Toxo: You don’t want it

Toxoplasmosis is a foodborne zoonosis transmitted by Toxoplasma gondii, a cosmopolitan protozoan that infects humans through exposure to different parasite stages, in particular by ingestion of tissue cysts or tachyzoites contained in meat, primary offal (viscera), and meat-derived products or ingestion of environmental sporulated oocysts in contaminated food or water.

The pig is an important species for infection: raw or undercooked pork consumption not subject to treatment able to inactivate the parasite represents a risk to consumers’ health. Broadening knowledge of transmission ways and prevalence concerning this important pathogen in swine, together with a thorough acquaintance with hazard management are key elements to avoid T. gondii spreading within the swine production chain.

This review aims to illustrate why toxoplasmosis should be regarded as a veterinary public health issue through a careful description of the parasite, routes of infection, and inactivation treatments, highlighting the main prevention lines from pig breeding to pork consumption.

Toxoplasma gongii, a foodborne pathogen in the swine production chain form a European perspective

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, ahead of print, July 2017,  De Berardinis Alberto, Paludi Domenico, Pennisi Luca, and Vergara Alberto, https://doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2017.2305

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2017.2305

Feed-to-farm-to-slaughter-to-267 sickened with Salmonella in Germany, 2013

One of the largest and longest Salmonella outbreaks in Germany within the last 10 years occurred in central Germany in 2013.

neuruppin-germany-butchers-slaughtered-in-processing-pigs-d2w996To identify vehicles of infection, we analysed surveillance data, conducted a case-control study and food traceback. We identified 267 cases infected with Salmonella Infantis with symptom onset between 16 April and 26 October 2013 in four neighbouring federal states.

Results of our study indicated that cases were more likely to have eaten raw minced pork from local butcher’s shops [odds ratio (OR) 2·5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·1–5·8] and have taken gastric acid-reducing or -neutralizing medication (OR 3·8, 95% CI 1·3–13) than controls.

The outbreak was traced back to contaminated raw pork products found in different butcher’s shops supplied by one slaughterhouse, to pigs at one farm and to an animal feed producer. Characterization of isolates of human, food, animal, feed, and environmental origin by phage-typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis confirmed the chain of infection.

Insufficient hygiene standards in the slaughterhouse were the most probable cause of the ongoing transmission. We recommend that persons taking gastric acid suppressants should refrain from consuming raw pork products. Improving and maintaining adequate hygiene standards and process controls during slaughter is important to prevent future outbreaks.

A prolonged outbreak of Salmonella Infantis associated with pork products in central Germany, April–October 2013

Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 144 / Issue 07 / May 2016, pp 1429-1439

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10259962&utm_source=Issue_Alert&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=HYG

192 sick: Multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- and Salmonella Infantis infections linked to pork

According the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this outbreak appears to be over. 

pigwapplesm

  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings identified pork produced by Kapowsin Meats as the likely source of this outbreak of SalmonellaI 4,[5],12:i:- and SalmonellaInfantis infections.
  • 192 people infected with the outbreak strains of SalmonellaI 4,[5],12:i:- (188) andSalmonella Infantis (4) were reported from five states.
    • Most ill people were reported from Washington.
    • 30 ill people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
  • CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System(NARMS) laboratory conducted antibiotic-resistance testing on clinical isolates collected from 10 ill people infected with one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-.
    • All 10 isolates (100%) were multidrug resistant. This included resistance to ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline.
    • Antibiotic resistance may be associated with increased risk of hospitalization, development of a bloodstream infection, or treatment failure in patients.
  • On August 27, 2015, Kapowsin Meats issued an expanded recallof approximately 523,380 pounds of pork products that might be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-.
  • Consumers should check their homes and freezers for the recalled pork products and should not cook or eat them. Retailers should not sell these products and restaurants should not serve them.

Lawsonia predisposes pigs to shed Salmonella

A recent University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine study shows that pigs infected with Lawsonia intracellularis, a bacterial pathogen that causes disease in pigs and horses, predisposes these animals to shed the foodborne pathogen Salmonella enterica.

pig and pigletAccording to the university, the results of this study will be used as the basis for future research that is designed to show that vaccinating pigs for L. intracellularis could decrease shedding of S. enterica, potentially helping to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses attributed to this pathogen.

Pigs are frequent asymptomatic carriers of S. enterica, and pigs that carry the pathogen can result in contaminated pork products.

“Swine can act as a reservoir for the spread of S. enterica throughout the herd, within the packing plant and during processing to the finished product,” the study noted.

The study, Changes in the porcine intestinal microbiome in response to infection with Salmonella enterica and Lawsonia intracellularis, was published in the Oct. 13 issue of PLOS One, a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

Australian police discover pig eating cannabis plants during drugs raid

Police say they are on the lookout for any high flying pigs after they found a feral pig eating a cannabis plant near Toowoomba last week.

pig.stonedThey first attended a house at Meringandan West last Wednesday where they saw a man inside an enclosed pen, upon closer inspection they also found a large pig eating what they described as a “green leafy material”.

Police will allege that they conducted a search of the address and found a 1.6m high cannabis plant along with 140.7 grams of cannabis.

152 sick with Salmonella from whole pigs: Kapowsin Meats expands recall of pork product

This release is being reissued to expand the August 13, 2015 recall to include additional products. Details of this release were also updated to reflect a change in poundage, epidemiological informational and distribution area.

pig.roast.appleKapowsin Meats, a Graham, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 523,380 pounds of pork products that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

FSIS has been conducting intensified sampling at Kapowsin Meats while this establishment took steps to address sanitary conditions at their facility after the original recall on August 13, 2015. Sampling revealed positive results for Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- on Whole Hogs for Barbeque, associated pork products and throughout the establishment. FSIS has deemed sanitary improvement efforts made by the Kapowsin Meats insufficient, and the scope of this recall has been expanded to include all products associated with contaminated source material. The establishment has voluntarily suspended operations.

The whole hogs and associated items were produced on various dates between April 18, 2015 and August 26, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

Varying weights of boxed/bagged Whole Hogs for Barbeque

Varying weights of boxed/bagged fabricated pork products including various pork offal products, pork blood and pork trim. 

The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “Est. 1628” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The product was shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions, and distributors in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.        

On July 15, 2015, the Washington State Department of Health notified FSIS of an investigation of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- illnesses. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between whole hogs for barbeque and pork products from Kapowsin Meats and these illnesses. Traceback investigation has identified 36 case-patients who consumed whole hogs for barbeque or pork products from this establishment prior to illness onset. These illnesses are part of a larger illness investigation. Based on epidemiological evidence, 152 case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to August 12, 2015. FSIS continues to work with our public health partners on this ongoing investigation.                        

pig.sexConsumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them, and should throw them away or return the products to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

 FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume pork and whole hogs for barbeque that have been cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F with a three minute rest time. The only way to confirm that whole hogs for barbeque are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ. For whole hogs for barbeque make sure to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in several places. Check the temperature frequently and replenish wood or coals to make sure the fire stays hot. Remove only enough meat from the carcass as you can serve within 1-2 hours.

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact John Anderson, Owner, at (253) 847-1777.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

E. coli in pigs: Real-time PCR

Escherichia coli is found naturally in the intestinal flora of pigs and, under certain circumstances, it causes a clinical picture of colibacillosis, a disease that can manifest itself as different conditions involving neonatal diarrhoea, post-weaning diarrhoea, oedema disease, septicaemia, etc…

pig-in-shock1Proper diagnosis includes a thorough anamnesis, a correct selection of samples and a complete differential diagnosis supported by various techniques. The mere detection of pathogenic strains does not justify the disease in every case due to the often finding of asymptomatic carriers. Identifying relevant virulence strains and differentiating them from other normal gut flora is a highly topical diagnostic challenge. And the real time PCR (qPCR) applied to the detection of virulence factors (VFs) of E. coli has rised up as a powerful tool able to generate useful information.

Based on the extraction of nucleic acids from different biological matrices (culture, faeces, intestinal or rectal swab), qPCR assays recognize specific genomic regions of E. coli encoding different VFs. In this work, each trial was designed to detect a different VF. An additional qPCR (ECCO) was used to confirm the presence of E. coli in the samples and to ensure that all stages of the technique had been performed correctly. qPCR is a qualitative assay, but it’s also quantitative (Figure 1), which is a significant advantage over its predecessor, conventional PCR.

The smaller the Cq value, the higher the initial concentration of the parameter studied in the sample.

Evaluation of virulent strains in colibacillosis was traditionally achieved by an initial microbiological culture, then isolation of colonies of E. coli and subsequent characterization of their VFs. The main disadvantage of this method is that the analysis can only be performed on a limited number of selected isolates, the accuracy of the diagnosis relying on the assumption that these are representative in the total population of E. coli in the sample studied. This way, there is a risk of omitting non-majority populations of E. coli that are, however, clinically relevant.

qPCR provides the possibility of analysing the VFs directly on the clinical sample. This methodology avoids intermediate culture steps and their respective determinations on each of the different selected isolates, leading to considerable savings in time and costs. Given the quantitative nature of the technique, a relationship can be established between the number of copies detected for a specific virulence gene and the total population of E. coli in the sample. This way we could interpret the possibility of isolating a strain with a particular combination of VFs.

This methodology has certain limitations due to the indeterminate number of copies of the individual genes encoding each VF within different bacterial populations. However, it meets the proposed objective: to assess the possibility of finding E. coli with a particular combination of VFs in the sample.

In conclusion, qPCR applied directly to clinical samples provides substantial savings of time and resources, as well as information leading to an interpretation providing solutions for the sensitive diagnosis of porcine colibacillosis.

E. coli in Australian pigs

Background: Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are a major economic threat to pig production globally, with serogroups O8, O9, O45, O101, O138, O139, O141, O149 and O157 implicated as the leading diarrhoeal pathogens affecting pigs below four weeks of age.

kid_pig_kissA multiple antimicrobial resistant ETEC O157 (O157 SvETEC) representative of O157 isolates from a pig farm in New South Wales, Australia that experienced repeated bouts of pre- and post-weaning diarrhoea resulting in multiple fatalities was characterized here. Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O157:H7 cause both sporadic and widespread outbreaks of foodborne disease, predominantly have a ruminant origin and belong to the ST11 clonal complex. Here, for the first time, we conducted comparative genomic analyses of two epidemiologically-unrelated porcine, disease-causing ETEC O157; E. coli O157 SvETEC and E. coli O157:K88 734/3, and examined their phylogenetic relationship with EHEC O157:H7.

Results: O157 SvETEC and O157:K88 734/3 belong to a novel sequence type (ST4245) that comprises part of the ST23 complex and are genetically distinct from EHEC O157. Comparative phylogenetic analysis using PhyloSift shows that E. coli O157 SvETEC and E. coli O157:K88 734/3 group into a single clade and are most similar to the extraintestinal avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolate O78 that clusters within the ST23 complex. Genome content was highly similar between E. coli O157 SvETEC, O157:K88 734/3 and APEC O78, with variability predominantly limited to laterally acquired elements, including prophages, plasmids and antimicrobial resistance gene loci. Putative ETEC virulence factors, including the toxins STb and LT and the K88 (F4) adhesin, were conserved between O157 SvETEC and O157:K88 734/3. The O157 SvETEC isolate also encoded the heat stable enterotoxin STa and a second allele of STb, whilst a prophage within O157:K88 734/3 encoded the serum survival gene bor. Both isolates harbor a large repertoire of antibiotic resistance genes but their association with mobile elements remains undetermined.

flying.pig.kids.in.the.hallConclusions: We present an analysis of the first draft genome sequences of two epidemiologically-unrelated, pathogenic ETEC O157. E. coli O157 SvETEC and E. coli O157:K88 734/3 belong to the ST23 complex and are phylogenetically distinct to EHEC O157 lineages that reside within the ST11 complex.

Comparative genomic analysis of a multiple antimicrobial resistant enterotoxigenic E. coli O157 lineage from Australian pigs

BMC Genomics 2015, 16:165

Ethan Wyrsch, Piklu Roy Chowdhury, Sam Abraham, Jerran Santos, Aaron E Darling, Ian G Charles, Toni A Chapman and Steven P Djordjevic

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/16/165/abstract

Chinese officials dismissed over diseased meat scandal

China has dismissed eight officials after pork from pigs infected with a “highly contagious virus” was found to have entered the market, state media said Monday.

PigThe country’s latest food scandal was revealed in an investigation by state broadcaster China Central Television which said the annual revenue of the tainted pork was more than 20 million yuan.

The meat had come from slaughterhouses in the city of Gaoan in central Jiangxi province and had entered at least seven provinces in total, said the report, which was first broadcast Saturday.

Whole genome sequencing reveals potential spread of Clostridium difficile between humans and farm animals in the Netherlands, 2002 to 2011

Farm animals are a potential reservoir for human Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), particularly PCR ribotype 078 which is frequently found in animals and humans. Here, whole genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis was used to study the evolutionary relatedness of C. difficile 078 isolated from humans and animals on Dutch pig farms.

UQ.piggeryAll sequenced genomes were surveyed for potential antimicrobial resistance determinants and linked to an antimicrobial resistance phenotype. We sequenced the whole genome of 65 C. difficile 078 isolates collected between 2002 and 2011 from pigs (n = 19), asymptomatic farmers (n = 15) and hospitalised patients (n = 31) in the Netherlands. The collection included 12 pairs of human and pig isolates from 2011 collected at 12 different pig farms. A mutation rate of 1.1 SNPs per genome per year was determined for C. difficile 078. Importantly, we demonstrate that farmers and pigs were colonised with identical (no SNP differences) and nearly identical (less than two SNP differences) C. difficile clones.

Identical tetracycline and streptomycin resistance determinants were present in human and animal C. difficile 078 isolates. Our observation that farmers and pigs share identical C. difficile strains suggests transmission between these populations, although we cannot exclude the possibility of transmission from a common environmental source.

Euro Surveill. 2014;19(45):pii=20954

Knetsch CW, Connor TR, Mutreja A, van Dorp SM, Sanders IM, Browne HP, Harris D, Lipman L, Keessen EC, Corver J, Kuijper EJ, Lawley TD

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=20954