Dozens of guests at Ibiza hotel struck down by gastroenteritis amid fears dirty rainwater seeped into water tanks

One of my fondest childhood memories was the rain barrels my grandparents used to collect water.

I have no idea why, other than a foreshadowing of somewhat of a career in microbiology, but the memories remain vivid.

Now we live in Australia, which has 10 years of drought followed by a 1-in-500-year downpour, so we have these bloody big rain water collection tanks that look nothing like my grandparents.’

Around 50 guests at an Ibiza hotel popular with British holidaymakers have fallen ill with suspected gastroenteritis.

A pregnant woman needed hospital treatment and doctors were made available for 49 other guests following the outbreak at the four-star Hotel Algarb in Playa d’en Bossa,

A probe is now underway to establish the cause, although it has been initially linked to rainwater from midweek storms on the island filtering into hotel water tanks and ending up being used to make ice.

The mum-to-be who was hospitalised with “light gastroenteritis” has now been discharged.

Barnaby-the-bloody-carp Joyce caught out in citizenship drama

Ancestry is all the rage.

And we all have bare-knuckle boxing champs in our past.

My 30-year-old daughter e-mailed me this morning to ask about our family. She said she had a DNA test.

I took the don’t-ask-a-question-unless-you-want-an-answer route – and told her it’s all on ancestry.com, go look it up, but you may have to like your step-sister.

I’ve got three passports: Canadian, American, Australian.

It’s homogenized white, but at least I can remember them.

Sorenne is about to get her third, once we find her Canadian thingy under my name.

Australian politicians are apparently brain-dead.

Barnaby Joyce (right, not exactly as shown), the Donald Trump of Australia, deputy Prime Minister and Agricrlture Minister, didn’t know he was born a kiwi (like Russell Crowe)

Section 44 of the Australian Constitution says

Any person who –

(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or

(ii.) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or

(iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or

(iv.) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or

(v.) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

Australian politics is as awfull as the country’s ability to hook up decent Internet.

Australian swim star Ariarne Titmus reveals food poisoning setback before world titles

Tasmanian teenager Ariarne Titmus has revealed her world championship swimming success came off the back of a bout of food poisoning.

The 16-year-old represented Australia at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest last week, winning a bronze medal with the 4 x 200m freestyle relay team.

Her performance in Budapest also ranked her fourth in the world for the 400 metres freestyle, behind record holder Katie Ledecky.

Titmus said she contracted food poisoning just days before her world championship debut, which heightened pre-race nerves.

“I didn’t really know how I was going to race because a week out from the competition I got food poisoning and I was actually vomiting the weekend before racing started,” she told ABC Hobart.

“But I was positioned next to Katie Ledecky, which was really exciting.

Despite her 400-metre result, Titmus cited her relay performance when she reeled in a Russian competitor as the highlight.

“I definitely felt really fast, I was mowing her down and it was a really really good swim,” she said.

“It was so cool to be standing up on the dais, because the dais was looking over the whole stadium you can see everything. It was really amazing, unlike any other medal ceremony I’ve ever had before.”

Shock and shame: Science behind getting people to wash their hands

Gimmie shelter from the ravages of time.

I’d largely forgotten about my lab’s handwashing phase, probably because I was leaving the safety (shurley not) of Kansas and heading to Australia.

But was reminded from this excerpt in The New Yorker from Nate Dern’s “Not Quite a Genius,” to be published by Simon & Schuster:

Employees must wash hands.

Employees must wash their own hands.

Employees must wash their own hands after they use the restroom.

Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands after they use the restroom.

Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom.

Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code.

Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code, and, no, there is no practical way to regulate or enforce this rule.

Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code, and, no, there is no practical way to regulate or enforce this rule, but, yes, we still ask, and trust that you will comply.

Employees of this restaurant must wash their own hands (literally, not metaphorically) after they use the restroom, or else they are in violation of the health code, and, no, there is no practical way to regulate or enforce this rule, but, yes, we still ask, and trust that you will comply, and, O.K., we apologize for the condescending tone of the posting of this rule, which seems to imply that without such a sign we would assume that our employees are disgusting children with no regard for their own hygiene.

Employees must wash hands. Greg has been fired.

Filion, K., KuKanich, K.S., Chapman, B., Hardigree, M.K., and Powell, D.A. 2011. Observation-based evaluation of hand hygiene practices and the effects of an intervention at a public hospital cafeteria. American Journal of Infection Control 39(6): 464-470.

Background

Hand hygiene is important before meals, especially in a hospital cafeteria where patrons may have had recent contact with infectious agents. Few interventions to improve hand hygiene have had measureable success. This study was designed to use a poster intervention to encourage hand hygiene among health care workers (HCWs) and hospital visitors (HVs) upon entry to a hospital cafeteria.

Methods

Over a 5-week period, a poster intervention with an accessible hand sanitizer unit was deployed to improve hand hygiene in a hospital cafeteria. The dependent variable observed was hand hygiene attempts. Study phases included a baseline, intervention, and follow-up phase, with each consisting of 3 randomized days of observation for 3 hours during lunch.

Results

During the 27 hours of observation, 5,551 participants were observed, and overall hand hygiene frequency was 4.79%. Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently by HCWs than HVs (P = .0008) and females than males (P = .0281). Hygiene attempts occurred more frequently after poster introduction than baseline (P = .0050), and this improvement was because of an increase in frequency of HV hand hygiene rather than HCW hand hygiene.

Conclusion

The poster intervention tool with easily accessible hand sanitizer can improve overall hand hygiene performance in a US hospital cafeteria.

Wilson, S.M., Jacob, C.J. and Powell, D.A. 2011. Behavior-change interventions to improve hand hygiene practice: A review. Critical Public Health 21: 119-127.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a934338802~db=all~jumptype=rss

Despite the role of hand hygiene in preventing infectious disease, compliance remains low. Education and training are often cited as essential to developing and maintaining hand-hygiene compliance, but generally have not produced sustained improvements. Consequently, this literature review was conducted to identify alternative interventions for compelling change in hand-hygiene behavior. Of those, interventions employing social pressures have demonstrated varying influence on an individual’s behavior, while interventions that focus on organizational culture have demonstrated positive results. However, recent research indicates that handwashing is a ritualized behavior mainly performed for self-protection. Therefore, interventions that provoke emotive sensations (e.g., discomfort, disgust) or use social marketing may be the most effective.

21 sickened with Salmonella from duck prosciutto at Australian restaurant, 2015

In June 2015, an outbreak of salmonellosis occurred among people who had eaten at a restaurant in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia over 2 consecutive nights.

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of diners who ate at the restaurant on 19 and 20 June 2015. Diners were telephoned and a questionnaire recorded symptoms and menu items consumed. An outbreak case was defined as anyone with laboratory confirmed Salmonella Typhimurium PT9 (STm9) or a clinically compatible illness after eating at the restaurant.

Environmental health officers inspected the premises and collected food samples. We contacted 79/83 of the cohort (response rate 95%); 21 were cases (attack rate 27%), and 9 had laboratory confirmed STm9 infection. The most commonly reported symptoms were diarrhoea (100%), abdominal pain (95%), fever (95%) and nausea (95%). Fifteen people sought medical attention and 7 presented to hospital.

The outbreak was most likely caused by consumption of duck prosciutto, which was consumed by all cases (OR 18.6, CI 3.0–∞, P<0.01) and was prepared on site.

Salmonella was not detected in any food samples but a standard plate count of 2×107 col- ony forming units per gram on samples of duck prosciutto demonstrated bacterial contamination. The restaurant used inappropriate methodology for curing the duck prosciutto. Restaurants should consider purchasing pre-made cured meats, or if preparing them on site, ensure that they adhere to safe methods of production.

An outbreak of salmonellosis associated with duck prosciutto at a Northern Territory restaurant

CDI, vol 41, no 1, 2017, Anthony DK Draper, Claire N Morton, Joshua NI Heath, Justin A Lim, Anninka I Schiek, Stephanie Davis, Vicki L Krause, Peter G Markey

https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-cdi4101-pdf-cnt.htm/$FILE/cdi4101d.pdf

Commun Dis Intell 2017;41(1):E16 – E20.

 

31 children get Salmonella from contaminated cordial in Australia, 2014

I didn’t know what cordial was until I came to Australia, and started drinking it as manufactured, when it is supposed to be diluted about 4:1. I prefer fizzy water with the lime cordial.

An outbreak of salmonellosis occurred following attendance at a school camp between 5 and 8 August 2014 in a remote area of the Northern Territory, Australia. We conducted a retrospective cohort study via telephone interviews, using a structured questionnaire that recorded symptoms and exposures to foods and activities during the camp. A case was anyone with laboratory confirmed Salmonella Saintpaul infection or a clinically compatible illness after attending the camp.

Environmental health officers from the Environmental Health Branch undertook an investigation and collected water and environmental samples. We interviewed 65 (97%) of the 67 people who attended the camp. There were 60 students and 7 adults. Of the 65 people interviewed, 30 became ill (attack rate 46%); all were students; and 4 had laboratory confirmed S. Saintpaul infection. The most commonly reported symptoms were diarrhoea (100% 30/30), abdominal pain (93% 28/30), nausea (93% 28/30) and fever (70% 21/30). Thirteen people sought medical attention but none required hospitalisation. Illness was significantly associated with drinking cordial at lunch on 7 August (RR 3.8, 95% CI 1.3-11, P < 0.01), as well as drinking cordial at lunch on 8 August (RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.2, P=0.01). Salmonella spp. was not detected in water samples or wallaby faeces collected from the camp ground.

The epidemiological investigation suggests the outbreak was caused by environmental contamination of food or drink and could have occurred during ice preparation or storage, preparation of the cordial or from inadequate sanitising of the cooler from which the cordial was served. This outbreak highlights the risks of food or drink contamination with environmental Salmonella. Those preparing food and drink in campground settings should be vigilant with cleaning, handwashing and disinfection to prevent outbreaks of foodborne disease.

An outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul gastroenteritis after attending a school camp in the Northern Territory, Australia

Commun Dis Intell Q Rep 2017 Mar 31;41(1):E10-E15. Epub 2017 Mar 31. Anthony Dk Draper, Claire N Morton, Joshua Ni Heath, Justin A Lim

https://www.pubfacts.com/detail/28385134/An-outbreak-of-Salmonella-Saintpaul-gastroenteritis-after-attending-a-school-camp-in-the-Northern-Te

Anti-vaxxers, organic all the same in Australia; scammed school into screening BS film

Anti-vaxxers have allegedly scammed their way into a Gold Coast school under the pretence of holding a seminar about organic vegetables.

But what Miami State School students got was something very different.

The anti-vaxxers instead screened a film about their unfounded beliefs that there is a link between autism and childhood vaccinations.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is demanding answers as to how the documentary came to be shown at the school on Tuesday night after organisers told school officials they were running a seminar on organic vegetables.

She said the organisation made “misrepresentations” to the school, and she would be speaking with Education Minister Kate Jones on Wednesday to get to the bottom of the matter.

“My initial advice is there has been some misrepresentation from that organisation to the school in question where they conveyed to the principal that they were to be conveying information about organic produce,” the premier told reporters on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.

“I don’t think they were very clear in their purpose and I don’t think they should have been allowed to present in such a manner.”

The organisers of the film have previously gone to extreme lengths to keep the location of screenings a secret in an effort to keep them from being shut down, amid strong opposition from Australian health professionals.

Maybe the Australian government and public should apply similar critical faculties to anyone claiming to purport the benefits of organic production.

$19K fine for dirty restaurant in Canberra

Canberra, the former sheep farm that is now the capital of Australia, has fined a restaurant owner $19,000 after he admitted he had neglected the shop and not cleaned it for about a month.

Alexandra Back of The Canberra Times reports the Hawker business was inspected in May last year when authorities found evidence of food build-up and debris around the food preparation areas.

They also found live and dead cockroaches and uncovered food stored on the floor. The equipment used to transport pie meat was unclean and on one container a plastic bag was being used as a lid.

Prosecutors said the level of uncleanliness was “disturbing”.

The 54-year-old owner, Vinh Quoc Vinh, pleaded guilty to five food safety offences relating to storage, hand washing facilities, maintenance, cleanliness and pests.

The offences happened more than a year ago and the Oriental Hot Bake shop has been compliant since. There was evidence pest controllers had been called to the shop every couple of months.

The ACT Magistrates Court heard the owner usually cleaned the shop once a week. But in what his lawyer described as “exceptional” circumstances the shop had been neglected because a member of his family was very ill.

He had been running the business for 12 years.

 

Australia still has an egg problem: WA Salmonella infections explode,1500 sick

It is painfully rewarding that the bureautards in Western Australia are finally catching up to what we’ve been saying for years.

Australia has an egg problem.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-5-1-17.xlsx.

The West Australian reports the area is experiencing an explosion in stomach bug illnesses, with more than 4,000 cases so far this year and many of them caused by food.

 New figures show 4076 cases of gastrointestinal disease have been reported this year — 31 per cent more than at the same time in the previous two years. The bacterial or viral infections are mostly caused by contaminated food and water or poor hygiene. Much of the surge has been fuelled by a rise in salmonella, with many of the 1566 cases this year associated with eating uncooked eggs.

There has been a big increase in other gastroenteric illnesses, with 358 cases of the viral infection rotavirus, which can make young children seriously ill.

Cryptosporidiosis, which is caused by a parasite, has been reported in 335 people — more than double the number at the same time last year. A WA Health Department spokeswoman said though notifications of salmonella gastroenteritis were declining as expected over winter, the increased levels were a concern.

“The department is concerned about food-borne illness rates in WA, including salmonella risks associated with eggs, and is implementing short and long-term reduction strategies,” she said. The department and local government authorities were focusing on safety surveillance across the food industry, from paddock to plate.

“Eggs are a good source of nutrition, but like many other foods they can be contaminated with bacteria, including salmonella,” the spokeswoman said.

“It is important people handle and prepare eggs safely to reduce the food poisoning risk.”