India:1 farmer dead, 67 ill in food poisoning at seed promo

A farmer died and 67 others were hospitalised due to alleged food poisoning after they participated in a lunch given by a seed manufacturing company in Dindori, India on Wednesday. The police have arrested the caterer who distributed the food and the cook who prepared it.

Police sources said a seed manufacturing company had arranged a seminar on hybrid tomato US 1143 at Umrale village in Dindori tehsil of Nashik district on Wednesday. Around 300 farmers attended the seminar. Later lunch was served which, according to the farmers included mattha. Mattha, a digestive drink, is curd diluted with water with addition of coriander and spices.

After the lunch, the farmers began feeling uneasy. Farmer Atul Pandurang Kedar (41) of Umrale Bu village began feeling dizzy and collapsed. He was treated at a private hospital in Umrale and then rushed Magnum Heart Hospital in Nashik. From here he was shifted to Nashik Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to the alleged food poisoning on Wednesday evening while 67 others have been admitted to various hospitals.

Senior police inspector Rajesh Shirsath told The Asian Age on Thursday that they had sealed the food, which included rice, jelabi and mattha. “Our forensic team checked everything and will submit its report to our seniors,” he said.

Water water everywhere, but is it safe?

Potable water and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control: two things we take for granted.

CDC reports that during 2013–2014, a total of 42 drinking water–associated outbreaks were reported, resulting in at least 1,006 cases of illness, 124 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths. Legionella was responsible for 57% of outbreaks and 13% of illnesses, and chemicals/toxins and parasites together accounted for 29% of outbreaks and 79% of illnesses. Eight outbreaks caused by parasites resulted in 289 (29%) cases, among which 279 (97%) were caused by Cryptosporidium and 10 (3%) were caused by Giardia duodenalis. Chemicals or toxins were implicated in four outbreaks involving 499 cases, with 13 hospitalizations, including the first outbreaks associated with algal toxins.

To provide information about drinking water–associated waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States in which the first illness occurred in 2013 or 2014 (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/drinking-surveillance-reports.html), CDC analyzed outbreaks reported to the CDC Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System through NORS (https://www.cdc.gov/nors/about.html) as of December 31, 2015. For an event to be defined as a waterborne disease outbreak, two or more cases must be linked epidemiologically by time, location of water exposure, and illness characteristics; and the epidemiologic evidence must implicate water exposure as the probable source of illness. Data requested for each outbreak include 1) the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; 2) the etiologic agent (confirmed or suspected); 3) the implicated water system; 4) the setting of exposure; and 5) relevant epidemiologic and environmental data needed to understand the outbreak occurrences and for determining the deficiency classification.§ One previously unreported outbreak with onset date of first illness in 2012 is presented but is not included in the analysis of outbreaks that occurred during 2013–2014.

Public health officials from 19 states reported 42 outbreaks associated with drinking water during the surveillance period (Table 1) (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/drinking-water-tables-figures.html).

One outbreak reported during 2013–2014 in an individual system led to 100 estimated illnesses associated with a wedding. The public health challenges highlighted here underscore the need for rapid detection, identification of the cause, and response when drinking water is contaminated by infectious pathogens, chemicals, or toxins to prevent and control waterborne illness and outbreaks.

Raw is risky: Over 100 oyster festival attendees ill in Maryland

Health officials say they are investigating a stomach flu outbreak, after over 100 people are apparently ill after attending an oyster festival, in Worcester County.

The Maryland Department of Health says on Friday, that their Division of Outbreak Investigation is working with the Worcester County Health Department to investigate a gastroenteritis outbreak that happened at a Beer and Oyster Festival, in Ocean City. The festival was apparently held at Fager’s Island Restaurant, on November 4.

According to state health officials, to date, there have been 145 cases of illness reported in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey that could be connected to the outbreak. There have been no reports of hospitalizations and deaths.

Two stricken with Giardia in Norway

Many thanks to our Norwegian correspondent who reports that two people admitted to Haukeland Hospital have been diagnosed with Giardia infection.

“We have two confirmed cases, but it is possibly a third too. It is too early to say anything about the source of infection,” says Surveillance Authority in Bergen municipality Kari Stidal Øystese.

Bergen is sensitive to Giardia outbreaks because in autumn 2004, the drinking water was infected by the Giardia parasite and approximately 5,000 people from Bergen became sick, and many have suffered after-effects for years.

In 2006, a SINTEF report commissioned drainage systems related to the buildings at Knatten, Starefossen and Tarlebøveien, triggered the epidemic. Local authority Torgeir Landvik would blame the dog owners for the fact that thousands of mountain people were infected by Giardia in the fall of 2004. But in 2015, an expert group picked up the dog-kit theory. “Based on available knowledge, Giardia infection from humans is still the most likely cause of the outbreak of disease and long-term strokes,” said the group’s conclusion.

A large community outbreak of waterborne giardiasis- delayed detection in a non-endemic urban area

BMC Public Health, 2006, 6:141,   Karin Nygård, Barbara Schimmer, Øystein Søbstad, Anna Walde, Ingvar Tveit, Nina Langeland, Trygve Hausken and Preben Aavitsland, https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-6-141

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-6-141

Background

Giardia is not endemic in Norway, and more than 90% of reported cases acquire the infection abroad. In late October 2004, an increase in laboratory confirmed cases of giardiasis was reported in the city of Bergen. An investigation was started to determine the source and extent of the outbreak in order to implement control measures.

Methods

Cases were identified through the laboratory conducting giardia diagnostics in the area. All laboratory-confirmed cases were mapped based on address of residence, and attack rates and relative risks were calculated for each water supply zone. A case control study was conducted among people living in the central area of Bergen using age- and sex matched controls randomly selected from the population register.

Results

The outbreak investigation showed that the outbreak started in late August and peaked in early October. A total of 1300 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported. Data from the Norwegian Prescription Database gave an estimate of 2500 cases treated for giardiasis probably linked to the outbreak. There was a predominance of women aged 20–29 years, with few children or elderly. The risk of infection for persons receiving water from the water supply serving Bergen city centre was significantly higher than for those receiving water from other supplies. Leaking sewage pipes combined with insufficient water treatment was the likely cause of the outbreak.

Conclusion

Late detection contributed to the large public health impact of this outbreak. Passive surveillance of laboratory-confirmed cases is not sufficient for timely detection of outbreaks with non-endemic infections.

Use a thermometer: 21 sickened: Campy in UK liver pate, again

Yorkshire Coast Radio reports Diversorium Ltd, the company which owns and operates the Downe Arms, a country inn hotel in Wykeham near Scarborough, has been fined £8,000 for two serious food hygiene related offences after an outbreak of Campylobacter food poisoning was traced back to contaminated chicken liver pate eaten at the hotel.

Following a prosecution by Scarborough Borough Council, Diversorium Ltd pleaded guilty at Scarborough Magistrates Court to two offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations after 21 people fell ill following a Christmas party night on 17 December 2016 and a Christmas break package at the hotel during the same month. The court ruled that fines of £5,000 and £3000 respectively should be paid for the offences. The company was also ordered to pay the council £2170 in costs.

The council’s Environmental Health team received complaints from those affected by the food poisoning and during the subsequent investigation it was apparent that there were a number of issues which were not consistent with good hygiene practices and food safety management records were incomplete. In particular, the process for preparing the chicken liver pate had not been validated by appropriate temperature monitoring and recording, and food safety was not being managed effectively. The extensive investigation, carried out in conjunction with Public Health England, concluded that the pate was the most probable cause of the illness. The business was subsequently marked down to a food hygiene rating of 1 (major improvement necessary).

Hospitals should watch their litigation backside if growing their own produce with no safety talk

I’m not Debbie Downer, but I am Dougie Downer and never get invited to dinner.

This idea has risk written all over it.

Sarah Toy of USA Today writes that high atop the roof of a Boston hospital power plant in the middle of the city, you’ll find something unexpected: A 7,000-square-foot oasis with a lush carpet of green, rows upon rows of mesclun, kale, rainbow chard and a sea of plump green and red tomatoes.

Sounds good, has all the buzzwords except the one that I and anyone serving meals to immunocompromised people in hospitals should care about: microbiologically safe.

“There is an increasing trend in hospital farms,” said Stacia Clinton, the national program director for Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care program, which advises hospitals on ways to provide sustainable and nutritious food. “There’s a greater demand now for people to know where their food is coming from, and hospitals are looking for ways to connect people to their food more directly.”

No mention of produce food safety.

If it’s growing on roofs, birds –Salmonella and Campylobacter factories – are crapping on the stuff, and washing does almost nothing.

Rabid bat in salad: LGMA said anything?

On April 3, 2017, two Florida residents consumed part of the same prepackaged salad before reportedly discovering the partial remains of a bat carcass in the salad. Bats are known reservoirs for rabies virus, which causes rabies disease in both animals and humans (1). The persons who ate the salad contacted the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH), which notified CDC’s Poxvirus and Rabies Branch. CDC and FLDOH determined that the immediate concern was for potential rabies virus exposure, because approximately 6% of bats submitted to U.S. public health departments annually test positive for rabies virus (2,3).

Grey Headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

(This is an Australian flying fox, left; everything is bigger here.)

Although percutaneous exposures are more likely to result in successful transmission of rabies virus to humans (1), transmission can occur when infectious material, such as saliva or nervous tissue from an infected animal, comes into direct contact with human mucosa (2). Infection with rabies virus causes an acute, progressive encephalitis that is nearly always fatal once clinical signs have begun. The disease is preventable if exposed persons receive timely postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), which includes human rabies immunoglobulin and 4 doses of inactivated rabies vaccine administered over 14 days (4).

FLDOH submitted the bat carcass to CDC for rabies virus testing on April 4. Polymerase chain reaction and direct fluorescent antibody tests were inconclusive because of the deteriorated condition of the carcass. However, because the cranium of the bat was intact, exposure to brain material by the persons who consumed the salad was unlikely, although exposure to the bat’s organs or peripheral nervous tissue was possible. PEP was recommended because laboratory test results were inconclusive and exposure to nervous tissue could not be ruled out.

The salad was purchased from a company A store location. After being notified of the investigation, company A removed the lot of prepackaged salad from all store locations on April 5. Company B (the prepackaged salad supplier) recalled the affected lot of salads on April 8. CDC advised consumers to contact their local health department for PEP evaluation only if the consumer had eaten a recalled prepackaged salad and had found animal material in the salad. CDC was not notified of any other reports of dead bats in prepackaged salads.

To identify where the bat might have been introduced into the prepackaged salad, CDC performed genetic analyses on the bat to determine its subspecies. Based on morphology and phylogenetic analyses (Bayesian inference and haplotype network analyses) of mitochondrial DNA sequence data (Cytb and D-loop), the bat was identified as a Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana), which is found throughout the southwestern United States. It is genetically distinct from T. brasiliensis cynocephala, which occurs in the southeastern United States (Figure) (5).

The investigation determined that cutting and harvesting of greens for the recalled salad occurred in fields in the west and southwest United States before they were transported to a processing plant in Georgia. At the processing plant, the greens were washed with chlorinated water and packaged. Given the physical condition of the bat (e.g., decomposed, bisected) and the geographic location of the fields and the processing plant, along with the genetic identification of the bat, investigators concluded the bat most likely came into contact with the salad material in the field during harvesting and cutting and was then transported to the processing facility.

Several factors likely reduced the risk for rabies virus transmission to the two Florida consumers. No rabies virus was detected in the specimen, the bat’s cranium was intact, and the salad was rinsed before packaging, thereby diluting any potential virus. In addition, mucosal membrane exposures have rarely been proven to result in rabies disease, and rabies virus does not survive more than a few days outside a host (2). Although this exposure was likely of low risk, this investigation was an example of effective industry and government collaboration to remove a product of concern from the marketplace rapidly to protect consumers.

‘Notes from the Field: Postexposure Prophylaxis for Rabies After Consumption of a Prepackaged Salad Containing a Bat Carcass — Florida, 2017

Weekly / October 27, 2017 / 66(42);1154–1155, Vikram Krishnasamy, MD1,2; Matthew R. Mauldin, PhD3; Matthew E. Wise, PhD2; Ryan Wallace, DVM3; Laura Whitlock, MPH2; Colin Basler, DVM2; Clint Morgan, MS3; Dana Grissom4; Sherry Worley4; Danielle Stanek, DVM5; Jamie DeMent, MNS5; Pamela Yager3; William Carson3; Rene E. Condori, MS3; Yoshinori Nakazawa, PhD3; Claire Walker3; Yu Li, PhD3; Christopher Wynens, DVM6; Allison Wellman, MPH6; James Ellison, PhD3; Emily Pieracci, DVM

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6642a7.htm?s_cid=mm6642a7_w

17 sick: Trichinosis outbreak linked to brown bear meat in Russia

Robert Herriman of Outbreak News Today reports that at least 17 people, including several children have contracted the parasitic infection, trichinosis, after eating smoked brown bear cub in Kataiga village in the Tomsk region of Russia.

“The fact of poisoning is confirmed, 12 people were hospitalized, one victim was taken to Tomsk to SibGMU clinics.” All in all, there are 17 cases of trichinosis. “In total, 29 cases of poisoning were detected in the region,” said EDDU employee Verkhneketskiy district.

The head of Verkheketsk district, Alexey Sidikhin, said: ‘The bear was killed in the summer, if not in the spring.

We are now looking for the hunters on our own. They also need to be warned that there is a risk of serious illness.’

Some meat was smoked, some salted. The hunters gifted the meat to villagers.

Village chief Ivan Nasonov said: ‘We have seized 57 kilograms of bear meat.

‘Some was sent analysis, some was destroyed.’

Vets test for deadly cat virus in Queensland after multiple deaths

My science writing career started with cats.

(The two black ones made it to Kasnas, the other one, Lucky, wasn’t so lucky)

My parents didn’t allow warm-blooded mammals in the house, just Salmonella-ridden turtles, so when my ex brought me 2 kittens from the vet clinic where she was a student, it still stands out as the nicest thing she ever did for me.

I wrote about cat behaviour, weekly, because I was fascinated and thought everyone else would be.

Maybe not, but I was editor-in-chief the next year, because of no bullshit and cats.

The ex wrote a book no one read except my former hockey team mates in which she stated the only thing I was good for was throwing off good-looking daughters.

Duh.

And people wonder why I have angst.

Calicivirus is when I got turned on to leaning.

A fourth-year virology class, we kids had to go do an independent project, and I chose Calicivirus.

Just woke me up to all the things that were available to learn, other than cats.

The Courier-Mail reports urgent testing is underway to determine the cause of death of a number of cats in south-east Queensland in the past month, with vets suspecting a particular strain of virus to be responsible.

In recent weeks there have been possibly 14 cases of Feline Calicivirus-Virulent Systemic Disease, or Virulent Calicivirus, reported in Queensland.Of those 14 cases – all but one have come from the Ipswich area, west of Brisbane.

Australian Small Animal Veterinarians President Dr Mark Kelman said laboratory testing was underway in Sydney.

“At this stage we’re not 100 per cent sure it’s this cat virus that’s going on. It’s still early days,” Dr Kelman said.

“It’s highly suspicious that it may be what we call Feline Calicivirus-Virulent Systemic Disease … it’s not common at all.

“If it is that it’s a variant of a fairly common virus which is the Feline Calicivirus but this particular strain causes more severe disease in cats and certainly can be fatal.”

Dr Kelman said he hoped to have a definitive answer within the next week.

Swollen legs a concerning symptom for cats

Three cats from the Ipswich area have died and others have been euthanised because of the severity of their symptoms, Dr Kelman said.

We’re all hosts on a viral planet.

Hockey player diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome

For some reason, Chapman doesn’t try hard, but he gets the best soundbites

If there was any band to be the lab house band back in the day, it was the Hip.

Hockey, rock ‘n roll, Canada.

Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Eaves has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, and his hockey career is on hold while he recovers.

The Ducks announced Eaves’ diagnosis Monday, and the club disclosed that the veteran goal-scorer was in intensive care last week.

Eaves is still hospitalized in Newport Beach, California, but his condition has stabilized.

“I’m on the road to recovery,” Eaves said in a statement issued by the Ducks. “I’ve received tremendous amount of support over the last few days, most importantly from my family, friends and teammates. I’m determined to fully overcome this and return to the ice as soon as possible.”

It was probably foodbore Campylobacter.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which a patient’s immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in death. Eaves’ condition was diagnosed early, an important factor in successful treatment.

Eaves thanked two specialists — Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. and Dr. Danny Benmoshe — for quickly discovering the disorder last week. Ducks general manager Bob Murray also praised the doctors.

“Our sole focus at this time is on Patrick’s general health and well-being,” Murray said. “What defines Patrick Eaves is his strength of character, and that will serve him well in his recovery.”

The 33-year-old Eaves joined the Ducks from Dallas as a late-season trade rental in late February. He played a key role in their push for a fifth straight Pacific Division title, excelling on the power play and racking up 11 goals in 20 games.

Despite missing the final 10 games of the regular season due to injury, he finished with a career-high 32 goals between the Ducks and Stars. He played seven games in the post-season, but sat out the final 10 games with a sprained right ankle while Anaheim reached the Western Conference finals.

Instead of seeking bigger offers in free agency, he re-signed with the Ducks in June, agreeing to a three-year, $9.45 million deal. He was expected to be a key top-six forward for the Ducks this season.

Eaves also has suited up for Ottawa, Carolina, Detroit and Nashville during his 12-year NHL career.