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.”

Empathy is lost on some: Australian mum forced to explain how her baby dies after anti-vaxxers attack her heartbreaking post

Freedom of speech is fundamental to western values.

Freedom of speech does not include idiocracy, and must be protected.

Nina Young writes that just a few days ago, Jordan DeRosier and her husband Justin found themselves in a living nightmare when their seven-month-old baby boy, Sloan, died suddenly in his cot.

Jordan announced Sloan’s death on her Facebook in a heartbreaking post, writing: “Our sweet rainbow warrior, your short time on this earth blessed so many. You were a gift to all who knew you, and an inspiration to all who didn’t. Your death has impacted this world, it has left an emptiness felt by so many.”

“Proof that you held with you so much light and grace. You were not able to live out our dreams for you, yet our dreams are where we will find you forever. We will forever be caught in this space between worlds, the space you now exist for us. Our longing for you is eternal, if only your life had been.”

Incredibly, although Jordan did not initially share the circumstances of her young son’s death, a number of anti-vaxxers were quick to comment online suggesting that vaccines had played a part in the tragedy. Some even went so far as to message Jordan directly to make the unfounded accusations.

The grieving mother was forced to go online and defend herself and her son’s memory writing on Facebook about the day the tragedy occurred.

“To those who keep commenting and messaging trying to blame vaccines for our sons death — stop,” she begged.

“Initially I had not wanted to explain the detailed circumstances of his death because of my guilt and the fear of condemnation from others. But I will not allow anyone to try and place blame where it does not belong.”

Jordan went on to explain that she had put her baby down to sleep with a blanket.

“He had pulled it through the crib rails somehow and gotten himself stuck in it,” she explained.

“You never think it will happen to you. You never think it will be your baby. Please do not put your babies to bed with a blanket. Please. He was seven months old, I thought because he was crawling, standing on his own, and climbing, that he would be fine with a blanket.

“This is the face of immense, unfathomable grief, the face of longing, of heartbreak, of self-inflicted GUILT. I will NEVER stop feeling responsible.”

Jordan hopes that people will learn from her experience rather than try to use it to push their own agendas.

I know all about grief and guilt.

And assholes with agendas.

I take great pride in my Friday sessions, where we share stories, struggles, and successes.

It’s making me a better person (maybe).

It’s a much better use of my time rather than sitting in yet another fucking faculty meeting, with the nerds from grade school who made it through to prof-land and feel entitled to inflict their previous abuse on grad students.

And have no intention of admitting weaknesses or self-examination.

Just part of the system

It’s a big old goofy world.

 

Takedown of food co-ops in Ep. 3 was awesome: Ronny Chieng – International Student is my favourite new show

Ronny Chieng may be known to barfbloggers as the Malaysian correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and his shit is funny.

And the dude knows food.

Kylie Northover of Melbourne’s The Age writes when asked about places to dine in Melbourne (that’s in Australia), Chieng swiftly sent back a small list of his favourite places – and a link, no less, to his own restaurant website.

Less food blog than a comprehensive list of cafes, restaurants and bars, Chieng’s site, I’m OK with Anything, also features his bio, links to buy merchandise and his agent details, but it’s foremost a comprehensive “guide to eating, drinking and playing in Melbourne city”.

“This is right up my alley,” Chieng says when we meet at his first choice, Malaysian cafe Aunty Franklee, in the city. “I’m all about this.”

Chieng loves his food, and when he moved here from Singapore to study law and commerce, he was shocked at the lack of late-night food options. This only got worse when he started comedy. But he’s seen a shift, and says it’s usually the Asian places that have spearheaded later opening hours.

“That then forces other places to start doing it too,” Chieng says. “When you do comedy shows, you usually don’t finish until about 11pm, then you have this adrenaline dump and you get hungry. There’s Supper Club and a couple of places but it used to be you had to settle for one of those shitty Lygon Street places; it’s good they’re open but the food is usually awful. That’s why I started the list.”

Visiting comedians would ask for recommendations and he would send out an email.

“That evolved into the website; now I just send people the link.”

Ronny Chieng
Photo Credit: Comedy Central

His site covers brunch, lunch, dinner, late openings and bars, and while he doesn’t rate restaurants as such, he does differentiate between prices and “moods”, like “fancy but not super fancy”.

“Sometimes you feel like a $15 meal and sometimes you feel like a $30 one.”

Chieng is fussy about his Malaysian food, and Aunty Franklee, inside the Exford Hotel, serves the best char kwai teow, a hawker flat noodle dish, he’s had in Melbourne.

“It’s a dish that I judge all Malaysian restaurants by,” he says. “It’s hard to get this taste outside of Malaysia, and this is the best I’ve had.”

Chieng orders that and the Bak kut teh, a traditional pork rib dish cooked in a fragrant broth made with 23 herbs, for us to share.

Starters are not really a thing in Malaysian cuisine, he says.

“And there’s no rules – it’s very informal,” Chieng says. “You can even use your hands. In fact, I’m probably the best dressed person ever to walk in here.”

Born in Malaysia but raised mostly in Singapore, Chieng moved to Melbourne to study and in one of those almost unbelievable scenarios, decided to try out at an open mic night – despite never having harboured any desire to be a comedian – and found, with his deadpan delivery, he was an instant hit.

Was he always funny?

“I don’t think so,” he says, although that deadpan thing makes it hard to tell. “I gave it a try, just to confirm my suspicions, really.”

That was in 2009, in the final year of his studies – and when he couldn’t get a legal job, he chose comedy. By 2012, he’d won the best newcomer award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and was already touring the major comedy festivals.

And what does his Mum, who, as fans would know, often features in his material, make of his throwing away 10 years of study?

He says she’s “very happy” he got his degrees.

“She’s surprisingly OK – she never once mentioned anything about being part of my stand-up,” he says, again with a tone.

In late 2015, he was headhunted for US comedy news program The Daily Show after host Jon Stewart’s departure. His replacement, comic Trevor Noah, emailed Chieng out of the blue and asked him to come on board as a correspondent. Chieng was on tour at the time, and, as one would, accepted the gig right away.

He didn’t even have time to tell his parents before the news broke in the media.

“I moved straight from the UK to New York – I didn’t even come back to Australia.”

It has been “intense”. “Living in in New York is intense anyway but then with the Trump thing it became even more so,” he says.

On top of the long hours, for many months Chieng was co-writing his sitcom, International Student, via Skype, with Declan Fay in Australia.

“Not to mention I got married last September,” he says.

He married his Australian-Vietnamese fiancee at City Hall in New York, but he’s not getting out of it that easily, with two more “proper” weddings being planned.

“Mum was OK about it but we are getting married again in Melbourne and then again in Kuala Lumpur for my family,” he says. “The Asian wedding is coming!”

He also says no to a beer with lunch, but for less health-conscious reasons.

“The photos will turn out weird if I drink – I have one and my face goes red.”

Much like his character in International Student, one of six comedy pilots shown on ABC last year through its Comedy Showroom initiative, Chieng’s was the first to be made into a full series.

Based “loosely” on his experiences as a student at Melbourne University, it’s a comic look at student life when you’re straddling the cultural divides between locals and foreigners.

It is, Chieng says, an under-explored story.

“It’s all based on stuff that actually happened – I mean, nobody really broke a photocopier, but we had drinking games and I went out of my way to participate in one to get out of my comfort zone,” he says. ” I don’t think you can go through Melbourne Uni without doing a ‘boat race’, for example,” he says of the drinking game in the show’s pilot episode.

When Chieng arrived here, he knew only his sister.

“Usually the international students stick to themselves, but I wanted to make a point of making friends with other students, not just the international ones. I made friends with the locals.”

The series is co-produced by The Comedy Channel in the US, where it will also screen and Chieng reckons despite it being Australian, it will translate to America, where tales of college life are almost their own genre.

As for what lies ahead, Chieng has no definite plan.

“I come from the corporate world where everyone has a five-year plan, but performing arts doesn’t work that way; you just kinda do the best job you can with the gig you’ve got.”

International Student is on ABC, Wednesdays at 9pm, and on ABC iview (that’s the Australian one).

 

Australian barfgate: Who chundered in a ministerial car?

Linda Silmalis of the Courier Mail writes it has been dubbed Barf-gate — who chundered in a ministerial car, leaving the driver gagging and resulting in a clean-up bill costing hundreds of dollars?

The car was driven by a ministerial driver who transported NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro and Liberal MP Eleni Petinos (right, with Blues coach) from ANZ Stadium, where they had been watching the State of Origin match on Wednesday night.

The pair had watched the game with Mr Barilaro’s young daughter and one of his staffers.

Mr Barilaro was in a celebratory mode after a successful state Budget, tweeting from the game: “I spent today backing #NSW in small business AND State of #Origin! UP THE BLUES!!!!!”

By Friday, word was going around Parliament House of a driver fuming over what he had discovered in the car upon starting his shift hours — possible a day — later.

 “The word is one vomited, and that set off the others,” a source close to the driver said.

Mr Barilaro, a married ­father of two, declined to ­answer any questions about the cost of the clean-up bill, nor who left the car in a mess.

A statement from his ­office confirmed Mr Barilaro and Ms Petinos were at Origin, but declined to confirm the figure to be repaid.

 “The taxpayer will not have to bear any costs,” the statement said.

 “Costs incurred will be privately managed.”

‘Rockmelon nearly killed my unborn son’ (that’s Australian for cantaloupe)

Jane Hansen of The Northern Star reports that when Amelia Liddy-­Sudbury was pregnant with her third child, she was extra careful with her diet, never eating raw fish or soft cheese.

But she didn’t think twice when she bought some pre-cut rockmelon.

“I bought it, cut up and I think that was the source,” the 35-year-old Mosman mum said.

Thirty three weeks into her pregnancy, Mrs Liddy-Sudbury picked up a Listeria infection – one that could have killed her and her baby.

A fortnight later baby Theodore was delivered – five weeks premature – and would need weeks of intravenous antibiotics to stem meningitis.

“It is a deadset miracle he is alive, once you are diagnosed with listeriosis, that’s usually it, the baby is dead,” Mrs Liddy-Sudbury said.

Listeriosis, caused by the food-borne listeria bacteria, kills one out of every five ­unborn babies it infects.

Two weeks ago another pregnant mother tragically lost her baby to listeriosis.

The woman arrived at hospital with abdominal pain, headache and mild fever. Her baby was ­delivered by caesarean section but was stillborn as a result of the ­infection.

Including Mrs Liddy-Sudbury, it was the third ­pregnancy­-­related case this year in NSW, three times the usual rate.

NSW Health director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said the three cases represented a concerning spike.

“Around the country there have been more cases in the past six months as well,” she said.

Health authorities are now urgently reminding pregnant woman to be extra careful with their food choices.

Listeria bacteria is found in a variety of foods, including cold meats, cold cooked chicken, raw fish, soft-serve ice cream, soft cheeses and unpasteurised milk.

Most pregnant women know to avoid these foods, but the bacteria is also found in pre-cut fruit and pre-bagged salads, products that are highly popular in supermarkets and convenience stores.

“Those products are becoming more common and anything that has been cut and left is a risk, you have to wash and peel fruit and salad yourself if pregnant,” Dr Sheppeard said.

Uh, maybe.

There are benefits to having an abundant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, the evidence does lean toward pre-cut anything being a heightened risk.

So if cutting up a whole rockmelon at home, refrigerate immediately.

This makes a mockery of the supermarket chains and fresh produce venders who sell half-sliced melons or cut up produce, usually at room temperature, which in Brisbane, is warmer than most places.