10 students hospitalized after drinking vinegar in Norway uni hazing

A man in his 20s was seriously injured after drinking vinegar during a student party at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on Tuesday.

Fourteen students were transported to St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim after the hazing incident at NTNU.

This still goes on?

Marit Kvikne, communication director at St. Olavs Hospital says the students “have taken a mixture of vinegar and water, and have had an eternal damage in the oral cavity. There are 14 patients who have come to the emergency room, 10 of which were sent to the hospital. Three are for observation and one receives intensive care.”

Shiga toxin producing E coli in raw milk products in Norway

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has detected Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) in four unpasteurized milk products.

Mattilsynet said 82 unpasteurized milk products were examined and STEC was isolated from three products from Norwegian companies and a French cheese. Stx genes were also detected in 20 samples.

E. coli O-, stx2a was found in a Norwegian-produced soft red cheese of cow’s milk and rømme (a type of blue cheese) and E. coli O26, Stx1 and eae was in fresh cheese from goat milk. E. coli O113, stx2d was detected in French chèvre.

Joe Whitworth of Food Quality News reports Mattilsynet took 714 samples of pasteurized and unpasteurized dairy products – mainly cheeses – as part of a monitoring program from 2010 to 2016 – including 184 samples last year.

Samples in 2016 consisted of 102 produced from pasteurized milk and 82 of unpasteurized milk from stores, importers and manufacturers.

These products consisted of cow’s milk (139), goat (33), sheep (11) and a mixture of these (1).

The monitoring program was done to acquire knowledge on hygiene of dairy products on the Norwegian market.

Tough mudders and cyclists, beware the agri-land: Outbreaks amongst participants in Norway, Scotland

NRK reports that some 50 of 300 participants became sick with Campylobacter in a cycling event in Norway.

Competitors at the start of the 2015 Tough Mudder Scotland at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

Earlier, several people were stricken by E. coli O157 in a tough mudder event which was held at Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland on June 17 and 18.

These outbreaks follow previous, numerous outbreaks involved with playing in mud.

In Norway, the reason why the cyclists have become so bad is because animal wreckage resolved after a heavy rainfall and remained in the road. This has again sprung up on the cyclists.

“Especially if the stool is fresh and there are large amounts of water, it can sprinkle on drinking bottles and hands so you get it when you drink,” said Tor Halvor Bjørnstad-Tuveng, to NRK (something may be lost in translation).

“We have been in dialogue with the management of the race, and we have some concrete measures that we will look at. We have been very unlucky with the rides of the year, but we must definitely look at what we can do to prevent it happening again, “says Bjørnstad-Tuveng.

Per Stubban was one of those who had to go to the hospital for intravenous nutrition.

“Now I’m on my way, but there have been some tough days. Next time I will not use a handheld drink bottle, but a drinking bag, and if there is as much rain as it was now, I would probably be skeptical to start, “he said.

Participants in an endurance event at a Scottish castle have been warned to look out for symptoms of E. coli O157 after it was identified among those who took part.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway said “a small number of cases” of the bacteria have been found in those involved in the Tough Mudder event at Drumlanrig Castle last month.

It has advised anyone associated with the event who experiences symptoms to seek medical advice.

A spokesman for the health board said: “NHS Dumfries and Galloway can confirm that we are aware of a small number of cases of E.coli O157 across Scotland that appear to be associated with participation in the Tough Mudder event which was held at Drumlanrig Castle on June 17 and 18.

“Any activity undertaken on agricultural land inevitably involves a small risk of gastrointestinal infection.”

A spokesman for the event said: “The safety of Tough Mudder participants, spectators, volunteers and staff is our number one priority.


Where’s Thor or Loki (having fun in Brisbane) 300 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway

Friday was a bad time to be a reindeer navigating the barren Hardangervidda plateau in Central Norway.

reindeer.lightening.norway323 reindeer were killed by lightning strikes, in one fell swoop. Norway’s Environment Agency is at a loss as to how the massacre could have happened. Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen told the Associated Press that while it’s not uncommon for reindeer or other animals to be struck by lightning, the sheer scale of this massacre is singular.

The agency now faces the bizarre dilemma of what, if anything, to do with 300+ lightning-struck reindeer corpses. Usually, they would simply let the animals decay naturally, but the volume of dead reindeer presents a disturbing conundrum.

We’re looking to some sky-dwelling deity — possibly Odin, or Thor, or one of the other Norse gods with dominion over lighting (perhaps Loki?) — to address this tragedy.

133 sickened in Norway: ‘Improvements required in production processing of fresh salad products’

In May 2014, a cluster of Yersinia enterocolitica (YE) O9 infections was reported from a military base in northern Norway. Concurrently, an increase in YE infections in civilians was observed in the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases. We investigated to ascertain the extent of the outbreak and identify the source in order to implement control measures.

radicchioA case was defined as a person with laboratory-confirmed YE O9 infection with the outbreak multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA)-profile (5-6-9-8-9-9). We conducted a case–control study in the military setting and calculated odds ratios (OR) using logistic regression. Traceback investigations were conducted to identify common suppliers and products in commercial kitchens frequented by cases. By 28 May, we identified 133 cases, of which 117 were linked to four military bases and 16 were civilians from geographically dispersed counties. Among foods consumed by cases, multivariable analysis pointed to mixed salad as a potential source of illness (OR 10.26; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.85–123.57). The four military bases and cafeterias visited by 14/16 civilian cases received iceberg lettuce or radicchio rosso from the same supplier. Secondary transmission cannot be eliminated as a source of infection in the military camps.

The most likely source of the outbreak was salad mix containing imported radicchio rosso, due to its long shelf life. This outbreak is a reminder that fresh produce should not be discounted as a vehicle in prolonged outbreaks and that improvements are still required in the production and processing of fresh salad products.

National outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica infections in military and civilian populations associated with consumption of mixed salad, Norway, 2014

Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 34, 25 August 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.34.30321

E MacDonald, M Einöder-Moreno, K Borgen, L Thorstensen Brandal, L Diab, Ø Fossli, B Guzman Herrador, AA Hassan, GS Johannessen, EJ Johansen, R Jørgensen Kimo, T Lier, BL Paulsen, R Popescu, C Tokle Schytte, K Sæbø Pattersen, L Vold, Ø Ørmen, AL Wester, M Wiklund, K Nygård


First Denmark, now Norway for smiley-faced restaurant ratings

Nina Berglund of News in English.no reports inspectors from Norway’s state food safety agency Mattilsynet had little to smile about after their most recent visits to 1,100 restaurants in the Oslo area. Six out of 10 restaurants failed to earn the smiley face insignia that symbolizes good hygiene.

rest.inspection.smile.norway.aug.16Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Thursday that only 41 percent of the eating places inspected by Mattilsynet in Oslo, Asker and Bærum were awarded the smiley face, which means they met the authorities’ standards for good hygiene.

“We of course wished that the results were better, but we’re not surprised,” Marit Kolle, division chief at Mattilsynet, told NRK. The results show a decline from national inspections earlier this year, when more than 60 percent did well and received smiley faces.

Kolle said that half the restaurants inspected most recently were given a straight face, after inspectors found deficiencies and errors in hygienic routines. “Those establishments get a warning from us that they must improve their routines,” Kolle said.

Another 9 percent were hit with a sour face symbol, meaning they flunked the hygiene inspection. Inspectors can close them on the spot if the violations are severe, or fine them.

The system of symbolizing the hygiene of restaurants was launched January 1 as a means of advising patrons about food safety inspection results. After an initial round of visits to 2,279 restaurants nationwide, around a third failed to win smiley faces.

The restaurants are obliged to post the smiley-, straight- or sour-faced symbols at their front doors. NRK reported earlier this year that Mattilsynet inspectors claimed many were failing to do so, thus “sabotaging” the program.

Restaurant inspection results are also made public on the state agency’s own website, matportalen.no/smilefjes.


Are ready-to-eat salads ready to eat?

We investigated a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Coeln in Norway, including 26 cases identified between 20 October 2013 and 4 January 2014. We performed a matched case-control study, environmental investigation and detailed traceback of food purchases to identify the source of the outbreak.

lettuce.skull.noroIn the case-control study, cases were found to be more likely than controls to have consumed a ready-to-eat salad mix (matched odds ratio 20, 95% confidence interval 2·7–∞). By traceback of purchases one brand of ready-to-eat salad was indicated, but all environmental samples were negative for Salmonella.

This outbreak underlines that pre-washed and bagged salads carry a risk of infection despite thorough cleaning procedures by the importer. To further reduce the risk of infection by consumption of ready-to-eat salads product quality should be ensured by importers.

Outbreaks linked to salads reinforce the importance of implementation of appropriate food safety management systems, including good practices in lettuce production.

Are ready-to-eat salads ready to eat? An outbreak of Salmonella Coeln linked to imported, mixed, pre-washed and bagged salad, Norway, November 2013

F. Vestrheima1a2 c1, H. Langea1a3, K. Nygårda1, K. Borgena1, A. L. Westera1, M. L. Kvarmea4 and L. Volda1

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 8, June 2016, pages 1756-1760, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268815002769


Mycotoxin risk: Half-a-million cans of chocolate spread ordered destroyed in Norway

FSA has imposed Orkla Foods Norway destroying a party with chocolate spread corresponding orders to 13.7 million slices. Now they have appealed the decision.

nugattiThe reason for the decision because the FSA considers importation of the Turkish hazelnut paste in the product illegally imported to Norway.

“The company has imported and put into production, a party with hazelnut paste originating in Turkey, without the shipment has been prepared for public border. It is not given permission to customs clearance, ” writes the FSA in the decision.

Moreover, writes the FSA that the consignment belongs to a group risk products that include special precautionary measures due to potential high mycotoxins.

“The company has for years imported hazelnut paste from Turkey and should be well acquainted with the regulations concerning special protection measures”  it says further in the decision.

– The resolution is made on the basis that we do not properly have notified the party with nuts into the FSA before customs clearance. Nevertheless, the party with nuts released in customs, and thus put into production by us, says communications director Dag Olav workforce VG.

FSA writes in its decision that it considers the infraction as very serious.

Orkla Foods Norway has now appealed the decision to the Food Safety Authority’s headquarters. Meanwhile, the 500,000 Nugatti boxes category Nugatti Max, Nugatti Air, Nugatti Zero and chocolate spread (regular) kept locked up in a warehouse in Lillestrom, something at the factory on Tveita, while some are still at the wholesaler.

Irony can be ironic: 113 sick after public health conference in Norway

Thanks to a barfblog.com fan in Norway who provided the article and translation:

radisson.osloMore than 100 participants at the health- and quality-registration conference were ill after eating from a lunch buffet at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo on Thursday 10 March. The Norwegian institute of public health (FHI) was co-hosting the conference together with the Norwegian directorate of health.

One-hundred and thirteen people came down with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The Norwegian food safety authority has collected samples of food from the buffet and patient samples, while FHI sent out a survey to all the participants (399 of 600 have replied to the survey) but they still cannot confirm whether it was a virus or foodborne pathogen.

The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo is a popular conference hotel and has Norways biggest banquet hall.

“There are a lot of sick people. this does happen that often” says department director and co-organizer Marta Ebbing from FHI. She was also affected along with several of her colleagues. “I was acutely ill for a day but haven’t recovered fully yet”.

In the first week of April FHI will be hosting a second conference at the same hotel, topic: Infection prevention and control (Smitteverndagene 2016).

There really hasn’t been an incident like this since 2008 when 70 people caught norovirus at a conference celebrating 60th anniversary of the Norwegian diabetes association.

“it was the second day of the conference and we were celebrating, but people just collapsed. In the end the band just packed their instruments and left” says Allgot. 35 people were hospitalised, but mostly as a precaution for the patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. The remainder of the conference was cancelled.

Age and virulence influence E. coli, HUS in Norway

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection is associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

beef.stecTherefore Norway has implemented strict guidelines for prevention and control of STEC infection. However, only a subgroup of STEC leads to HUS.

Thus, identification of determinants differentiating high risk STEC (HUS STEC) from low risk STEC (non-HUS STEC) is needed to enable implementation of graded infectious disease response.

Methods: A national study of 333 STEC infections in Norway, including one STEC from each patient or outbreak over two decades (1992-2012), was conducted. Serotype, virulence profile, and genotype of each STEC were determined by phenotypic or PCR based methods.

The association between microbiological properties and demographic and clinical data was assessed by univariable analyses and multiple logistic regression models.

Results: From 1992 through 2012, an increased number of STEC cases including more domestically acquired infections were notified in Norway. O157 was the most frequent serogroup (33.6Â %), although a decrease of this serogroup was seen over the last decade.

All 25 HUS patients yielded STEC with stx2, eae, and ehxA. In a multiple logistic regression model, age ≤5 years (OR = 16.7) and stx2a (OR = 30.1) were independently related to increased risk of HUS.

eae and hospitalization could not be modelled since all HUS patients showed these traits. The combination of low age (≤5 years) and the presence of stx2a, and eae gave a positive predictive value (PPV) for HUS of 67.5 % and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 99.0 %.

SF O157:[H7] and O145:H?, although associated with HUS in the univariable analyses, were not independent risk factors. stx1 (OR = 0.1) was the sole factor independently associated with a reduced risk of HUS (NPV: 79.7 %); stx2c was not so.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that virulence gene profile and patients’ age are the major determinants of HUS development.


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections in Norway, 1992-2012: characterization of isolates and identification of risk factors for hemolytic uremic syndrome

Lin BrandalAstrid WesterHeidi LangeInger LøbersliBjørn-Arne LindstedtLine VoldGeorg Kapperud

Credits/Source: BMC Infectious Diseases 2015, 15:324