A bear visits a Dairy Queen, but it can pee in a cup

50-years-ago there was a Dairy Queen on the main strip where I grew up.

According to my mother, who just e-mailed me (Happy Mother’s Day, mom, you’re the best, that’s her, right, with great-grandson Emerson) it’s still there.

At least one of my Canadian daughters worked at a DQ, but I thought they disappeared decades ago (the DQs, not the daughters).

Nope.

A food handler at Dairy Queen in Ashland, Kentucky, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department.

Dairy Queen stated the store was immediately sanitized and disinfected, and that all employees will be vaccinated before returning to work if they have not already done so.

Vaccines work.

But the truly weird DQ story this week is that a private zoo in Alberta (that’s in Canada) is facing charges after a bear from the facility was taken through a drive-thru Dairy Queen in a pickup truck and hand-fed ice cream through the vehicle’s window.

News of the outing emerged earlier this year after Discovery Wildlife Park, located about 70 miles north of Calgary in the town of Innisfail, posted a video on social media showing a captive Kodiak bear sitting in the passenger seat of a truck.

The video later showed the one-year-old bear, known as Berkley, leaning out of the truck’s window, enthusiastically licking an ice cream cone held by the owner of a local Dairy Queen.

Amid widespread criticism, the video – along with a second one showing Berkley licking frosting off an ice cream cake – was taken down.

At the time, the zoo said the drive-thru run had posed no danger to the public, as it had taken place before the Dairy Queen had opened for the day and that the bear had been secured by a chain throughout the entire outing.

Wildlife officials in Alberta said that the zoo and its owners are now facing two charges. “Under the terms and conditions of the zoo’s permit, the charges are directly related to the alleged failure of the park to notify the provincial government prior to the bear leaving the zoo,” Alberta Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.

One count stems from the bear’s jaunt through the drive-thru, while the other dates back to 2017. At the time Berkley had just arrived as an orphan from a facility in the United States and the zoo allegedly failed to inform officials the seven-pound bear was being taken home nightly so that she could be bottle-fed.

The zoo’s owner, Doug Bos, said he planned to plead guilty to the charges, noting that this was the first time in the zoo’s 28-year history that it was facing such charges.

“We made a mistake. I’m embarrassed about it,” he told the Guardian. “Every time we take an animal off the property, we’re supposed to notify Fish and Wildlife, send them an email, and we forgot to do that in both instances.”

He said he had been happy to hear of the charges. “I’m glad that they followed through with it because it shows how strictly regulated the zoo industry is in the province,” he said. “Because there are so many people out there that think it’s not, they think anybody can just do anything they want.”

Bos said that wildlife officials had not necessarily taken issue with the bear’s outing to Dairy Queen but rather the zoo’s failure to request permission beforehand. “That’s all we did wrong,” he added, noting that the bears have been taken off the property many times for a range of reasons.

“We’ve done lots of TV commercials, Super Bowl commercials with bears and food … Some of them the bear was in a grocery store and wandered up and down the aisles.”

He emphasised the difference between bears in the wild and the zoo’s bears, describing those in the facility as hand-raised and well-trained.

At one point the zoo’s bears had even learned to pee in a cup, he said, in order to participate in a Scottish veterinarian’s study aimed at measuring baseline norms for bears. “These bears aren’t just your average bear that we go snag out of the wild and do this.”

11 now sick in Australia linked to Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate

Two South Australians have been hospitalised with Hepatitis A, believed to have been caused by them eating Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate.

The product was recalled from Coles last month but SA Health is reminding South Australians to make sure they do not have the product in their freezers.

SA Health food and controlled drugs director Fay Jenkins said nationally there have been 11 cases linked to the outbreak, with two in South Australia.

“There’s a lady in her 60s and she is quite unwell and she is in hospital. There is a younger gentleman [aged 33] … and he’s actually been discharged from hospital,” Dr Jenkins said.

People are sick: Frozen strawberries grown in Egypt recalled because of hep A in Canada

For at least the third time in the last six years, people have gotten sick with hepatitis A after consuming strawberries – fresh or frozen — grown in Egypt.

A multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among European travellers returning from Egypt occurred between November 2012 and April 2013.

A total of 14 European Union (EU)-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries reported 107 cases. Twenty-one cases from six countries were affected by strains of sub-genotype IB harbouring identical RNA sequences, suggesting a common source outbreak.

In Sept. 2016, at least 89 were sickened in the U.S. with hepatitis A at Tropical Smoothie Cafés in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, linked to consumption of frozen strawberries from Egypt.

Now, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Groupe Adonis Inc. is recalling Montana brand frozen strawberries from the marketplace due to possible Hepatitis A contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

The ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) transmitted an alert to the news media concerning the affected product. Please click on the following link for details: https://www.mapaq.gouv.qc.ca/fr/Consommation/rappelsaliments/2018/04/Pages/3682.aspx (French only).

The following product has been sold exclusively from Adonis markets in Quebec and Ontario.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Montana Strawberry
(frozen)
1 kg All codes purchased on or before April 14, 2018 6222000401487

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

This recall was triggered by findings during an investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak.

CFIA won’t say how many are sick, that’s up to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

And vaccines work.

Vaccines work: Will low-cost shots for restaurant workers tame the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky?

Darla Carter of Insider Louisville reports the city is taking aim at the hepatitis A outbreak by offering low-cost vaccination shots to food-service and hospitality industry workers such as restaurant employees.

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the University of Louisville Global Health Center have teamed up to provide the service at a discounted price of $25 per shot, with the restaurant or business paying the fee.

“It’s a significant discount,” said health department spokesman Dave Langdon, noting that the typical rate is more like $65 to $100 a dose.

Against the Grain, a Louisville brewery and restaurant, is among the businesses that have stepped up to get some workers vaccinated.

“We care for our employees and want them to be well and we care for our customers and want them to be well,” co-owner Adam Watson said. ” … Any place that handles food, it’s probably a wise decision to try and get this done.”

The discounted shots are part of an effort to stop an outbreak that has led to nearly 200 cases of acute hepatitis A in the Louisville area, according to the health department. At least one person has died.

Locally, the highly contagious liver infection mainly has stricken the homeless and people who use drugs. It’s usually spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated with small amounts of stool from an infected person, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health department and its partners have given shots to thousands of people at high risk, such as the homeless, and is urging restaurants and other food handlers to practice good sanitation and hygiene as the Kentucky Derby approaches in May.

Also, by taking advantage of the discounted shots, businesses “certainly would be helping to prevent the spread of hepatitis A throughout the community,” Langdon said. “Also, they would be protecting themselves against the potential bad publicity and loss of business that might come with having one of their workers identified with being infected with hepatitis A.”

7 sick with Hepatitis A linked to frozen pomegranate in Australia

I’m not a fan of pomegranates, and I’m really not a fan of the way the NSW Food Authority announces recalls.

Here’s what they said.

The NSW Food Authority advises:
Entyce Food Ingredients is conducting a precautionary recall of its Creative Gourmet Pomegranate Arils 180g from Coles Supermarkets nationally, due to potential Hepatitis A contamination.

Product details:

Creative Gourmet Pomegranate Arils 180g, frozen, plastic snap lock bag

All Best Before Dates up to and including 21/03/20

Consumers should not consume this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

If you are concerned about your health you should seek medical advice.

What they didn’t mention but ABC did is seven people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating frozen pomegranate purchased at Coles supermarkets, prompting NSW Health to warn anyone who bought the product to throw it out immediately.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, director of communicable diseases at NSW Health, said it was working with the state’s Food Authority to determine whether the infection could be definitively linked to the Coles frozen pomegranates, despite the fact that each person affected had eaten the product.

I get the difference between NSW Health and the NSW Food Authority. But mention how hard is it to mention there are sick people so consumers can judge how much they should pay attention.

Vaccines still work.

Vaccines work even at fancy food places: Hepatitis A case linked to Melbourne restaurant

Hundreds of people who dined at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants will be contacted by the health department after a food handler was diagnosed with a highly contagious liver infection.

The Age reports the staff member at Cumulus Inc., in the fine-dining hotspot of Flinders Lane, was recently found to have hepatitis A.

An alert issued by Victoria’s Department of Health on Thursday afternoon said anyone who ate at the restaurant between February 26 and March 19 should visit their GP for a free hepatitis A vaccine, and seek urgent medical attention if they feel unwell.

The department is also contacting anyone who booked at the restaurant during the same time period.

It is not yet clear how the male staff member contracted hepatitis A.

However, Victoria has been recently experiencing a local outbreak of the infectious disease, which has already claimed one life.

In response to the dozens of cases in recent months, a free vaccine has been offered to Victorian men who have sex with men and people who have injected drugs in the past year.

It follows an unusual increase in hepatitis A cases in Europe and North America that has affected hundreds of people.

The restaurant said that the hygiene systems at Cumulus Inc. were robust and safety of guests paramount.

The sick employee, who was involved in the plating up and preparation of food, is expected to make a full recovery.

Cumulus Inc. is prolific restaurateur Andrew McConnell’s stalwart all-day city restaurant, with wine bar Cumulus Up operating above.

Occupying an old clothing factory in Flinders Lane, the restaurant has consistently maintained a hat in the Good Food Guide since it opened in 2008.

Famous for its slow-cooked lamb shoulder, and still the go-to for boozy business brunches it is a kingpin of the McConnell restaurant empire, which also includes Marion, Cutler and Co. and fellow Flinders Lane occupant Supernormal.

Hepatitis A surveillance in France, 2006-2015

(Many thanks to our correspondent in France for sending this along).
Hepatitis A surveillance has been carried out by mandatory reporting (DO) since November 2005, with the objective of detecting clustered cases in order to quickly take control measures, and estimating reporting incidence rates. The results of the analysis of cases reported during the first ten years of surveillance (2006-2015) are presented.

Methods

One case (positive anti-HAV IgM) must be notified to the Regional Health Agency using an OD card. This sheet gathers sociodemographic and clinical information as well as risky exposures (in particular cases in the entourage, stay outside the metropolis, consumption of seafood).

Results

For the period 2006-2015, 11,158 cases of hepatitis A were notified, giving an average incidence rate of 1.7 / 100,000. A downward trend in this rate has been observed since 2010. The average incidence rate of reporting in men was 1.9 / 100,000 and, in women, 1.4 / 100,000, with a downward trend for both sexes. The main exposures at risk were the presence of cases in the entourage (46%) and a stay outside metropolitan France (38%). Thirty-two percent of cases belonged to an identified episode of clustered cases. Each year, the share of grouped cases was relatively stable, ranging between 28 and 37%.

Conclusion

The annual rate of notification incidence has gradually decreased since 2010, reaching in 2015 that of a country of low endemicity for hepatitis A (1.1 / 100,000). The highest incidence of reporting was found in the under-15 age group, which is the most affected by fecal-oral transmission of the virus, favored in families and communities of children. The data collected by the OD and by the investigations of grouped episodes made it possible, in 2009, to develop vaccine recommendations in the family circle of a patient with hepatitis A and in living communities in situation precarious hygiene.

First ten years of surveillance of hepatitis A through mandatory reporting, France, 2006-2015

BEH

Elisabeth Couturier 1, Lina Mouna 2 , Marie-José Letort 1 , Dieter Van Cauteren 1 , Anne-Marie Roque-Afonso 2 , Henriette De Valk 

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2018/5/2018_5_1.html

17 sick from hepA in Denmark linked to dates

Since the end of January, the State Serum Institute has investigated a disease outbreak of contagious hepatitis caused by hepatitis A virus infections. This indicates that the source of infection may be dates, and the case is further investigated in collaboration with the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the DTU Food Institute. The outbreak is the second national food-borne outbreak of hepatitis A in Denmark.

The outbreak thus includes 17 patients, nine women and eight men aged 17 years. Patients have become ill from December 2017 onwards. Patients are resident throughout the country and 16 have been hospitalized. Virus from seven of the patients has been type-approved for type 3A, and for the time being, genetic studies have shown that four of these are identical, which supports the suspicion of a common source of infection. It is still expected that more patients will come, as about four weeks from eating the contaminated dates until you get sick with hepatitis A.

To investigate the source of infection for the outbreak, the State Serum Institute has conducted extensive interviews with patients and made a so-called case-control study. During the initial interviews, dates, as several of the patients indicated to have eaten, were suspected. The correlation between dates and disease risk was then investigated in the case-control study. Here you compare how often patients have eaten a number of specific foods with similar information from a comparable group of healthy Danes. 

The results have shown that the source of infection was most likely to have been dates since patients had far more eaten this food than the comparable group of healthy Danes. The dates are described by most patients as soft dark stones with stones purchased in Rema1000. The results were handed over to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, The importer and Rema1000 chose to withdraw the dates on 6 February .

The likelihood of infectious hepatitis infection caused by infection with Hepatitis A virus by eating dates from Rema1000 is considered very small. Therefore, there is no need to consult a doctor if you have no symptoms of hepatitis A infection.

If you have eaten Rema1000 dadels after 1 December 2017 and develop symptoms of hepatitis such as nausea, madness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea or fever without any other obvious causes or yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, light colored dye and / or dark , porter-colored urine, consult your own doctor. 

Vaccines work: New York country club patrons exposed to hepatitis A linked to fancy place

Christopher Eberhart of Lohud writes that patrons at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club may have been exposed to hepatitis A as an outbreak linked to bartaco in Port Chester continues to spread.  

A Sleepy Hollow Country Club employee was infected by one of the five people who were exposed to hepatitis A at bartaco, Westchester Health Department officials said today.  

Health officials don’t believe this outbreak will involve as many people as bartaco, which included treatments of more than 3,000 people, who were potentially exposed to Hepatitis A. 

“We’re not expecting to be treating thousands this time,” Amler said at a Friday afternoon press conference. 

While the greatest risk is to those who ate or drank at Sleepy Hollow’s Grill Room, in an abundance of caution the Health Department recommends preventive treatment for anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 27 and Nov. 4.

The county is offering free preventative treatment today from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the county clinic at 134 Court St. in White Plains. Dr. Sherlita Amler, commissioner of health, said more clinics are expected to be scheduled for next week, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet. 

Vaccines work: Fancy food ain’t safe food, Australia hep A edition

Get vaccinated.

The NSW Food Authority has issued an alert for diners of a top Sydney restaurant after a food handler employed there contracted Hepatitis A.

Any diners who ate at Sokyo restaurant in the Star Casino complex during September and October are being advised to contact their GP if they have any concerns.

The food handler, who works in the ‘hot food area’ in the restaurant’s kitchen, contracted the virus whilst travelling overseas. After being admitted to hospital with symptoms, hospital staff contacted the NSW Food Authority to advise of the issue after learning where the food handler worked.

NSW Food Authority performed a review the next day and concluded that processes and hygiene at the Sokyo restaurant are robust and that there there was a low risk of anyone being infected with no ongoing risk to other diners.

This Hepatitis A warning is unrelated to the current Hepatitis A outbreak occurring throughout Sydney.