Scots teacher dies after contracting E. coli in Turkey

A teacher who was flown back to the UK after contracting E. coli in Turkey has died.

Caroline Hope arrived back in Glasgow last month following a crowdfunding appeal for a medical evacuation.

Her mother, Catherine Hope, confirmed she died yesterday at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Lynsey Bews of The Scotsman reports that Ms Hope, who had been living in Turkey for four years, picked up the infection during surgery to treat advanced colon cancer in June.

The 37-year-old English teacher had decided to return home to Scotland after receiving her cancer diagnosis in January but complications from the surgery left her fighting for her life in Medical Park Hospital in Izmir, Turkey.

Desperate to bring her home, her family and friends raised more than £31,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to pay for a private medical evacuation, as there are strict rules around repatriations for medical reasons.

Mrs Hope, of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, thanked everyone who contributed to the appeal and all the staff on the high dependency units at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital who cared for her daughter.

“I would just like to thank all the people who put money in towards bringing Caroline home,” she said.

 

Noro is serious shit: Hotel housing athletes in world-class fail

As the world seemingly lurches to World War III, I’m reminded it’s the little things that add up.

Especially compensating for little hands.

BBC Sport and CNN report that Botswana’s Isaac Makwala has withdrawn from the 400m final, “due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF Medical Delegate (Rule 113).”

Public Health England says 30 athletes and support staff have been affected by sickness at the Tower Hotel in London.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said Makwala withdrew from Monday’s 200m heats “due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF medical delegate.”

He admitted to vomiting before the heats, but said he was not tested.

“I could have run. I did my warm up well and I was ready to run. I feel ready to run today, tonight,” he said.

Several German and Canadian athletes staying at the Tower Hotel fell ill last week.

A further 30 Germans due to arrive on Tuesday will be moved to other hotels.

German triple jumper Neele Eckhardt collapsed but was well enough to compete on Saturday, and took part in Monday’s final.

The Ireland team, who are also staying at the hotel, have confirmed that one athlete – 400m hurdler Thomas Barr – has been affected.

The Tower Hotel said investigations conducted with environmental health officers and the IAAF had shown the hotel was “not the source of the illness”. That has also been confirmed by Public Health England.

Ireland’s Thomas Barr withdrew from the 400m semifinals, while German and Canadian athletes also staying at The Tower Hotel near Tower Bridge have reportedly been affected too.

In a statement to CNN, Dr Deborah Turbitt, Public Health England (PHE) London deputy director for health protection, said: “We have so far been made aware of approximately 30 people reporting illness and two of these cases have been confirmed as norovirus by laboratory testing.

“PHE has been working closely with British Athletics and the hotel to provide infection control advice to limit the spread of illness.”

Public Health England said most peopled made a full recovery from the illness — often caught through close contact with someone carrying the virus or by touching contaminated surfaces — within one or two days without treatment.

A spokesperson for The Tower Hotel told CNN it was “not the source of the illness,” and that “We have followed strict hygiene protocol, ensuring that those affected are not in contact with other guests and all public areas have been thoroughly sanitized.

Uh-huh.

Rare chicken hooks UK food porn-types, the country that gave the world mushy peas and mad cow disease: It’s a Salmonella/Campy shit-storm waiting to happen

Just when you thought you’d seen every possible bizarre foodie trend on Instagram, a truly stomach-churning craze comes along to surprise you.

Siofra Brennan of the Daily Mail writes people have been sharing images of their ‘juicy and tender’ meals of medium rare chicken, claiming it’s the best possible way to enjoy the meat, but their claims certainly haven’t gone down well with the masses. 

People have described the craze as ‘salmonella waiting to happen’ with one stating that there’s a ‘special place reserved in hell’ for people who don’t cook their chicken properly. 

However, fans are absolutely insistent that it’s the best way to eat the poultry with one declaring that if you’re not having your chicken medium rare, ‘you’re doing it wrong’.  

People seem particularly keen to find out what firebrand chef Gordon Ramsay thinks of the debacle, frantically tweeting him images of the offending dishes to get his opinion.

His thoughts remain, as yet, unknown.  

(Who gives a fuck?)

Earlier this year Australian Morgan Jane Gibbs found worldwide notoriety with a Facebook snap of a plateful of very pink pieces of chicken with the caption: ‘Just made chicken medium rare chicken strips.

‘They’re so good can’t believe I’ve never tried it like this before,’ she said. 

‘Can’t wait to dig into this with my homemade salad and veges. #healthy #newyearsresolution #clean #cleaneating’

Unsurprisingly the post has gained notoriety online as people tried to figure out if Ms Gibbs is being serious with her nauseating dish.

While the post by Ms Gibbs was most likely a joke, the image itself was of a legitimate dish, origination from a blog promoting tourism in the Japanese region of Shizuoka and the recipe for chicken tataki; chicken seared over hot coals and served raw.

Chicken sashimi is another Japanese dish where the bird is served raw, chefs manage to avoid the issue of pesky food poisoning by serving the meat as fresh as possible and raising the chickens in a hygienic environment.

That’s some microbiological poultry manure (check your organic garden).

To avoid the risk of food poisoning, the NHS recommends that chicken must be cooked through so that the meat is ‘no longer pink, the juices run clear and it’s steaming hot throughout.’ 

No wonder the UK is messed up about chicken, the government-types can’t get advice right.

Use a thermometer and stick it in.

Thermometers, cats and the UK Food Standards Agency: Piping hot for the world?

I watched our veterinarian stick a thermometer into the ass of our cat(s) the other day while they were getting vaccinated for feline immunodeficiency virus (because they’ve now become outside roaming cats).

They didn’t care.

The UK Food Standards Agency is bragging that one of its own, Steve Wearne, got elected to the Codex Alimentarius Commission as vice-chair.

That’s an impressive bureaucratic achievement.

UK Food Minister George Eustice bubbled that, “The appointment of Steve Wearne to this important leadership role is testament to the strength and reputation of the UK’s food quality and safety standards. 

“This is a great opportunity to bring the UK’s renowned expertise to the table as the committee continues to pioneer global policy for food safety – increasing consumer confidence in the food we eat around the world.”

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the FSA said: ‘Steve’s appointment is a real vote of confidence in the UK’s leadership in modern, accountable food regulation. I’m delighted that he and the FSA will be taking such a significant role in setting the standards for food globally.’

I’m not.

This is an agency that ignores science and continues to tell consumers to cook things until they are piping hot, apparently because consumers are too low on the British caste system to understand how a thermometer works.

My cats know how thermometers work.

Have you ever vomited so violently your bladder exploded? This UK woman did, and blames dodgy seafood

Lewis Pennock of the Mirror reports a 46-year-old woman vomited so violently her bladder exploded in a horrific case of food poisoning.

The woman, who had eaten dodgy seafood, was rushed to hospital after spending all night being sick until her condition deteriorated to the point her bladder ruptured.

A serving of gone-off seafood is thought to have left the woman with severe food poisoning, before her symptoms spiralled.

Surgeons who inspected the damage found a 3cm tear in the organ, a report in the British Medical Journal said, which is an incredibly rare side effect of vomiting.

The BMJ Case Report, authored by four medics from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the extreme injury was a “rare” reaction.

The unnamed woman, thought to be from Watford, had been eating dinner in a restaurant when she fell ill with food poisoning and began to vomit.

She went home but began to feel worse – and the vomiting became so intense her bladder was ruptured.

She decided to seek medical attention when the frequency and intensity of the vomiting caused her to bleed heavily from her vagina, experts said.

The woman, who had no history of a weakened bladder, was unable to go to the toilet despite having a full bladder.

The BMJ report said: “Spontaneous bladder rupture is a rare entity, with very few reports in the literature.”

It added: “This unusual case is important, as it has demonstrated that even normal, healthy bladders may rupture during episodes of high intra-abdominal pressure.”

UK woman embraces life after Campylobacter infection forces her to wear two stoma bags

Rachel Jury, 30, is determined to show how users can still live life to the full despite the two stoma bags she is forced to wear after food poisoning from cooked chicken nine years ago triggered a long-term health condition.

Tara Russell of the Daily Echo reports Jury’s rare condition, autonomic neuropathy, has left her bowel and bladder both failing and she has endured years of ill health including frequent bouts of sepsis and even cardiac arrest as a result.

However she is grateful to the two bags for saving her life – a urostomy bag for diverting urine from the body and an ileostomy bag for faeces nicknamed Squirt and Bob. Now she has launched a social media campaign calling on others to share pictures proudly flaunting their bags to reduce taboos and stigma.

Rachel, from Boscombe, who has created a poster of the pictures, said: “We have bravely bared all to raise awareness and knowledge of stoma bags but especially urostomies because there is a lack of awareness and knowledge among the general public and medical professions about them. We are often the forgotten group of the stoma family.

“We want to show you can still live a life and love your body. I want to help others celebrate their bodies no matter what they look like.

“We are beautiful, we are brave, we are warriors, we are survivors of our diseases.”

The former radiotherapy student believes a bad case of food poisoning may have triggered her condition nine years ago.

She explained: “I contracted campylobacteriosis from already cooked chicken purchased in a well-known supermarket chain.

“Little did I know then that this moment would be the catalyst that triggered a chain reaction of multiple organ systems failing. From that day onwards my life would never be the same again.

“Having a stoma bag can cause huge struggles with body image and they can be a taboo. I used to hide under dark baggy clothes but I realised they are something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They are part of us though and we wouldn’t be here without our bags.

“I feel like I’ve been through a lot but I feel I want to turn the negative into something positive.

“I am proud of the body that has kept me alive and I want to urge others to not be ashamed.

“I live one day at a time. I don’t know how long I have but I will live each day to the maximum and if I help one person I will have done my job.”

For information go to Rachel’s blog rocking2stomas.co.uk

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?

31 sickened by E. coli O55 in Dorset: 3 years later, health-types’ report remains a secret

In Dec. 2014, an outbreak of E. coli O55 was identified in Dorset, U.K. with at least 31 sickened. Public Health England (PHE) and local environmental health officials investigated and found nothing, other than cats were also being affected.

Tara Russell of Bournemouth Echo reports again this week that a review into the outbreak in Dorset was carried out, health chiefs have insisted – but the report is not available to the public.

Public Health England (PHE) says the public can only request to see the report detailing exactly what happened when 31 people contracted the O55 strain between July 2014 and November 2015 through a Freedom of Information request.

Families including some whose children have been left with lifelong health complications say they did not know the review existed and have branded it ‘disappointing and disgusting’ they have been kept in the dark.

The Daily Echo has lodged an official FOI request on behalf of the affected families and will receive a response in July.

Nurse Jessica Archer, who today suffers crippling head pains, fatigue and depression while her nephew Isaac Mortlock (right) endures severe seizures, must be peg fed every night and will need a kidney transplant as a result of the outbreak, said: “Without the Daily Echo we wouldn’t even know this report even existed and we are very interested to see it and we have the right to know. The families affected have so many unanswered questions and have to live with the effects of this outbreak forever but yet again we feel Public Health England are trying to sweep it under the carpet and hope that it will just go away.

“It is disappointing and disgusting this report has not already been made public let alone having to wait and wait still. We feel there have been a series of failures and this is the latest.”

The news comes after Jessica last month called for PHE to be held to account telling how her and her five-year-old nephew’s Isaac Mortlock’s lives have changed irreversibly, and accused the organisation of ‘a cover up.’

In response, PHE told the Daily Echo it carries out ‘routine outbreak reviews once investigations have ended’, adding it is ‘a learning organisation and reflects on outbreaks to identify lessons learnt and to continually improve our response.’

However at the time, the organisation refused to tell the Daily Echo exactly which lessons were learned.

It was only following a further request from this newspaper, PHE said a report was compiled however it has not been available to the public.

A spokesman said: “This report was not intended for external publication – it’s not standard procedure to publish outbreak reports externally due to patient confidentiality – however if interested parties would like to request a copy they can do this via our Freedom of Information portal.”

That’s bullshit.

Outbreak investigations are routinely published while ensuring patient confidentiality.

Families say it is the latest in a string of ‘failures’ by Public Health England.

A spokesman from PHE added: “As with all outbreaks, PHE Health Protection Team ensured throughout their investigation that those affected were kept informed of any information that was uncovered at that time.”

That’s also bullshit.

And why UK health types feature prominently in our paper on when to go public for the benefit of public health.

Three years seems a bit long.

Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

Mar.17

NEHA, Volume 79.7, Pages 8-14

Benjamin Chapman, Maria Sol Erdozaim, Douglas Powell

http://www.neha.org/node/58904

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness, there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk prior to notifying the public. During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public.

Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly, health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions.

Information provision on its own is not enough. Risk communication, to be effective and grounded in behavior theory, should provide control measure options for risk management decisions. There is no indication in the literature that consumers benefit from paternalistic protection decisions to guard against information overload. A review of the risk communication literature related to outbreaks, as well as case studies of actual incidents, are explored and a blueprint for health authorities to follow is provided.

Cooking pork to control Hep E: Use a fucking thermometer

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture very publicly began to urge consumers to use an accurate food thermometer when cooking ground beef patties because research demonstrated that the color of meat is not a reliable indicator of safety.

USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety at the time, Catherine Woteki, said, “Consumers need to know that the only way to be sure a ground beef patty is cooked to a high enough temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present is to use a thermometer.”

At the time, I said, no one uses a meat thermometer to check the doneness of hamburgers. The idea of picking up a hamburger patty with tongs and inserting the thermometer in sideways was too much effort (others insist the best way to use a tip sensitive digital thermometer is to insert into the middle of the patty at a 45 degree angle).

I was wrong.

Shortly thereafter, I started doing it and discovered, not only was using a meat thermometer fairly easy, it made me a better cook. No more extra well-done burgers to ensure the bugs that would make me sick were gone. They tasted better.

By May 2000, USDA launched a national consumer campaign to promote the use of food thermometers in the home. The campaign featured an infantile mascot called Thermy that proclaimed, “It’s Safe to Bite When the Temperature is Right.”

Seventeen years later, the converts are minimal. Canada came to the thermometer table a few years ago,  Australia is doing a slow policy creep, but the UK is still firmly committed to piping hot.

The UK Food Standards Agency recently published the sixth, chief scientific adviser’s Science Report, entitled Data Science. No mention of thermometers except to determine refrigerator temperatures or included as packing on food.

Science-based policy depends on whose science is being quoted to what ends. The fancy folks call it value judgments in risk assessments; Kevin Spacey in the TV series House of Cards would call it personal advancement.

So last week, when UK media reports dubbed Hepatitis E the Brexit virus, with the potential for 60,000 Brits to fall sick annually from EU pork, the UK Food Standards Agency once again reiterated how fucking unscientific they are.

“Following media reports this morning we wanted to remind consumers of our advice about cooking pork thoroughly. We always advise that whole cuts of pork, pork products and offal should be thoroughly cooked until steaming hot throughout, the meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.”

The National Pig Association — it’s a thing, “recommends that consumers follow the advice from the Food Standards Agency that pork and sausages should be cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout, with no pink or red in the centre, to greatly reduce the risk of infection.”

Back to science instead of a rainbow fairy tale on safe cooking procedures, in May 2011, USDA recommended pork, and all whole meat cuts, only have to get to 145 degrees internally, not the 160 the agency had previously suggested, followed by a 3-minute rest.

The U.S. pork board for years promoted pork be cooked with a “hint of pink.”

This has more to do with breeding efforts to produce leaner pork.

But HEV is a different beast.

Public Health England reported the number of severe cases has almost trebled since 2010, with 1,244 reported in 2016, compared with 368 six years earlier.

The virus causes a flu-like illness and in severe circumstances, could cause death.

This strain has been linked to pig farms in France, Holland, Germany and Denmark and is only killed in meat if people cook it for longer than usual.

Dr Harry Dalton, a gastroenterologist at Exeter University, told a conference on neurological infectious diseases HEV had become a major threat and that no one should eat pink pork and that pregnant women and transplant patients should not eat pork at all.

He also said the virus is heat resistant and survives being cooked until the meat is heated to above 71C (160F) for two minutes.

Looks like some research is required, not that the Brits would change their no pink policy. Maybe they’re homophoblic.

With Memorial Day on Monday in the U.S. and a bank holiday Monday in the U.K., whatever that is, USDA yesterday once again stated, “The best and only way to make sure bacteria have been killed and food is safe to eat is by cooking it to the correct internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer.”

Recent research by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that only 34 percent of the public use a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers – and that’s self-reported, people lie on surveys.

Use a fucking thermometer and stick it in.

(If you don’t like profanity, don’t read, but if you want to read, your IT censors may figure you can’t handle such dreadful language, and messages are getting blocked. You may want to have a word with your IT folks.)