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.

8 sick from campy in liver parfait at UK boutique hotel

Public Health England (PHE) has revealed that chicken liver parfait was the cause of illness at Brockley Hall Hotel in Saltburn.

However “no obvious defect was noted in the production of this food item”, therefore meaning it cannot be concluded with certainty why it caused illness.

Undercooking?

A total of eight cases were reported to PHE North-east – six of which were laboratory confirmed cases of campylobacter . The two remaining cases were “probable” reports Laura Love of Gazette Live.

Most of those who fell ill had been attending a 40th birthday celebration on Friday, July 7 – with three of them being hospitalised.

This included the birthday girl herself, who ended up in hospital on a drip.

A spokeswoman for PHE said their investigation is now complete , and that a copy of the outbreak report has been sent to Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The decision on what further action, if any, to take rests with the local authority .

Chicken sashimi is risky; and gross

A year ago I was in Japan for a few days and my hosts took me for sashimi every night. I think they thought it was funny taking a food safety nerd for a bunch of raw seafood. I did my best to be polite and steered towards more cooked foods. And lots of rice.

Earlier today Sara Miller at Live Science and I exchanged emails about chicken sashimi, a food that has been popular on twitter over the past couple of days. The same food that was linked to 800+ illnesses in the spring of 2016. Even Japanese public health folks were urging against eating it.

It’s not uncommon to find raw foods on a restaurant menu — think sushi or steak tartare — but if you see uncooked poultry as an option the next time you’re dining out, you may want to opt for something else.

Several restaurants in the United States are serving up a raw chicken dish that’s referred to as either chicken sashimi or chicken tartare, according to Food & Wine Magazine. Though the “specialty” hasn’t caught on much in the U.S., it’s more widely available in Japan.

Eating chicken sashimi puts a person at a “pretty high risk” of getting an infection caused by Campylobacter or Salmonella, two types of bacteria that cause food poisoning, said Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist and an associate professor at North Carolina State University.

Chapman noted that eating raw chicken is different from eating raw fish, which can be found in sushi dishes. With raw fish, the germs that are most likely to make a person sick are parasites, and these parasites can be killed by freezing the fish, he said. Salmonella, on the other hand, “isn’t going to be affected by freezing.”

Chicken sashimi is sometimes prepared by boiling or searing the chicken for no more than 10 seconds, according to Food & Wine Magazine.

But these preparations probably only kill off the germs on the surface of the chicken, Chapman said. “But even that I’m not sure about,” he added. In addition, when a chicken is deboned, other germs can get into the inside of the chicken, he said.

Peppa Pig episode telling kids that spiders ‘can’t hurt you’ banned in Australia

Australia is home to all sorts of weird creatures, including me and the peacock spider (which does not affect humans; others do).

An episode of the kid’s show Peppa Pig episode has been banned after telling children spiders “can’t hurt you.”

Parents complained the episode encouraged their children to play with the dangerous creatures and gave the “inappropriate” message they were harmless, The Sun reports.

The 2004 episode Mister Skinny Legs has been taken down for a second time after it was first removed from the internet in 2012.

The Evening Standard reports how in the episode a terrified Peppa Pig is told by her dad that spiders “can’t hurt you”.

The cartoon pig picks the spider up and tucks it into bed before Peppa says: “We are all going to have tea with Mister Skinny Leg.”

The ABC banned the show but it was aired again on Nickelodeon channel Nick Jr on August 25 this year, although they have since agreed to remove the show.

While Australia is home to some of the most deadly spiders on earth the UK — where Peppa Pig originates — has almost no spiders that are dangerous.

10 students hospitalized after drinking vinegar in Norway uni hazing

A man in his 20s was seriously injured after drinking vinegar during a student party at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on Tuesday.

Fourteen students were transported to St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim after the hazing incident at NTNU.

This still goes on?

Marit Kvikne, communication director at St. Olavs Hospital says the students “have taken a mixture of vinegar and water, and have had an eternal damage in the oral cavity. There are 14 patients who have come to the emergency room, 10 of which were sent to the hospital. Three are for observation and one receives intensive care.”

24 sick with campy from pig roast in Guelph

Canada’s self-proclaimed capital of food safety has reported at least 24 people became ill after attending a pig roast in Guelph earlier this year.

A report by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says that the people became ill with a gastrointestinal disorder after attending a catered pig roast event at an unspecified location in Guelph in May/June.

That’s some good reporting time. Guess everyone was off for summer holidays.

“Pig roasts area a popular and high-risk method of cooking for large gatherings. It is important that WDGPH staff are prepared to respond to community outbreaks and remain diligent in their knowledge of food safety,” reads a staff report.

“Pig roasts are a common catering method for preparing and cooking large volumes of meat. This cooking style is associated with a number of food safety challenges that food operators must be aware of in order to prevent any potential food borne illness from occurring in those consuming the meat.”

Leftover food from the pig roast was delivered the following morning to a drop-in centre in Guelph, but no illnesses from those consuming the meat there were reported.

A total of 82 individuals attended the event and Public Health interviewed 74 of them. Thirty-three per cent of those people reported getting sick, the report says.

“The inspection and epidemiological investigation indicate pork as the source of illness,” says the report.

An inspection of the unnamed Guelph caterer for the pig roast found “a number of items” not in compliance with regulations, including hazardous food not being maintained at 4 C or lower during transportation, poor sanitary maintenance and lack of supplies in the staff washroom.

Name and shame the caterer.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Texas edition

An audit investigation of the Austin Public Health Department reveals inspectors napping, shopping, and taking extended breaks. Unfortunately things like this happen and without proper management and effective leadership, things like this will continue to happen.
Disappointing when the actions of a few inspectors tarnish the reputation of others who actually take pride in the work they do and have an ethical, moral backbone. When I first started as an inspector, I recall hearing a number of stories of bribery on the job and other ridiculous things. Like any profession, you have the good, bad, and ugly.

David Barer of KXAN writes
Austin Public Health’s Environmental Services Division, which conducts restaurant inspections among other duties, “wasted city resources as a result of grossly inefficient practices and procedures,” according to the audit.
Auditors also found three environmental health officers wasted time while on the city clock, and two “may have attempted to conceal their misuses on their inspection reports.”
Environmental health officers spend a majority of their time in the field with “limited oversight,” according to the report. Inspectors had no set list of daily inspections; rather, inspectors chose to inspect whichever restaurant was due, and officers were not required to notify supervisors ahead of inspections or check in before or after they were conducted, auditors found.
Investigators said they found several instances of officers saying their inspections took place at times that did not square with what the auditors observed.
According to the report, supervisors were only conducting a “supervisory audit,” which is an in-person check of an officer’s inspection, on less than two percent of inspections. Despite concerns about officers wasting time, management did not regularly review or question how time was being used in the field.
· KXAN Investigation: Restaurant inspectors weren’t meeting inspection-rate standards.
Audit office investigators followed three environmental health officers inspectors during their daily routine and found inspectors napping, shopping and exercising, according to the report.
Investigators found one environmental health officer working out at a local gym for an hour and a half to two hours on at least two separate days. She also left work an hour early on one occasion. She “also may have attempted to conceal the misuse by misrepresenting the time in and out on her written inspection reports,” the audit states.
Another employee was observed napping in her car and misrepresented the times she went in and came out of a restaurant inspection, auditors said.

The rest of the story can be found here:
http://kxan.com/2017/09/01/audit-finds-austin-restaurant-inspectors-shopping-napping-while-on-the-job/

 

14 sick after Salmonella outbreak linked to Chicago restaurant

The Chicago Department of Public Health announced a salmonella outbreak linked to a Morgan Park barbecue restaurant on Chicago’s Far South Side.

CDPH said at least 14 people are sick and six of them had to be hospitalized.

Best BBQ, located in the 1600 block of 115th Street, voluntarily closed Friday.

The CDPH said the outbreak was detected after reviews of lab reports revealed an uptick in salmonella cases.

After contacting patients, officials determined several of them ate at Best BBQ recently.

According to Best BBQ’s website the restaurant has been in business for 30 years, and customers said the outbreak is very surprising.

“This place is quality food. They’re very clean. The service is great. I’m super shocked, actually,” said Joshua Keys.

Denmark: 1 dead, 4 sick from Listeria in salmon

Joe Whitworth of Food Quality News reports that four people have been sickened and one has died from Listeria in salmon processed in Poland and sold in Denmark.

Dansk Supermarked Group issued a recall after Fødevarestyrelsen (Danish Veterinary and Food Administration) detected Listeria monocytogenes in two packs of cold-smoked salmon.

L. monocytogenes was identified at 240 CFU/g in chilled cold smoked salmon.

‘Woman loses appendix after Salmonella poisoning at Edmonton Folk Fest’

It’s not like she went to the mall and lost her appendix.

She was poisoned.

Talia Johnson is one of 19 salmonella cases linked with food exposure from the Haweli Restaurant food booth at the Edmonton Folk Festival. Johnson ate food from Haweli on Friday, and started to feel sick on Monday.

“I started feeling very, very sick and I didn’t feel better until August 25, so it was quite a long time,” Johnson told CTV News.

Alberta Health Services said symptoms flare up within six to 72 hours.

The 18-year-old decided to go to the hospital the following Wednesday in the Barrhead area – where she works at a kids camp – and was told to go back to Edmonton.

“When I went to the Grey Nuns on Saturday, they got the results back and said it was salmonella from those tests,” Johnson said. “It was weird that day in the hospital – I was feeling more pain in my abominable area that I didn’t feel before.”

The medical staff noticed elevated enzymes in her pancreas, so Johnson had an ultrasound to determine what was causing the abdominal pain.

“A doctor came up to me while I was in bed and said that I had appendicitis and that I would need surgery in a couple of hours, and they said it was from the salmonella,” Johnson said. “The fact that not only I went to the hospital but had to get surgery as a result of eating at a food place at Folk Fest is just kind of insane.”

Johnson missed two weeks of camp, and an additional two weeks from her restaurant job in Edmonton, because salmonella is a foodborne illness.

She received a letter on behalf of the Medical Officer of Health prohibiting her from working at a restaurant to limit the spread of infectious diseases.

“You are therefore prohibited from working in any occupation involving food handling, patient care or the care of young children, elderly or dependent people until your stool pattern has been normal for at least 48 hours,” part of the letter read.

Folk Music Festival producer Terry Wickham has been a part of the event for 29 years, and said he has never seen an outbreak this big before.

“My concern would be that it doesn’t happen again,” Wickham said. “The patrons can have my guarantee that we’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Uh-huh.