance.

The first documented British outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O55:H7 began in the county of Dorset, England, in July 2014. Since then, there have been a total of 31 cases of which 13 presented with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). The outbreak strain had Shiga toxin (Stx) subtype 2a associated with an elevated risk of HUS. This strain had not previously been isolated from humans or animals in England. The only epidemiological link was living in or having close links to two areas in Dorset.

Extensive investigations included testing of animals and household pets. Control measures included extended screening, iterative interviewing and exclusion of cases and high-risk contacts. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) confirmed that all the cases were infected with similar strains. A specific source could not be identified. The combination of epidemiological investigation and WGS indicated, however, that this outbreak was possibly caused by recurrent introductions from a local endemic zoonotic source, that a highly similar endemic reservoir appears to exist in the Republic of Ireland but has not been identified elsewhere, and that a subset of cases was associated with human-to-human transmission in a nursery.

Recurrent seasonal outbreak of an emerging serotype of shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC O55:H7 STX2A) in the South West of England, July 2014 to September 2015

Eurosurveillance, vol 22, issue 36, 07 September 2017, N McFarland, N Bundle, C Jenkins, G Godbole, A Mikhail, T Dallman, C O’Connor, N McCarthy, E O’Connell, J Treacy, G Dabke, J Mapstone, Y Landy, J Moore, R Partridge, F Jorgensen, C Willis, P Mook, C Rawlings, R Acornley, C Featherstone, S Gayle, J Edge, E McNamara, J Hawker, Balasegaram, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.36.30610,

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22872

Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

Mar.17

NEHA, Volume 79.7, Pages 8-14

Benjamin Chapman, Maria Sol Erdozaim, Douglas Powell

http://www.neha.org/node/58904

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness, there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk prior to notifying the public. During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public. Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly, health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions. Information provision on its own is not enough.

Risk communication, to be effective and grounded in behavior theory, should provide control measure options for risk management decisions. There is no indication in the literature that consumers benefit from paternalistic protection decisions to guard against information overload. A review of the risk communication literature related to outbreaks, as well as case studies of actual incidents, are explored and a blueprint for health authorities to follow is provided.

Food safety broken telephone; or is someone really testing food for hepatitis A?

‘You can’t test your way to safe food.’ This saying has been attributed to many folks, including Doug. Not sure who said it first (and it really doesn’t matter). What the phrase means is that to have certainly of the safety of food, you’d have to test it all; for all the pathogens.

Not practical.

So folks correctly resort to some sort of sampling program that includes the environment and the food. And they look for indicators.

I’ve never heard of anyone screening foods, like pineapple cups, for the hepatitis A virus.

Maybe someone is. Or at least that’s what this headline from the aptly named and go-to-source for all things food safety, Big Country XX, says, ‘Hepatitis A virus found in product that was sold in Grande Prairie.’

Was it really found in it? How did the virus get there? How did someone decide to look for it? What assay was used.

BC CDC, who appears to be the original source of the info, doesn’t say much about why they think Hep a is in the fruit.

So many unanswered questions.

Mugabe says his family ice cream business didn’t make his VP sick

Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, has a past filled with genocide and tyranny. He’s a generally terrible person, described in a 2002 New Yorker profile as presiding ‘over the country as a tyrant in the classical sense of the word: an autocrat who rules exclusively for his own gratification, with contempt for the common good.’

In a country that has been mismanaged by an egomaniac, the unemployment rate is as high as 95%. Just don’t tell Mugabe that his family’s business made his vice president ill.

According to IOL, Mugabe is denying that his family’s ice cream made Emmerson Mnangagwa sick.

President Robert Mugabe on Friday, said his deputy, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sickness three weeks ago was not a result of “food” poisoning.

Mugabe told close to 30 000 Zanu-PF supporters in Gweru on Friday afternoon, that they had conducted all tests on possible “food” poisoning, but the results showed that Mnangagwa’s sickness was not because of anything he had ingested.

“There was no food poisoning. It is not food poisoning, no!” the 93-year-old Zimbabwean leader thundered, without ruling out the “poisoning” aspect.

Mugabe said allegations that Mnangagwa fell sick because he had eaten ice cream from Alpha and Omega Dairies – a company owned by the Mugabes – was disturbing.

Three weeks ago, Mnangagwa had to be airlifted to Gweru for immediate attention, before being flown to South Africa for further treatment, where doctors said they had detected traces of palladium poison, which had partly damaged part of his liver.