Cockles warmed: E. coli O157 strikes UK child, school says wasn’t us

Parents have been warned to be alert for signs of a “very infectious” strain of E. coli after a pupil from Thurnby Lodge Primary, in Leicester, contracted the O157 strain of the bug.

The source of the infection, caught over the half-term holidays, is not known, the school said. The severity of the illness has not been disclosed, but pupils in the same
class were sent letters by Public Heath England.

A spokeswoman for the school said, in her best British bureaucratese, “Thurnby Lodge Primary has received no further notifications of such incidents and it is deemed likely that the child was infected outside of school during the holidays. The letters from Public Health England came via the academy and were just a precautionary measure.”

The cockles of the parents were warmed.

And what kind of school is named, Thumby?

Going public: Epidemiology works, especially when so many are sick with E. coli O157

With two dead and at least 151 sick with E. coli O157, believed to be from imported rocket (like bagged lettuce), Public Health England (PHE) says the products are still on supermarket shelves because the source of the outbreak had not been confirmed.

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145Instead, officials are reiterating advice to wash vegetables, including salad leaves, thoroughly before eating them.

Washing is not going to remove much E. coli O157.

Stephen Adams of the Daily Mail writes that children are among those ill.

PHE would not say if the more than 60 patients needing hospital treatment were children or among the fatalities.

Several food wholesalers have been told to ‘stop adding some imported rocket leaves to their mixed salad products while investigations are ongoing,’ said the Food Standards Agency.

2 dead, 151 sick: UK says stop using imported rocket (lettuce), but not blaming anyone

Continuing in the fairytale theme that purveyors of food have the best interest of consumers at heart, as do taxpayer funded regulators, Public Health England have told a small number of wholesalers to stop using imported rocket leaves in their salad mixes, as investigations into a major E. coli outbreak continue.

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145The outbreak had so far claimed two lives, PHE said today, with a total of 151 cases identified, 62 of which required hospital care.

Director of Public Health England, Dr Isabel Oliver, said  “PHE is using various approaches including whole genome sequencing (WGS) technologies to test samples from those affected. WGS technologies are at the forefront of improving the diagnosis of infectious diseases and this testing has indicated that the strain involved is likely to be an imported strain, possibly from the Mediterranean area.

“PHE is also working closely with the Food Standards Agency to trace, sample and test salad products grown in the UK and other parts of Europe.

“All food sample results to date have been negative for E.coli O157, but it’s important to be aware that where food has been contaminated with E.coli O157, it is not always possible to identify the bacteria on food testing.

“As an additional precautionary measure, we have advised a small number of wholesalers to cease adding some imported rocket leaves to their mixed salad products pending further investigations

The UK Food Standards Agency said in the most bureaucratic way possible – with 2 dead and 151 sick – it is continuing to work closely with PHE and local authorities to investigate an outbreak of E.coli O157. The outbreak has been linked to eating mixed salad leaves, including rocket leaves, however a specific food source has not been confirmed at this stage.

As a precaution, the FSA is reminding people of the importance of good hand and food hygiene practices. All vegetables, including salads, intended to be eaten raw should be thoroughly washed unless they are specifically labelled ‘ready to eat’. Investigations are ongoing.

Fail. Nothing about on-farm food safety.

 

109 sick from E. coli in leafy greens UK: Best advice bureautypes have is wash your hands

This just gets continuinglyly hopeless. More sick people – that’s good to disclose, know it’s uncomfortable for Brits and most Europeans – but telling consumers to wash their hands is stupid.

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145Why wouldn’t Public Health England (PHE) or the farm groups involved say, this is what we do to reduce risk, and talk about on-farm food safety efforts?

Instead, they tell consumers to wash their hands.

To date, 109 cases (figure correct as at 4 July 2016) of this strain of E. coli have been identified (102 in England, 6 in Wales and 1 in Scotland) with the South West of England particularly affected.

PHE has been working to establish the cause of the outbreak and has now identified that several of the affected individuals ate mixed salad leaves including rocket leaves prior to becoming unwell. Currently, the source of the outbreak is not confirmed and remains under investigation. PHE is now reminding people to maintain good hygiene and food preparation practices in response to the current outbreak.

Dr Isabel Oliver, director of PHE’s field epidemiology service, said, We continue to stress the importance of good hand and food hygiene practices at all times. We urge people to remove any loose soil before storing vegetables and thoroughly wash all vegetables (including salads) that will be eaten raw unless they have been pre-prepared and are specifically labelled ‘ready to eat’. These measures may reduce the risk of infection from any E.coli contaminated vegetables, fruit and salad but will not eliminate any risk of infection completely. 

84 sick with E. coli O157: Leafy greens cone of silence – English-style

As if the English weren’t taunted enough, an outbreak of E. coli O157 phage type (PT) 34 linked with leafy salad has prompted regulators to remind consumers “about the importance of good hygiene and food preparation practice” and wash their f*cking hands (that pic, right, is what accompanied s300_Handwashing__NHS_MOORFIELDS_308-10056_960x640the PR; I can’t make this shit up).

This has nothing to do with E. coli O157 on leafy greens, and is a further continuation of Scotland’s it’s-a-f*cking pink chicken educational campaign.

Public Health England says it is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157 which may be associated with eating leafy salad. To date 84 cases (figure correct as at 1 July 2016) of this strain of E. coli have been identified (77 in England, 5 in Wales, 1 in the Channel Islands and 1 in Scotland) with the majority of cases confirmed in the South West of England.

Dr. Isabel Oliver, director of PHE’s field epidemiology service, said: PHE has put in place heightened surveillance for this strain of E. coli and is and carefully monitoring the reporting of cases across the entire country. To assist with this investigation, we have convened a national outbreak control team to identify the source of infection and to ensure all necessary control measures are put in place.

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145And collaborate with the U.K. Food Standards Agency, whose idea of science-based verification is to cook meat until it is piping hot, and declared in 2011 that E. coli O157:H7 found on or in leeks or potatoes, was the consumers’ responsibility.

Almost two months after revealing 250 people were sickened and one died with E. coli O157:H7 phage-type 8 over the previous eight months in 2011, linked to people handling loose raw leeks and potatoes in their homes, FSA decided to launch a campaign reminding people to wash raw vegetables to help minimize the risk of food poisoning.

No information on how those 250 became sick and no information on farming and packing practices that may have led to such a massive contamination that so many people got sick, no information on anything: just advice to wash things thoroughly so that contamination can be spread throughout the kitchen.

This outbreak once again combines two of the central themes of conflict and public trust in all things food, which the English are seemingly terrible at: when to go public, and blaming consumers.

And now, John Oliver, again (NSFV).

3 weeks in November: 56 hospital outbreaks of norovirus in West Midlands and North East UK hospitals

Outbreak News Today again, citing Public Health England (PHE) as documenting 56 suspected and laboratory confirmed hospital norovirus outbreaks with the West Midlands and North East regions from the week beginning Nov. 3 through the week beginning Nov. 24.

This brings the annual total to 572 hospital norovirus outbreaks through the week of Nov.24.

UK nursery still closed after three youngsters suffer from E. coli O55

A children’s center involved in an E coli investigation remains closed with no date set for its reopening.

e.coli.O55Blandford Children’s Centre in Black Lane was closed after three children who had visited it suffered from a rare strain of E coli.

A spokesperson for Dorset County Council confirmed that it was still closed and they had no information on when it might reopen.

The E coli outbreak has affected 11 people who are either all resident in Dorset or had visited the area since July. Blandford Children’s Centre was closed for three days in October after a child who attended it was diagnosed with the 055 E coli strain.

No evidence of a direct link between the nursery and the cases has been found but Dorset County Council opted to close the center voluntarily while they waited for the results of tests on staff and children.

Lawyers said the 10 people who had been infected since July had a right to expect answers from Public Health England (PHE).

UK E coli victims: Why didn’t Public Health England tell people about outbreak months ago?

Victims of the E coli outbreak have criticised Public Health England for not doing more to publicise the risks of the bug.

A Bournemouth woman who contracted the disease, two mothers whose children were desperately ill and a grandfather of a girl currently seriously ill in hospital have all said PHE was wrong not to tell people about the outbreak.

e.coli.O55A total of 11 people – all Dorset residents or people who have visited the county – have contracted E coli since July, with the latest case being last week.

PHE stressed it had thoroughly investigated each and every case but had not been able to find any common source between the cases in July and August.

It said it had not told any of the victims their cases were closed but that activity would have slowed because of the lack of any common factor between cases.

But victims and relatives are still unhappy with the way the PHE has handled the issue.

The grandfather of a three-year-old Blandford girl, currently battling E coli in Southampton General Hospital, said: “Why does it need a newspaper to get involved for PHE to do something?

“They could have let people know about the symptoms and what to look out for weeks or months ago.”

He said his granddaughter had been in theatre for an operation on Wednesday and was now back on dialysis. “We are just keeping everything crossed at the moment. It’s so heartbreaking to walk in and see her hooked up to all these machines.”

Gabrielle Archer, whose son Isaac Mortlock was among the first victims of the current outbreak, said: “I’m devastated to hear that these other children are now suffering and going through the daily blood tests and dialysis that Isaac had to go through.

“I feel that perhaps had Public Health England taken this case a bit more seriously that might not have happened. Had they put it out there and made people aware of the risks and symptoms, perhaps they might be okay.

A spokesperson for PHE said they had been proactive but said this did not necessarily mean engaging with the media.

She said there were always cases of E coli and they were constantly promoting good hygiene as a way of safeguarding against it.

But if PHE doesn’t know what the source is, how can they say they’re constantly promoting good hygiene as a way of safeguarding against it?

A better approach would be: we don’t know, this is what we’re doing to find out more, and you’ll hear it from PHE first.