Raw is risky: 25 sickened by oysters in Seattle

A foodborne illness outbreak linked to raw oysters has sickened at least 25 people who dined at local restaurants recently, King County reported on Tuesday. The news comes after the county reported last week that a handful of people got sick eating raw oysters at two Seattle restaurants – The Salted Sea and The White Swan Public House.

The restaurants, however, are not the source of the outbreak, King County says. Most likely, the oysters were mishandled or contaminated before reaching local restaurants, although no specific local oyster beds have been connected to the outbreak.

County health officials believe diners have been sickened by Vibrio, a marine bacteria commonly found in oysters.

“Eating undercooked or raw shellfish, especially raw oysters in warm-weather months, is the main risk for acquiring vibriosis from infection with Vibrio parahaemolyticus,” King County said.

Australia still has an egg problem: WA Salmonella infections explode,1500 sick

It is painfully rewarding that the bureautards in Western Australia are finally catching up to what we’ve been saying for years.

Australia has an egg problem.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-5-1-17.xlsx.

The West Australian reports the area is experiencing an explosion in stomach bug illnesses, with more than 4,000 cases so far this year and many of them caused by food.

 New figures show 4076 cases of gastrointestinal disease have been reported this year — 31 per cent more than at the same time in the previous two years. The bacterial or viral infections are mostly caused by contaminated food and water or poor hygiene. Much of the surge has been fuelled by a rise in salmonella, with many of the 1566 cases this year associated with eating uncooked eggs.

There has been a big increase in other gastroenteric illnesses, with 358 cases of the viral infection rotavirus, which can make young children seriously ill.

Cryptosporidiosis, which is caused by a parasite, has been reported in 335 people — more than double the number at the same time last year. A WA Health Department spokeswoman said though notifications of salmonella gastroenteritis were declining as expected over winter, the increased levels were a concern.

“The department is concerned about food-borne illness rates in WA, including salmonella risks associated with eggs, and is implementing short and long-term reduction strategies,” she said. The department and local government authorities were focusing on safety surveillance across the food industry, from paddock to plate.

“Eggs are a good source of nutrition, but like many other foods they can be contaminated with bacteria, including salmonella,” the spokeswoman said.

“It is important people handle and prepare eggs safely to reduce the food poisoning risk.”

Hepatitis E: Raw pork is main cause of infection in EU

Consumption of raw or undercooked pork meat and liver is the most common cause of hepatitis E infection in the EU, said the European Food Safety Authority.

More than 21,000 cases of hepatitis E infections have been reported in humans over the last 10 years, with an overall 10-fold increase in this period.

Rosina Girones, chair of EFSA’s working group on hepatitis E, said: “Even if it is not as widespread as other foodborne diseases, hepatitis E is a growing concern in the EU. In the past, people thought the main source of infection was drinking contaminated water while travelling outside the EU. But now we know the main source of transmission of the disease in Europe is food.”

Domestic pigs are the main carriers of hepatitis E in the EU. Wild boars can also carry the virus, but meat from these animals is less commonly consumed.

Experts from EFSA’s Panel on Biological Hazards recommend that Member States increase awareness of public health risks associated with raw and undercooked pork meat and advise consumers to cook pork meat thoroughly. They also recommend the development of suitable methods for detecting hepatitis E in food.

This scientific advice builds on a previous scientific opinion on the occurrence and control of foodborne viruses published in 2011.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has today also published a report on hepatitis E in humans which assesses testing, diagnosis and monitoring methods and reviews available epidemiological data.

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV).

Most people who contract hepatitis E display no or mild symptoms. However, in some cases especially for those with liver damage or patients with a weak immune system, it can lead to liver failure – which can be fatal.

Why I don’t eat raw oysters: Vibrio thrives by attacking the cell’s cytoskeleton

The leading cause of acute gastroenteritis linked to eating raw seafood disarms a key host defense system in a novel way: It paralyzes a cell’s skeleton, or cytoskeleton.

That finding, from UT Southwestern Medical Center, was reported today in PLoS Pathogens. Without a working cytoskeleton, infected cells are unable to produce defensive molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that normally attack bacterial DNA, said Dr. Marcela de Souza Santos, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of senior author Dr. Kim Orth. Dr. Orth is a Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern as well as an Investigator in the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria deploy a needlelike apparatus called a Type III Secretion System (T3SS) that injects toxic bacterial proteins, known as effectors, into cells that line the intestine, resulting in severe gastroenteritis,” Dr. de Souza Santos said.

Usually V. parahaemolyticus causes only a few days of gastrointestinal distress in the form of vomiting or diarrhea. On rare occasions, however, particularly in people with chronic health conditions like diabetes or liver disease that compromise the immune system, the bacteria can escape from the gut and enter the bloodstream, causing life-threatening systemic infection.

Of the nearly 80 known Vibrio strains, only about a dozen infect humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates Vibrio cause 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the U.S. annually. Of those, an estimated 45,000 people are sickened by V. parahaemolyticus. Another Vibrio strain, V. vulnificus, can cause life-threatening infections in people with open wounds exposed to warm seawater. As with other Vibrio strains, people who are immunocompromised are at highest risk.

“Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the reason for the old saying that you shouldn’t eat oysters in months without an ‘r’ in them, meaning the summer months,” said Dr. Orth, holder of the Earl A. Forsythe Chair in Biomedical Science and a W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research. “With the warming of the oceans, the risk now starts earlier in the year and the bacteria’s geographical range is spreading.” The CDC’s fact sheet says that 80 percent of U.S. vibriosis infections occur between May and October.

The state of Alaska reported its first V. parahaemolyticus outbreak in July 2004. Another strain of Vibrio sickened more than 80 people exposed to contaminated seawater during a heatwave in Northern Europe in 2014. The first Vibrio strains were identified in the 18th century.

Until recently, it was believed that Vibrio bacteria remained outside cells, doing their damage by shooting effectors into cells. However, in 2012, the Orth laboratory identified a way that V. parahaemolyticus tricks random cells lining the gut into engulfing the bacterium and bringing it inside the cell. The current study indicates how the T3SS protein VopL aids V. parahaemolyticus infection by helping the pathogen secure a niche within the cell for bacterial replication.

It’s a good strategy for a bacterium to infect random cells only, Dr. Orth said. If a pathogen were to infect most of the host’s cells quickly – as is thought to occur with the Ebola virus – the pathogen might kill its host so fast that it could undermine its own survival, she said.

In a study published last month in Science Signaling, the Orth laboratory did something unprecedented: It followed V. parahaemolyticus infection over time – flash freezing samples every 15 minutes – to chart the pathogen’s effect on host signaling. That study identified 398 genes whose expressions were changed by Vibrio infection, said lead author and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Nicole De Nisco.

In the current study, the researchers found that one of V. parahaemolyticus’ many effectors – VopL – paralyzes the cytoskeleton through a novel mechanism. The cellular machinery, or complex, that makes the ROS sits on the cell surface, but the molecules that the cellular factory needs to assemble ROS are created inside the cell. A working, flexible cytoskeleton is necessary to move the molecules to the ROS factory, she explained.

To confirm their observation, the researchers created two V. parahaemolyticus strains, one able to make VopL and another not. Using confocal microscopy, they found that the Vibrio able to produce VopL inactivated the assembly of ROS by gathering the cytoskeleton into nonfunctional filaments. In contrast, the mutant bacterium unable to produce VopL was vulnerable to ROS attack.

This study identifies the virulence factor used by V. parahaemolyticus to suppress host ROS generation and also reveals an unprecedented mechanism used by a microbial pathogen to do so, said Dr. Orth.

“By hijacking the cytoskeleton, VopL prevents the cell from launching one of its major weapons, reactive oxygen species,” said Dr. Orth. “We hope our work will lead to a better understanding of host defense, which, in turn could lead to new ways to undermine the pathogens.”

 

Dumbass files: They’re not microbiologists, they’re just Penguins fans who eat raw catfish to celebrate title

Scott Allen of The Washington Post reports that fans took to the streets of Pittsburgh to celebrate the Penguins’ second consecutive Stanley Cup title on Sunday night, and a few of them brought catfish, which became a symbol of the runner-up Predators’ improbable postseason run.

In a tradition that dates from 2003, Nashville supporters tossed catfish onto the ice during the playoffs, and sometimes went to great lengths to smuggle the fish into the arena.

Rather than waving the seafood around in revelry like a smelly, guts-filled Terrible Towel, or, I don’t know, stomping on the bottom feeders, more than one Penguins fan was pictured devouring a raw, bloody catfish during Sunday’s celebration. Look, I get it. Deep-frying those bad boys or firing up an electric grill in the middle of a large crowd would’ve been dangerous, but besides being absolutely disgusting, consuming raw catfish doesn’t seem like the safest idea. When was the last time you saw catfish on a sushi menu?

 

Australia still has an egg problem as Salmonella cases surge in WA

West Australians are being warned to avoid eating raw or partly cooked eggs because of a surge in cases of salmonella food poisoning.

Reports of salmonella gastroenteritis are at records levels and have been linked to particular molecular types associated with eggs.

The WA Health Department said yesterday there had been 713 reported infections from salmonella typhimurium by the end of April, which was more than four times the usual number.

The infection was commonly associated with consumption of foods containing raw or under-cooked eggs.

A spokeswoman told Cathy O’Leary of The West Australian that cases of the salmonella infection had been increasing in WA since 2015 but had accelerated since late last year.

“There are two molecular subtypes, PFGE1 and PFGE43, that are currently causing most of this increase,” she said.

“Epidemiological evidence from investigations of identified localised outbreaks and a large case-control study of community cases indicates that eating raw or runny eggs is a significant cause of illness. This includes breakfast dishes containing eggs, and desserts and aioli made with raw eggs.”

Environmental investigations indicated some outbreaks had been caused by poor handling of egg products at the food manufacturing and preparation level and by consumers.

The department said that while eggs were a good source of vitamins and minerals, like many other foods they could be contaminated with bacteria, including salmonella. It was important to handle and prepare eggs safely to reduce the food poisoning risk.

 “The department recommends that people don’t use cracked or dirty eggs in raw egg dishes,” she said.

“If possible, it is best to avoid any uncooked foods or dishes that contain raw egg.

“This is because it is impossible to guarantee the safety of eating raw eggs and dishes that contain unpasteurised raw egg products.”

A selection of egg-related outbreaks in Australia can be found here.

40 sickened: Don’t eat poop and raw is risky: Poop in Puget Sound sickened customers but really hurt oystermen’s livelihood

I wonder why Marler’s FSN hasn’t reported this one.

Rob Hotakainen of the Miami Herald quotes John Hansen as saying there’s an easy explanation for why he can no longer sell his shellfish: There’s just too much poop in the waters of Puget Sound.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish. (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]

When nearly 40 people were sickened in March after eating raw oysters, the Washington state Department of Health traced the outbreak to shellfish beds along a three-mile stretch of Hammersley Inlet. It includes Hansen’s farm, South Sound Mariculture, one of 31 companies that had to shut down. States officials blamed the illnesses on norovirus, a stomach illness linked to fecal coliform pollution.

“I’m losing $10,000 a month,” said Hansen, 51, of Shelton, Washington. “I’d say the average farm is losing somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a month — and that’s not a stretch when they’re shut down.”

Shellfish farming is big business in Washington state, which ranks first in the nation in production and where 3,200 jobs are tied to the Puget Sound. And from Washington state to Washington, D.C., shellfish farmers and their allies want the government to clean up the nation’s second largest estuary and keep their operations running.

While Hansen wants local officials to do a better job of treating the water, the shellfish industry and its allies are taking their case to Congress, hoping to convince members to kill President Donald Trump’s plan to cut cleanup funding next year for the nation’s major bodies of water, including Puget Sound, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Congress’ 2018 budget remains very much in doubt, but Puget Sound advocates won a reprieve last week when lawmakers struck a deal on a $1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government running through September. The bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, includes $28 million to continue cleaning up the Sound.

Salmonella some serious shit for St Kilda midfielder Koby Stevens

St Kilda midfielder Koby Stevens says his recent bout of salmonella poisoning left him feeling the sickest he has been in his life.

Daniel Cherny of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Stevens, 25, made a belated debut for the Saints in Launceston on Saturday, starring with 28 disposals and two goals as St Kilda thumped Hawthorn by 75 points.

Traded from the Western Bulldogs at the end of last season, Stevens’ first game for his third AFL club was delayed after a dodgy meal rudely interrupted his pre-season. “I got a bit of salmonella when we were away for the last JLT series game [in Albury],” Stevens said.

“I’m not sure where or what I ate, still trying to figure that one out! I ended up in hospital for about a week and lost about eight kilos so it took me a good three weeks to get over that.”

The midfielder – who also previously played for West Coast – said the illness had taken a significant toll on his body. “I’ve never been so sick in my life,” he said.

Did Stevens have any seafood with raw egg aioli or mayo?

And if a fit Aussie rules footballer can be felled for three weeks with Salmonella, what will it do to the rest of us?

A table of Australian raw-egg-related outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-5-1-17.xlsx

21 sick with Salmonella: Australia still has an egg problem, Melbourne fairytale edition

You’ve got to be fucking kidding.

Another day, another outbreak of Salmonella traced to some Master-Chef-inspired raw egg food porn.

Paddy Naughtin of the Whitehorse Leader writes that a bad batch of eggs is being blamed for 21 people being struck down by a Salmonella outbreak believed to have been picked up at a Blackburn restaurant.

The Department of Health and Human Services and Whitehorse Council are still investigating the cause of the outbreak which affected at least 21 people who ate at the Food Republic on Blackburn Rd on March 18.

Food Republic co-owner Vanessa Lekkas said she was “genuinely distraught” for those who had been affected and was “humbled by their understanding” .

“In almost 30 years of working in the industry we’ve never seen this happen,” Ms Lekkas said.

“We get hundreds of boxes delivered each week, and it looks like one of those contained a bad batch of eggs.

“We’ve been fully transparent with the council and health authorities, and they’ve seen our food handling processes are up to scratch.

“We’ve been told the investigation is now looking at the farms where the eggs came from,” Ms Lekkas said.

Ms Lekkas said the Food Republic would no longer be serving food made with raw egg products.

Why the fuck didn’t they stop years ago?

There’s been plenty of outbreaks, plenty of publicity, but, humans being humans, they think it won’t happen to them.

I get that.

So in the interest of public health, Australians, stop serving raw egg dishes.

And food porn chefs who are food safety idiots, fuck off.

Your wellness guidelines are making people sick.

Health-types, up your game.

A selection of egg-related outbreaks in Australia can be found here.

Fall fairytale: Lawsuit filed after crypto-in-apple-cider sickened more than 100 in 2015

In Oct. 2015, fall festival revellers flocked to the Pike Country Color Drive in Pike County, Illinois, and a bunch of them were soon barfing.

Unpasteurized apple cider – a staple of the northern U.S. and Canadian fall festival circuit was blamed for causing more than 100 people to fall ill with cryptosporidiosis.

Nick Draper of My Journal Courier reports a lawsuit has now been files against several groups, including the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Barry Business Association.

Melissa Kinman of Quincy filed the civil action against Steven and Linda Yoder of Yoder Brothers Dairy Farm, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Barry Business Association. In it, she contends the Yoders were selling and offering free samples of unpasteurized cider that was tainted with Cryptosporidium.

The outbreak sickened people ranging in age from less than 1 year old to 89 years old.

Health workers from Pike and Adams counties, the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating reports of profuse or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and vomiting. Tests done in December 2015 by the CDC confirmed there was cider contaminated with Cryptosporidium.

Cider was not sold at last year’s drive after officials decided to pull the product.

A list of cider and juice-related outbreaks — 84 outbreaks leading to over 3,500 illnesses going back to 1924 – is available here.

http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Juice-related-outbreaks-11-5-15.xlsx