1 dead, 29 sick from E. coli O157 linked to minced meat in Germany

We report an ongoing, protracted and geographically dispersed outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and gastroenteritis in Germany, involving 30 cases since December 2016. The outbreak was caused by the sorbitol-fermenting immotile variant of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) Escherichia coli O157.

Molecular typing revealed close relatedness between isolates from 14 cases. One HUS patient died. Results of a case–control study suggest packaged minced meat as the most likely food vehicle. Food safety investigations are ongoing.

Ongoing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) outbreak caused by sorbitol-fermenting (SF) shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, Germany, December 2016 to May 2017

Eurosurveillance, vol. 22, issue 21, 25 May 2017, S Vygen-Bonnet, B Rosner, H Wilking, A Fruth, R Prager, A Kossow, C Lang, S Simon, J Seidel, M Faber, A Schielke, K Michaelis, A Holzer, R Kamphausen, D Kalhöfer,S Thole , A Mellmann, A Flieger, K Stark

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22805

 

Death in Dublin sparks Salmonella investigation

Investigations have been launched into a suspected outbreak of food poisoning after the death of a Dublin woman at the weekend.

The kitchens of a North Dublin pub have also been shut pending the investigation.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is liaising with the HSE after a number of people were hospitalised and treated for suspected salmonella poisoning following a First Communion party.

Reporter with Independent News and Media Conor Feehan said: “It’s understood that food may have been made on a premises and then transported to the house for a First Communion party.”

He added: “But it seems that after the party a number of people took ill and in this particular case a woman in her 50s was later found dead at home by her husband on Sunday.”

In a statement the Health Service Executive said it is investigating an outbreak of food poisoning due to salmonella in North Dublin and is liaising with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. An Outbreak Control Team has been formed and an investigation is ongoing.

Can you see the real me? Can ya? Can ya?

I was sitting with my friend Dave, as you do waiting for kids to be released from school yesterday, and I was telling him I’m going to back off the hockey head coaching thing, I’ve been doing it for four years, and Sorenne and I need a coaching break from each other.

Dave’s kid is taking to the ice for the first time in full hockey gear on Sunday, so I said I’d be there to help him.

Dave asked me why I was backing off, and I said, I had a lot of death about 35 years ago, it’s all on the Intertubes, but now I’m revisiting it, because I don’t have endless amounts of kids, I don’t have a job, and it’s making me evaluate what went on and who I am.

And I’m not the best person to be lead for the kids.

Dave: You can’t leave me hanging, what happened?

Doug (the 90 second version): In March 1981 I was in a car crash. I was driving and went through a house. My best friend was in the front seat with me and he died. There was one other person in the other car and he died.

I was in the hospital for two weeks and still have long-term pain related to the left side of my body, which was basically collapsed.

Then I went to jail for criminal negligence causing death, then my cousin, the only one of six children who survived a car crash before I knew him, died over a waterfall in B.C.

Then I got out of jail, went to visit my grandmother in Barrie, Ontario (in Canada) where she was caring for her husband who was dying of Alzheimer’s, and she took her own life.

I took her to the hospital with my uncle and she pretty much died in my arms.

And then death pretty much went away and I’ve been completely fortunate.

I have a fantastic support group I meet with most Fridays, lots of military, post-traumatic stress disorder types, oh, and the concussions I received playing goalie with a shitty piece of plastic for a mask have now become legendary.

Why do I share this?

Because it’s hard fucking work to get inside your soul.

It makes me a better writer.

It may even make me a better person, jury’s out on that one.

Don’t like it? Start your own blog, that is why I started the other University of Guelph newspaper, back when newspapers existed in 1986, because I got tired of listening to myself complain.

Or hit delete.

840X greater risk from raw milk and products

Risk comparisons are generally risky.

I avoid them.

But if some folks are going to push a point, expect some push back.

Risk comparisons depend on meals consumed. Not many Americans consume raw milk or raw milk cheese, yet the products are continuously the source of outbreaks.

The following abstract of a paper takes a stab at quantifying the per-meal problem.

Why has no one published about the imagined safety of raw milk products in a scientific journal?

Because it’s another food safety fairytale.

Until credible data is presented, all the naturalist wankers can take the advice of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don’t you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?”

And stop wasting public health resources, assholes.

Outbreak-related disease burden associated with consumption of unpasteurized cow’s milk and cheese, United States, 2009-2014

Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 23, no. 6, June 2017, Solenne Costard , Luis Espejo, Huybert Groenendaal, and Francisco J. Zagmutt

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/6/15-1603_article
The growing popularity of unpasteurized milk in the United States raises public health concerns. We estimated outbreak-related illnesses and hospitalizations caused by the consumption of cow’s milk and cheese contaminated with Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. using a model relying on publicly available outbreak data. In the United States, outbreaks associated with dairy consumption cause, on average, 760 illnesses/year and 22 hospitalizations/year, mostly from Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp.

Unpasteurized milk, consumed by only 3.2% of the population, and cheese, consumed by only 1.6% of the population, caused 96% of illnesses caused by contaminated dairy products. Unpasteurized dairy products thus cause 840 (95% CrI 611–1,158) times more illnesses and 45 (95% CrI 34–59) times more hospitalizations than pasteurized products. As consumption of unpasteurized dairy products grows, illnesses will increase steadily; a doubling in the consumption of unpasteurized milk or cheese could increase outbreak-related illnesses by 96%.

Infant botulism claims 6-month-old Tokyo boy who was fed honey

The Japan Times reports that a 6-month-old boy in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, died late last month of infant botulism after his family fed him honey, according to the metropolitan government.

Metropolitan officials said it was the first death caused by infant botulism in Japan since 1986, when the government began compiling such statistics.

The officials warned that babies younger than 1 should not be given honey.

They said the Adachi boy died March 30. He developed a cough on Feb. 16, and was taken to a hospital by ambulance on Feb. 20 after going into convulsions and suffering respiratory failure. He was diagnosed Feb. 28 as having infant botulism.

The officials said the boy’s family had been giving him honey mixed in juice twice a day for about a month, and that they were not aware babies should not be fed honey.

The bacteria Clostridium botulinum was found in an unsealed honey container in the family’s house and in the boy’s excrement. A public health center confirmed that the boy’s death was caused by botulism poisoning.

Infant botulism can occur when newborns, who have immature digestive systems, ingest bacteria that produces toxins inside the bowels.

 

One dead, six hospitalised with Listeria in Australian food poisoning surge

Emily Woods of the Age reports one person has died and at least six others have been taken to hospital with listeria during a surge in food poisoning cases in the weeks before Christmas.

listeria4The tragedy is one of seven cases of listeria reported in the last three weeks, although none are believed to be linked.

Victoria’s acting chief health officer Dr Finn Romanes advised doctors and other health professionals to “educate at-risk patients” about safe food-handling and which foods to avoid.

The department was unable to reveal further details about the patient’s death.

The seven recent cases are among 25 that have been reported in Victoria so far this year. In 2015, there were 22 cases of listeria in the state. 

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the incidents were a timely reminder for pregnant women, and other at-risk people, in the days leading up to Christmas.

“Food-borne illnesses typically increase during the summer months, when bacteria can multiply quickly. With a recent rise in listeriosis notifications it’s particularly important pregnant women take extra precautions this Christmas,” Ms Hennessy said.

“Pregnant women should remain vigilant and avoid eating salads prepared well in advance of consumption, cold seafood and cold deli meats, soft cheeses, soft-serve ice cream, dips and any unpasteurised dairy products.”

All of the other patients have since left hospital and are recovering. 

Everything’s big in Australia: 6 dead from ‘thunderstorm asthma’ in Melbourne

Rohan Smith of news.au.com reports doors swung wide open at homes around Melbourne on Monday afternoon in hopes a looming thunderstorm would bring with it a cool change.

thunderstorm-asthmaIt did, but it carried with it something else. The combination of warm weather, a high pollen count and stormy conditions produced what experts call “thunderstorm asthma,” an extremely rare and dangerous phenomenon that saw Victoria run out of ambulances for an entire hour.

Fairfax reported on Tuesday that two people are believed to have died while waiting for ambulances on Monday.

Those who suffered were not prepared. Most said they hadn’t experienced asthma since childhood. They all had one thing in common: Hay fever.

“I’ve never had asthma but do get hay fever, mainly itchy eyes and sneezes, but there were weirdly no other hay fever symptoms (on Monday),” Kate Craig, from Melbourne’s inner west, told news.com.au.

“It hit me all of a sudden about 7.30 last night, I felt like I couldn’t take a full breath and had an awful, chesty, hacking cough. I thought I must have just inhaled some spices while cooking — that’s what it felt like.”

Gary Nunn said he was in transit when he began to have trouble breathing.

“I’d had bad hay fever all day in Melbourne. In the early evening I got to Melbourne Airport and noticed a new symptom: I was struggling to breathe. This had never happened before,” he said.

1 dead, 4 sick in 2014: Miami cheese producer jailed for 15 months

On August 4, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. voluntarily recalled quesito casero (fresh curd) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

oasis-listeria-oct_-14On October 6, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. recalled cuajada en hoja (fresh curd) after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isolated Listeria monocytogenes from environmental samples collected from the production facility.

Whole-genome sequences of the Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from recalled quesito casero cheese produced by Oasis Brands, Inc. were found to be highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from one person who became ill in September 2013 and four persons who became ill during June through October 2014.

These five ill persons were reported from four states: Georgia (1), New York (1), Tennessee (2), and Texas (1).

Four of the five ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported in Tennessee. Three illnesses were related to a pregnancy – one of these was diagnosed in a newborn.

All ill persons were reported to be of Hispanic ethnicity and reported consuming Hispanic-style soft cheese. Two persons who were able to answer questions about specific varieties of Hispanic-style soft cheeses reported consuming quesito casero, though neither could remember the brand.

According to Andrea Torres of ABC Channel 10, after making promises to the feds, Christian Rivas knew he was distributing cheese with listeria and did so anyway.

Rivas was in federal prison Nov. 11, 2016 and faced 15 moths in prison after federal prosecutors armed with the results of CDC tests and FDA inspections were ready to show consumers were “fraudulently led to believe” the cheese was safe to eat when it wasn’t. 

Before the criminal case, authorities recalled 15 of their “Lacteos Santa Martha ” products targeting Central American migrants in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. The list included the “Queso Seco Olanchano,” the “Queso Seco Hondureno,” the  “Queso Cuzcatlan,” and the “Crema Guatemalteca.”

Rivas plead guilty to charges that he acted with an “intent to defraud and mislead, delivered cheese processed and packed at the Oasis facility into interstate commerce that was adulterated,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola sentenced Rivas to 15 months in prison.  

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Justin Green, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), Miami Field Office, announced the sentencing

“We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who put the public’s health at risk by allowing contaminated foods to enter the U.S. marketplace,” Green said. 

Take a dump on Trump: Poo Haiku for World Toilet Day

 

 

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Your poo orange too.

trumptoiletSaturday is World Toilet Day, a serious effort by the United Nations focusing on the fact that one-third of the world’s population — or 2.4 billion people —  have no toilet at home. A third of those people are children. They are vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and other major problems because there is no clean way of going to the bathroom where they live.

Marylou Tousignant of The Washington Post writes the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations want everyone in the world to have proper toilets and safe drinking water by 2030.

People living in present-day Scotland and Pakistan built the first indoor toilets about 4,500 years ago. Pipes carried the waste outdoors. Knossos palace, built 3,700 years ago on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, had some of the first flush toilets. They used rainwater and water from nearby springs. A wooden seat kept users dry.

Medieval castles had toilets built high on an outside wall. There was a stone seat at the top, and gravity took care of the rest. Often the waste dropped into the castle moat. People living in towns, meanwhile, collected their waste in what were called chamber pots, and they emptied them by heaving the contents out a window. Public lavatories, which were not common at the time, were often just several toilet holes in a row built over a river.

In 1596, England’s Sir John Harington designed a flush toilet with a handle and a raised water tank. He said using it would leave rooms smelling sweet. He gave one to his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, who didn’t like it. Instead, she used a pot in a box covered in velvet and trimmed with lace. The idea of an indoor flush toilet didn’t catch on until 200 years later.

The word “toilet” comes from the French “toile,” meaning “cloth.” It referred to the covering on a lady’s dressing table and, over time, to the dressing room itself and the primping that went on there. (Wealthy people in the 17th and 18th centuries often had rooms at home just for getting dressed.) In the 19th century, “toilet” got its modern meanings: the place where bathing and other private acts occur and the bowl into which human waste is deposited.

Over time, chamber pots and toilet bowls got fancier and fancier. One such pot, sold during the American Revolution, had an image of Britain’s King George III at the bottom of the bowl.

Thomas Jefferson, who used flush toilets while he was the U.S. ambassador to France in the 1780s, had three small rooms for toilets built at Monticello, his home in Virginia. But there is no proof that they were true flush toilets. And because most American homes did not have running water until a century later, the widespread use of flush toilets came later as well.

Chinese businessman Zhong Jiye will not give up the brand name on his Trump Toilet products, NBC News reports.

“We registered our company in 2002 and obtained approval from the trademark office in Beijing,” said Zhong, referring to Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited, which mostly manufactures high-tech toilet seats. 

hanksy-dumptrump“If (U.S. President-elect Donald) Trump thinks our trademark violates his rights and interests, he can use legal methods because our company observes China’s laws,” CEO Zhong told NBC News, adding that he is prepared to defend his company’s legal rights to the Trump brand name.

In Chinese, the company name means “innovate universally.” 

Vicky Hallett of NPR reports that poetry may be one way of getting people to discuss diarrhea.

That’s the idea behind Poo Haiku, a competition created by Defeat DD, a campaign dedicated to the eradication of diarrheal disease.

Although everybody’s had the runs, it’s not something most folks talk about, says Hope Randall, digital communications officer for PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, which created DefeatDD to bring together resources on vaccines, nutrition, oral rehydration therapy, sanitation and more.

Kat Kelley of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, which references a recent study published in The Lancet:

Just six pathogens

But eighty percent of kids’

Diarrheal deaths.

Randall herself penned an entry:

A vicious cycle,

Gut damage, malnutrition

We can halt the churn.

And from Doug Powell:

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Is your poo orange too.

(Depends whether the word orange is one syllable or two.)

1 dead from botulism linked to olives in Rome

Thanks to my Italian food safety friend for forwarding this and, as usual, something may be lost in translation.

olives-2Il Messaggero reports the ordeal for the victim began one evening in late August when Mrs. Anna C. decided to put on the table one of the three packages of olives purchased a month earlier in a supermarket. The husband shortly feels the onset of illness, and Mrs C. has severe pain in the belly.

Within a day and a half the couple rush to the closest hospital. The prognosis in the emergency room is clear: “Food poisoning from botulism.” The first investigations focus on the olives. The woman appears in serious condition. The doctors noted in the medical record that this is a case of “sepsis staphylococcal pneumonia with pleural effusion.” She is transfered to an immediate resuscitation room. The husband is held for five days for foodborne botulism, recovers and is discharged.

Anna remains in a coma for almost a month, then her state of health improves. On October 8, after 40 days of hospitalization, the patient is invited to go home in a system of protected discharge. The doctors write down that she had “had a steady improvement that had been weaned from the ventilator ” and then continued clinical monitoring for persistent pericardial effusion share.”

Ten days later, on October 18, the family members of the woman call an ambulance to rush back to the hospital. She died on October 21.

The hospital has an initial autopsy. Yesterday, an order was added for a new autopsy and further toxicological investigations, prepared by the prosecutor. The cremation scheduled for November 9 is suspended. A few hours after receipt of the legal complaint of the family, the lawyer Armando Fergola, the deputy prosecutor Antonio Clemente, ordered the appointment of a medical examiner to determine the cause of death. And at the same entry in the register of suspects for the health personnel who assisted and discharged the patient. A duty, in the first steps of the investigation, also to ensure the people involved in the affair to appoint professional advisers.

“The case is alarming,” said the lawyer Fergola, “We found ourselves in a botulism infection and then to a possible case of medical malpractice. A family now awaits answers. ” The victim left her husband and two children.