50 sick: Sweden investigating two salmonella outbreaks with source unknown

Joe Whitworth of Food Navigator reports Sweden is investigating two Salmonella outbreaks that have infected almost 50 people.

Authorities said they suspect both are foodborne but do not yet know the source.

Since the beginning of May, 13 cases of an unusual Salmonella type (S. Typhimurium MLVA 2-17-N-N-211) have been identified by Folkhälsomyndigheten’s (Public Health Agency’s) microbial monitoring program.

4 dead: Mashed potato machine thought to be source of Listeria contamination in Sweden

The Local reports there have been four deaths in Västra Götaland, in western Sweden, that experts have linked to listeria bacteria. 

Experts at the Centre for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskydd) stressed that all those who passed away were elderly people or affected by other illnesses. 

In other words, they said it was impossible to confirm that listeriosis, the disease caused by listeria bacteria, was responsible for the deaths. 

But the group behind the meals and the local region are not taking any chances, issuing a recall for potentially contaminated products across the region. 

The group behind the products, Food Company, released a statement with information about the items that were affected and their expiration dates. 

The items have an expiration date between May 16th and 25th.

All items – single portion, pre-cooked and chilled packet meals – contained mashed potatoes, with the company explaining that the machine that made the mash was responsible for the bacteria outbreak. 

It added that the machine has since been removed from the production factory.

Salmonella skyrockets in Swedish cats

In just two months, salmonella infection has been detected in 1,007 cats in Sweden. Never before have so many cases been discovered even for a whole year.

It is the Danish Veterinary Office, SVA, which reports the compilation of the number of infected cats. The Salmonella Mite is suspected to come from birds and the cats are infected at the birdboards.

Frecrik Israelsson of SVT reports this year differs from previous years in two ways; partly because the observed cases are so many, partly because the proportion of salmonella positive samples is so high among the suspected samples we get. Now, however, the culmination seems to be reached for this contagion season, “said Elina Lahti, epidemiologist SVA, according to SVA’s website.

Even humans and other animals can be infected with salmonella and SVA encourages those who have had contact with sick cats and birds to wash their hands. Even when handling bird tables and litter boxes, hand washing is important, according to SVA.

4 in family sick from suspected botulism in Sweden

From Pro-Med:

A total of 4 people in a family in Gothenburg suffered from botulism. For this reason,
Eldsberga chark recalls its product “Suha Bosan Point”, Smoked beef
from Bosnia in Sweden.

The meat, totalling more than 40 kg [approx. 88 lb] – with Holland as
its country of origin, – has been sold in bulk at, among other places,
the Orient House between that [7 and 20 Nov 2017]. The meat has also
been found in sandwiches sold by a baguette cafe.

Sime Trosic is the CEO of Eldsberga chark. “It’s hell that someone may
have suffered badly because of our products. I have children myself
and can hardly describe how it would feel if they floated between life
and death, ” he said.

The revocation is made “for cautionary reasons” and according to the
National Food Administration, it has not yet been established that
botulism that the 4 family members suffered from was from the beef.

The Authority continues to investigate the source of infection
together with Goteborg’s Environmental Management and Eldsberga
Chark.

“According to the Swedish Food and Drug Administration, we can work as
usual, they found no mistakes in our routines”, says Sime Trosic. He
urges customers who bought “Suha Bosan Point” during the current
period of time to return it at the place of purchase.

The 4 affected family members have been discharged from the hospital
and are improving. “I’m glad they’re on the improvement path, that’s
most important”, says Sime Trosic.

No further cases of botulism have been found.

50+sick: Norovirus in Sweden water

(Something may be lost in translation)

Thanks to our Swedish correspondent who forwarded the stories about a norovirus outbreak in Saxdalen linked to drinking water.

Anders Lindblom, Disease Prevention Officer in Dalarna, said, “Probably the cause of the stomach disorder in the Saxdalen winter calf virus (calicivirus). The virus that causes winter rheumatoid arthritis is highly contagious and spreads apart from water and food, even from person to person.”

It’s norovirus. But different countries call it different things.

Our correspondent adds, “In Saxdalen in middle Sweden, the drinking water is contaminated with norovirus. The contamination source is probably poorly maintained sewage pipe system. So far is at least 50 people (10% of the population) infected.”

Media reports note, “The stool sample we received indicates that it is calicivirus and unfortunately it will take some time to get the water approved,” says Göran Eriksson, environmental manager in Ludvika municipality.

“He tells us that the cause of the pollution is probably that a drainage pipe in very bad condition polluted the soil at a place where a drinking water pipeline had previously broken.

“Ludvika municipality still recommends people living in Saxdalen to boil the water you plan to drink and cook with.”

Sensible Swedes: Court rules coop grocery chain ‘misled’ consumers by claiming organic food safer, healthier

Kavin Senapathy of the Genetic Literacy Project writes the makers of the viral 2015 “Organic Effect” video, which claimed that switching to an all organic diet can eliminate pesticides from the body, are no longer allowed to promote the video or its claims, ruled the Swedish Patent and Market Court on July 3rd following three days of hearings in mid-May.

The Coop chain of Swedish grocery stores must not use the video or make unsubstantiated claims about organic and conventional food or pay a fine of one million Swedish Krona (about $120,000 USD). The Swedish Crop Protection Association (“Svenskt Växtskydd”), a trade association of nine Swedish crop protection companies, filed the lawsuit [in 2016], citing misleading and inaccurate advertisement.

The “Organic Effect” video … totally [omits] the crucial fact that organic farming does use pesticides, albeit different than the ones used in conventional agriculture. Even though the pesticides used in organic farming tend to be naturally derived, whether a substance is synthetic or natural in origin, in and of itself, has no bearing on its toxicity or environmental impact.

Further, as Switzerland-based biologist Iida Ruishalme pointed out at her Thoughtscapism blog, the video left out information that conflicted with the video’s shaky pro-organic assertions.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis.

See the crap below.

Seek and ye shall find: Sapovirus sickens 650 in Sweden, 2016

A foodborne outbreak of gastroenteritis with more than 650 suspected cases occurred in April 2016 in Sollentuna, Sweden. It originated in a school kitchen serving a total of 2,700 meals daily.

Initial microbiological testing (for Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica, adeno-, astro-, noro-, rota- and sapovirus) of stool samples from 15 symptomatic cases was negative, despite a clinical presentation suggestive of calicivirus.

Analyses of the findings from both the Sollentuna municipality environmental team and a web-based questionnaire suggested that the source of the outbreak was the salad buffet served on 20 April, although no specific food item could be identified.

Subsequent electron microscopic examination of stool samples followed by whole genome sequencing revealed a variant of sapovirus genogroup V. The virus was not detected using standard PCR screening. This paper describes the epidemiological outbreak investigation and findings leading to the discovery.

Investigation of a foodborne outbreak of gastroenteritis in a school canteen revealed a variant of sapovirus  genogroup V not detected by standard PCR, sollentuna, Sweden, 2016

Eurosurveillance, vol 22, issue 22, 01 June 2017, M Hergens, J Nederby Öhd, E Alm , HH Askling, S Helgesson, M Insulander, N Lagerqvist, B Svenungsson, M Tihane, T Tolfvenstam, P Follin,

http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.22.30543

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22808

 

11 kids sickened: Campy from a dairy farm visit in Sweden

In April–May 2014, an outbreak of campylobacteriosis occurred after a preschool visit to a dairy farm in the South Western part of Sweden. During the visit, a meal, including unpasteurized milk, was served.

A retrospective cohort study using a web-based questionnaire was performed among the participants (n = 30) of the farm visit. A total of 24 of the 30 (80%) cohort members completed the questionnaire. Eleven cases were identified, and Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from eight of them. Seven of the cases were 2- to 7-year-old children. We found the highest attack rates among those who usually drink milk (45%) and those who consumed unpasteurized milk during the farm visit (42%). No cases were unexposed (risk ratio incalculable).

As result of the farm investigation, Campylobacter was isolated from cattle on the farm. Genotyping with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing confirmed that human and cattle isolates of C. jejuni belonged to one cluster.

Thus, cattle on the farm are considered the source of infection, and the most likely vehicle of transmission was contaminated unpasteurized milk. We recommend consumption of heat-treated milk only and increased awareness of the risk of consuming unpasteurized milk.

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, March 2017, Lahti Elina, Rehn Moa, Ockborn Gunilla, Hansson Ingrid, Ågren Joakim, Engvall Eva Olsson, and Jernberg Cecilia, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2257.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2016.2257

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health 62:90-99, 2015

G. Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman  and D. Powell

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zph.12117/abstract?deniedAccess

Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the US caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

 

 

Campy increasing in Sweden

An unusually high number of people have been struck by Campylobacter in Sweden this winter, resulting in a less than festive combination of vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains.

vomit-birdThe number of infections usually peaks during the late summer months then drops off, but this year has yet to see a notable downward curve, Sweden’s Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) warns.

The growth coincides with an increase in campylobacter among flocks of chicken in Sweden, and fresh chicken is therefore thought to be a culprit.

 “The explanation we have right now is that we eat a lot of chicken. We eat a lot of fresh chicken, and campylobacter can be found in the fresh chicken to a certain extent,” Folkhälsomyndigheten spokesperson Britta Björkholm noted.

“If you’re not careful with your hygiene you risk coming down with it,” she added.

Between August and November 2016 twice as many cases were reported as normal, and that pattern has continued into the last month of the year.

About 100 cases are usually reported in December, but in December 2016 the number was almost 300 by the middle of the month.

“People are not being sufficiently careful about separating raw chicken from utensils and work surfaces,” Björkholm insisted.

250 sick in Sweden: Global College evacuated after gastroenteritis

At least 250 of 680 students at Global College in Sweden were sick when it was decided to close the school Wednesday.

globala-gymnasiet“We think it’s about common stomach bug. There is no connection to the school food,” said Acting Vice Chancellor Emma Frankl.

It is unclear how long it will keep the school closed. A crisis team has been set up.

“We obviously need advice from those who can assess the situation. The only thing we are certain at present is that it does not have with school meals to make, which would surely just all have suffered, says Emma Frankl.

Not quite.

But I look forward to the investigators’ response.