Proper handwashing requires proper tools: Soap vs. COVID-19

I don’t like the militarization of terms to discuss foodborne or other bugs. The bugs are there, be cool, take steps to reduce risk.

UNSW academics have released a 3D visualisation of soap destroying the coronavirus to remind Australians that simply washing your hands can help stem the pandemic.

(There is nothing simple about handwashing when almost all public restrooms contain blow-dryers instead of paper towels and have controlled water flow rates that would dislodge nothing. It is the friction that helps reduce microbial loads on hands, which is why hospitals are over-flowing with paper towel dispensers.)

Soap counts too.

There’s too much self-aggrandizing in the PR piece, below, but it has pretty pictures.

This scientifically accurate simulation — a collaboration between UNSW Art & Design and UNSW Science — shows soap acting on contaminated skin covered with tiny coronavirus particles.

“With the threat of the second wave upon us, simple hygiene is something everyone can do to prevent the spread of the virus,” UNSW Science’s Professor Pall Thordarson said.

“Soap can destroy the virus on your skin.”

The simulation uses a cinematic approach and evocative animation to deliver a message that’s accessible to adults and children.

“One of the very few pieces of good news about this virus is that it’s actually very fragile — if you wash your hands with soap, the whole virus basically collapses like a house of cards,” Professor Thordarson said.

The simulation was created by UNSW’s 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab, which explores arts- and design-led visualisations of complex scientific and biomedical data. The Lab creates immersive platforms that play out scientific phenomena, such as drug interactions with cancerous cells or interactive personalised scans of strokes to help patients understand their treatment.

“3D visualisations make complex science comprehensible. The creative industries are in a unique position to be able to offer these kinds of innovative educational simulations,” said Associate Professor John McGhee who created the simulation with UNSW 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab post-doctoral researcher Dr Andrew Lilja.

What is deep cleaning and how does it work?

It’s a phrase that is bandied about whenever there is an outbreak of foodborne or other microbiological thingies: We didn’t just clean, we did a deep clean.

Sexual connotations aside, what does a deep clean actually mean?

Andrew Brown of The Canberra Times had a go at the subject of deep clean.

While cleaning normally focuses on removing visible signs of mess through vacuuming, dusting and wiping things down, deep cleaning goes one step further.

Deep cleaning involves the use of disinfectant and other chemicals to remove any traces of germs and viruses, including coronavirus.

Part of deep cleaning also involves wiping down every surface in a venue, regardless of whether it has come into direct contact with an infected person or not.

A particular focus is high-frequency touch points, such as light switches, door handles, taps and areas like computer terminals or communal kitchens in office spaces. While high-grade disinfectants are used as part of deep cleaning, other chemicals can also help to remove traces of the virus.

Anthony Bailey, ACT Education Directorate senior director of school cleaning services, said a fine-mist spray was also used as part of deep cleaning efforts in Canberra schools.

“With the fine-mist spray, the chemical settles in areas you can’t normally reach,” Mr Bailey said.

“It’s unlikely people are touching those surfaces, but it’s all about elimination.

One of the ACT’s schools, Lyneham High School, required deep cleaning in March after a student attended the campus while potentially contagious with coronavirus.

Mr Bailey said swab tests of surfaces for traces of coronavirus were also carried out before students and staff members could re-enter the school.

One of the main ways coronavirus has been able to spread is through being picked up by humans after they come into contact with the virus on surfaces. Research is being carried out in a number of places on how long exactly the virus can linger on surfaces and lead to further infections.

Early findings have determined strains of COVID-19 can stay alive for several hours or even days, depending on the type of surface it lands on.

According to a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus can last for four hours on copper surfaces, while it can stay on cardboard or paper for 24 hours and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

A similar study published in The Lancet had slightly different findings, with the virus lasting for three hours on tissue paper, while traces were still detected on cloth and wooden materials for two days.

Associate professor at the Australian National University medical school, Sanjaya Senanayake, said the Lancet study also found the virus could stay on surfaces such as surgical masks for up to one week after they were worn.

“The two studies were slightly different in the types of materials that were used, but clearly the virus can survive on surfaces for some time,” associate professor Senanayake said.

“Maybe after half an hour on a surface, there’s a lot more virus on it, and therefore people are more likely to be infected if they come into contact.

“By the seventh day, the virus might still be around on surfaces, but may not be enough to cause an infection.”

At its core, deep cleaning is about attacking the virus at every possible location it could be in a building.

However, for a virus that’s devastated nations around the world and locked down cities across Australia, associate professor Senanayake said COVID-19 was remarkably easy to kill.

“It’s an enveloped virus, meaning it’s got an outer covering and it’s very susceptible to things,” he said.

“Despite it being this terrible thing that’s caused a pandemic, it’s easy to kill with things like standard detergents as well as soap and water.”

Using things like detergents might be enough to kill off the virus, but associate professor Senanayake said using just disinfectant or chemicals on their own might not have the desired effect.

“If you put just disinfectant on those areas, some of the virus particles might be able to hide,” he said.

“Surfaces should be cleaned with detergent first and then disinfected after that with something like 70 per cent alcohol or bleach.”

It should also be noted that any cleaning of surfaces suspected of having traces of coronavirus should be done with personal protection, such as a mask.

Rotten chicken supplier in Jordan turns himself in

Seven people were arrested in relation to the second mass food poisoning incident in Ain al-Basha.

The owner of the restaurant and six of his employees were charged with four offences — causing harm, handling food in unsuitable conditions that made it harmful to human health, handling food that is not safe for human consumption and practicing a craft that causes harm.

The seven individuals will be detained for one week at Al-Balqa Reform and Rehabilitation Center (nice name — dp).

The death of a forty-year-old man, two days after the death of a child, after more than 800 people were exposed to food poisoning for eating contaminatedShawarma meals from a restaurant in the Al-Baqa’a area, northwest of Amman.

The official “Kingdom” television quoted the Minister of Health, Saad Jaber, as announcing the ministry’s registration, “a second death from the mass poisoning incident in al-Baq’a.”

The Ministry of Health announced in a statement last Wednesday that a 5-year-old child had died in hospital due to food poisoning.

“The laboratory tests … showed the presence of bacterial contamination in meat and chicken with the ‘Intercoxis Vials’ and’ Campylobacter” bacterium, “the ministry said.

And the official “Kingdom” television quoted the assistant secretary general for primary health care in the ministry, Adnan Ishaq, as saying that “the failure to cool poultry has spoiled the food and caused poisoning.”

Dunkin’ Donuts worker arrested after Illinois officer finds ‘mucus’ in coffee

A Dunkin’ Donuts worker has been arrested after an Illinois State Police officer discovered a “large, thick piece of mucus which was later confirmed to be saliva” in his coffee, authorities said.

The incident took place at 10:20 p.m. on July 30 when an Illinois State Police (ISP) District Chicago trooper purchased a large black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts on Archer Avenue in Chicago, ABC News reported.

“Due to the coffee being extremely hot, the Trooper removed the lid from the top of the cup to cool it down,” the Illinois State Police said in a statement.

It was at that moment when the officer discovered the saliva floating in his cup.

The ISP immediately opened an investigation into the incident, which concluded with the arrest of Vincent J. Sessler, a 25-year-old Dunkin’ Donuts employee.

Stick it in: Kevin McHale accidentally gives boyfriend Austin McKenzie Salmonella

My partner and American/Australian daughter have taken to watching reruns of the television show, Glee, during or after dinner.

Who knew there would ever be a food safety connection?

Turns out 32-year-old Glee alum Kevin McHale amusingly shared a series of tweets on Saturday night (August 1) in which he revealed that he accidentally gave his boyfriend Austin McKenzie salmonella due to his cooking.

“But have you undercooked chicken sausage (unintentionally) and then served it to your bf and then he got superrrrr sick and you thought it was covid and you got tested twice but nah you just fed him salmonella? He should break up with me. I would,” he tweeted.

When told that Austin needs to take his phone away, Kevin then added: “He’s asleep because I poisoned him!”

He then tweeted “Omg” when he realized that Austin hilariously changed his profile bio to: “I left Twitter many years ago. I’m back on now to monitor my thirsty boyfriend, Kevin Mchale, who ‘accidentally’ gave me salmonella 5 days ago.”

Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer. Any fans of McHale should mail him one (if the U.S. Postal Service still exists).

Over 500 sick from Salmonella in onions in Canada and US

I got weepy just thinking about Salmonella Newport in raw onions.

The initial public fingering of red onions from Thomson International Inc.of Bakersfield, California, was done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Subsequently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  announced they were investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that had a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak.

In Canada, as of August 2, 2020, there have been 120 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (43), Alberta (56), Saskatchewan (4), Manitoba (13), Ontario (2), Quebec (1) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and mid-July 2020. Seventeen individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 3 and 100 years of age. The majority of cases (56%) are female.

CFIA’s advice is do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc., Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions. This advice applies to all individuals across Canada, as well as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes.

Onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

On August 1, 2020, in the U.S., Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 to present.

Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

As of Aug. 3, FDA reported 396 illnesses in the U.S.

The onions were distributed in 5 lbs. carton. 10 lbs. carton. 25 lbs. carton. 40 lbs. carton, 50 lbs. carton. bulk, 2 lb. mesh sacks, and 3 lb. mesh sacks, 5 lb. mesh sacks, 10 lb. mesh sacks 25 lbs. mesh sacks, 50 lbs. mesh sacks under the brand names Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions and Food Lion.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Salmonella and Army use of low-moisture foods

Non-typhoidal Salmonella is a foodborne pathogen that has one of the highest incidences of hospitalizations and deaths. The foodborne illness symptoms can include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The high incidence of foodborne illness coupled with a large number of outbreaks in commercial low moisture foods LMF such as peanut butter prompted Army researchers to investigate S. enterica survivability in LMF rations.

The majority of LMF are not cooked prior to consumption so contamination at the time of manufacture could lead to illness when consumed by the soldier. In addition, military rations are prepositioned and can be stored for up to 3 years at various climate conditions therefore, this study evaluated various storage temperatures to simulate conditions in the field. LMF products in this study were chosen based on categories outlined by Institute of Food Safety and Health peanut butter, mocha desert bar, dehydrated egg, chocolate protein drink and cran-raspberry first strike bar.

Previous studies identified potential synergistic effect on S. enterica survival in high fat, low water activity foods such as peanut butter. This experiment expanded on these predictions and evaluated foods with varying compositions which undergo unique storage requirements prior to consumption.

Survival of salmonella enterica in low moisture military ration products

Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center

Flock,Genevieve,  Richardson,MichellePacitto,DominiqueCowell,CourtneyAnderson,NateMarek,PatrickSenecal,Andy

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/AD1100853

03 June 2020

Whistling in the dark: Media and science citations

I was talking to an emergency room doc for a few hours a couple of  Saturdays ago – about two of those hours involved him stitching up my sliced ear from another fall – and he told me his hobbies were macro may and needlework.

I told him it’s good to be good at what you do.

The association between mention of scientific research in popular media (e.g., the mainstream media or social media platforms) and scientific impact (e.g., citations) has yet to be fully explored. The purpose of this study was to clarify this relationship, while accounting for some other factors that likely influence scientific impact (e.g., the reputations of the scientists conducting the research and academic journal in which the research was published). To accomplish this purpose, approximately 800 peer-reviewed articles describing original research were evaluated for scientific impact, popular media attention, and reputations of the scientists/authors and publication venue. A structural equation model was produced describing the relationship between non-scientific impact (popular media) and scientific impact (citations), while accounting for author/scientist and journal reputation.

The resulting model revealed a strong association between the amount of popular media attention given to a scientific research project and corresponding publication and the number of times that publication is cited in peer-reviewed scientific literature. These results indicate that (1) peer-reviewed scientific publications receiving more attention in non-scientific media are more likely to be cited than scientific publications receiving less popular media attention, and (2) the non-scientific media is associated with the scientific agenda.

These results may inform scientists who increasingly use popular media to inform the general public and scientists concerning their scientific work. These results might also inform administrators of higher education and research funding mechanisms, who base decisions partly on scientific impact.

A case study exploring associations between popular media attention of scientific research and scientific citations, 01 July 2020

PLOS One

Sage Anderson, Aubrey R. Odom, Hunter M. Gray, Jordan B. Jones, William F. Christensen, Todd Hollingshead, Joseph G. Hadfield, Alyssa Evans-Pickett, Megan Frost, Christopher Wilson, Lance E. Davidson, Matthew K. Seeley

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234912

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0234912

Norovirus on planes

Human norovirus (HuNoV) is one of the leading causes of acute gastroenteritis globally. HuNoV outbreaks have been recently reported during air travels. Contaminated surfaces are known as a critical transmission route at various settings. The aim of this study was to provide key information about the survival and the decontamination of HuNoV on three commonly touched airplane cabin surfaces.

In this study, we monitored the survival of HuNoV on seat leather, plastic tray table, and seatbelt for 30 days, with and without additional organic load (simulated gastric fluid). The efficacy of two EPA registered anti-norovirus disinfectants were also evaluated. Results showed that HuNoV was detected at high titers (>4 log10 genomic copy number) for up to 30 days when additional organic load was present. Both tested disinfectants were found highly ineffective against HuNoV when the surface was soiled. The study showed that when the organic load was present, HuNoV was highly stable and resistant against disinfectants.

Findings from this study indicated that appropriate procedures should be developed by airline companies with the help of public health authorities to decrease passengers’ exposure risk to HuNoV.

Survival and inactivation of human norovirus GII.4 Sydney on commonly touched airplane cabin surfaces

Public Health 29 July 2020

Dorra Djebbi-Simmons, Mohammed Alhejaili, Marlene Janes, Joan King and Wenqing Xu*

DOI: 10.3934/publichealth.2020046

https://www.aimspress.com/fileOther/PDF/aimsph/publichealth-07-03-046.pdf

One child dead, 700 sick due to mass food poisoning in Jordan restaurant

Joanne Serrieh of Alarabiya reports a five-year-old child is dead and 700 other people have been hospitalized in Jordan with mass food poisoning after eating shawarma at a restaurant in the town of Ain al-Basha, north of the capital Amman, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.

Investigations revealed that the meat and chicken shawarma had been prepared without using a refrigeration unit in an “unhealthy environment and without adhering to the health requirements and the minimum levels of general safety,” the official Jordan News Agency reported citing a ministry press release.

Laboratory tests also found that bacteria in meat and poultry products at the restaurant, according to the ministry’s statement.

The restaurant was immediately shut down following investigations and the restaurant owner is in police custody, AFP reported citing local media.