As my Kansas State friends revel in their No. 4 national ranking after trouncing West Virginia yesterday, and as alum Josh Freeman shines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today (I love watching football at 4 a.m. Monday in Brisbane background), it has alarmed some players to know that mouthguards are covered in crap.
Athletic mouthguards are a crucial football equipment item. But according to the USA Today, studies have found blood, sputum, mouth discharges (tobacco products), chemicals, animal feces and other players’ DNA on players’ hands, gloves, helmets, uniforms, shoes, socks and equipment.
Richard T. Glass, professor of forensic sciences, pathology and dental medicine at Oklahoma State University, has studied mouthguards extensively. He collaborated on a study that found microbial contamination of mouthguards by bacteria, yeasts and molds associated with heart disease, pneumonia, meningitis and infections of the skin, mouth, gum, bone and urinary and gastro-intestinal tracts. The unpleasant and self-evident truth is this: if a player removes and reinserts his mouthguard, he might as well be sticking his fingers or gloves in his mouth.
Glass’ study determined that microbial load can be reduced by soaking a mouthguard in an antimicrobial solution between uses. He suggests replacing the mouthguard every two weeks. The solution is readily available if seldom accessed.
It’s like I tell 3-year-old Sorene; don’t put that finger in your ear or mouth; you don’t know where it’s been.
The Wyoming Department of Health is reporting a four-fold increase statewide in Campylobacter infections this summer, with at least 29 people sickened and six hospitalized. Nearly three-quarters of the patients are male.
"While the increase in these infections appears to be sporadic with no single common source, it’s clear that animal-related illness is at least partially driving the increase," said Kelly Weidenbach, epidemiologist with the department’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program.
In rare cases people may develop serious complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The syndrome occurs when the immune system is triggered to attack the body’s nerves. It can lead to paralysis and usually requires intensive care.
Public health officials attempt to interview each person with the Campylobacter infection. Among patients interviewed to date, exposure to animals, especially cattle and dogs, has been common.
"In many cases, the animals were noted to be ill with diarrhea when the person had contact with them," Weidenbach said. "Several have been ranchers or individuals who recently attended a cattle branding and who were accidentally exposed to fecal material."
Tens of thousands of illegal eggs — some covered in fecal matter and feathers — have emerged in a crackdown on Toronto-area food retailers and wholesalers, prompting public health concerns and pending charges against nine companies so far.
• Sharable Bakery, 240 Alton Towers Circle.
• Greystone Bakery, 6 Greystone Walk Dr.
• Farm Fresh Supermarket, 4466 Sheppard Ave. E.
• Casa Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine, 4125 Steeles Ave E.
• ABC Bakery, 3618 Victoria Park Ave.
• Besmeats Wholesale Ltd., a food distributor at 110 Bynamic Dr.
“The person who gave me eggs did not write ‘ungraded eggs’ on the box. We are innocent,” said Besmeats manager Jesslyn Tio.
“It’s not easy to get egg dealers in town. Those people just knocked on my door. I don’t know them. I don’t want ungraded eggs to be on the market. I eat the eggs too.”
Tio said she can now see a clear difference between inspected eggs and what she’s been supplying her clients, mainly bakeries.
Inspectors believe at least some of the eggs came from a distribution warehouse in Scarborough under investigation.
The unnamed facility was filled with more than 100,000 ungraded eggs when inspectors visited last Friday, said Toronto Public Health food safety manager Jim Chan. They were seized and destroyed, he said.
“Some of the eggs still have fecal matter on the egg shells, quite a bit of dirt and even feathers inside the boxes which are all indications of ungraded eggs,” said Chan.
“We brought CFIA (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) in and they confirmed they were ungraded eggs.”
All eggs sold beyond farm gates in Ontario must be graded at federally licensed facilities. The process is designed to ensure eggs are properly washed and free of hairline cracks — often invisible to the eye — that open up the potential for salmonella and other pathogens to enter.
Rodger Dunlop, manager of regulatory compliance with the provincial agriculture ministry, would offer no comment on the investigation, saying only that it is ongoing.
Way to be forthcoming, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
B.C. health officials have traced an outbreak of about 650 salmonella cases over the past three years — a 300 per cent increase since 2007 — to egg consumption including ungraded eggs.
Statistics Canada figures show about 380,000 dozen eggs produced in Ontario each month are “leakers and rejects.” But the agency does not track how many eggs unfit for human consumption end up in the underground marketplace.
Those facing charges this week would say little about their eggs.
An Aug. 2009 outbreak of cryptosporidium amongst children and adults who swam at the Merthyr Tydfil centre in Wales was caused by the smearing of feces on the toddler slide on Aug. 22, 2009.
Officials said it was important people with diarrhea did not go swimming.
A total of 45 cases of the illness were confirmed through laboratory testing and the pool was closed for three weeks following the confirmation of the outbreak. Over 100 people were estimated to have been sickened during the outbreak.
"Gaps and weaknesses in policies and operational procedures and non-adherence to procedures in relation to incidents such as fecal accidents are also likely to have contributed to spreading cryptosporidium contamination widely at the time."
She’s annoying and neurotic, but no worse than me, and who isn’t?
So I won’t be going on the annual golf trip with the boys from Guelph. I went last year because it was part of a North Carolina road trip, but took Amy and Sorenne and spent the couple of days doing my best Herb Tarlek impersonation from the television show, WKRP in Cincinnati, with, “I thought we were supposed to bring our wives?”
When I do golf, I bring my own water, from the municipal tap.
Three golfers in Clearwater, Florida, have filed a lawsuit against Countryside Country Club, alleging they got sick from club watercoolers that contained "adulterated water." A press release from the Law Office of Tragos & Sartes indicates that the cooler on the golf course’s eighth hole was vandalized and contained feces and urine.
The lawsuit claims that on July 18, 2009, the men were golfing and drank from the water cooler. It was hot, so they said they were "guzzling" the water. Upon noticing an "unnatural taste," one of the plaintiffs opened the container and discovered urine and feces.
His son immediately "became ill and vomited on the tee box at hole number 8," while he and his father later developed fevers and other symptoms.
More than 90 restaurants in Metro Vancouver were told to close their doors after they were found with rodent infestations, unsanitary conditions, or a failure to store food properly, according to an investigation of restaurant inspection histories for the past three years by CTV News.
And many more were repeatedly cited — but not closed — for other violations, the most common of which were leaving food out that should be refrigerated, failure to wash surfaces, and not providing hand washing stations to employees.
"We’re looking for any signs that might lead us to believe there might be an outbreak of food poisoning," said Nick Losito, Vancouver Coastal Health’s director of health protection.
One of those restaurants that was shut down was a Vancouver legend — The Only Seafood Restaurant on Hastings Street.
Once a bustling destination for seafood since it opened the 1920s, The Only is now filled with rat feces and dead insects.
The health department closed The Only last year — not just because inspectors said the food was a public health hazard, but because inspectors discovered it was a crack den as well.
Five groups from the town are suing the firm over an alleged "holiday from Hell" in the Dominican Republic, which they say led to them suffering food poisoning.
More than 400 holidaymakers are claiming about £3 million in damages in total, with allegations including faeces in the swimming pool, "stone-cold" food, flies and birds being allowed to pick at the buffet, and a hotel which smelt of sewage.
Claimants allege they suffered acute gastroenteritis following their stay at the all-inclusive four-star Bahia Principe Hotel in San Juan in the summer of 2007.
The survey is corroborated by the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA), which found a 15% year-on-year increase in treatments in local authorities for rat infestations.
CRRU chairman, Dr Alan Buckle, said the UK rural rat population consumes an estimated 200t of food a day that would otherwise be destined for humans. One in every two farm fires, he adds, is believed to be started by rat damage causing electricity cables to short.
Even in Kansas, rats have twice sought shelter in our parked car’s engine and gnawed through the ignition wires.
And if those rats are frolicking and fornicating in the country, their numbers will only get worse in the city.
According to the CRRU:
• One rat produces about 40 faecal pellets and 15ml of urine each day, or 14,600 and five litres respectively per year.
• Salmonella, leptospira, toxoplasma, listeria, campylobacter and cryptosporidium are some of the highly pathogenic organisms carried by rats.
In summer 2003, researchers descended on airport bathrooms in the USA and Canada and discovered a dirty truth: More than 20% of restroom visitors left without washing their hands.
But there was one big exception: In Toronto, which had just endured a deadly outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), fewer than 5% of people left dirty-handed. During that outbreak, public health officials had repeatedly urged people to protect themselves by washing their hands.
Doug Powell, a food scientist at Kansas State University, said if changing handwashing behavior was simple, "we wouldn’t have so many people getting sick each year."
The story summarizes handwashing compliance advice for businesses, schools and hospitals as:
•The voice of authority. Just as federal health officials enlisted Obama to endorse handwashing, Dan Dunlop, president of Jennings, a North Carolina marketing company that has designed handwashing promotions for hospitals, has enlisted hospital CEOs and medical chiefs to inspire handwashing in their troops. School principals, PTA presidents and restaurant managers could do likewise, he says.
•The audience. "With younger people, what seems to work is being blunt and gross," Powell says. Powell, who writes at barfblog.foodsafety.ksu.edu, tells his students that when they eat without washing their hands first, they may be eating feces. (But he uses another word.)
•Social pressure. In one unpublished study, Craig found that petting-zoo visitors who left a barn through a crowded exit washed their hands more often than those who left by a less-crowded door.
•Keeping supplies up. Powell says he hears often about bathrooms in schools, college dormitories and other germ hotspots that lack soap (or paper towel – dp).