Dreams are weird, so is the brain

I had this dream, where I was coaching  ice hockey in Brisbane for a few hours, helping do evaluations of kids – male and female – and running them through drills.

As the kids got changed and the girls were mixed in with the boys, I explained we had enough girls in Guelph (that’s in Ontario, Canada) that they had their own league, and as a coach, I wouldn’t go into the dressing room until they were all dressed, and after the game would debrief for a couple of minutes, and then say good bye outside.

After 3 hours of on-ice training I said I’m going home for an hour and would be back in an hour.

I started to put on my street clothes, realized it was dark outside, looked at my iPhone and saw it was 2 a.m.

I miss coaching, but my brain is doing too many weird things.

And in real-life I fall a lot.

I’d post this to my other blog, but what’s left of my identity that I can remember is barfblog.com.

Tangled up in blue: Finding food safety purpose

I used to write up the U.S. Centers of Disease Control with the enthusiasm of a teenage going on a date.

It was current, it was confident and it was cool.

Now, not so much.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m tired of watching Salmonella and other foodborne illnesses flatline, even if a Senator brings a day-old bucket of KFC into a hearing to make some sort of metaphorical point.

I’ll say the same thing I say every year: the numbers aren’t changing because the interventions are in the wrong place.

When national organizations go agenst the World Health Organization and don’t mention on-farm food safety, then they’re missing the source.

According to Food Business News, illness was more prevalent in 2018, according to preliminary surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) and Prevention. Incidents of Campylobacter, Salmonella and Cyclospora infections increased last year, according to FoodNet 2018 preliminary data released by the C.D.C. The increases were due, in part, to more infections being diagnosed using culture-independent diagnostic tests (C.I.D.T.s), but the C.D.C. noted the possibility that the number of infections actually is increasing.

Campylobacter infections were the commonly identified infection in FoodNet sites since 2013 with poultry being the major source of infection.  More infections are being diagnosed, the C.D.C. said, because more laboratories use C.I.D.T.s to detect Campylobacterand other pathogens. C.I.D.T.s detect the presence of a specific genetic sequence of an organism. The tests produce results more rapidly because they do not require isolation and identification of living organisms.

Reducing Campylobacter infections will require more knowledge of how case patients are becoming infected, the C.D.C. said. The pathogen can contaminate raw chicken or poultry juices, and cross-contamination can impact hands, other foods or kitchen equipment.

“Focusing on interventions throughout the food production chain that reduce Campylobacter bacteria in chicken could lead to fewer illnesses in people,” the C.D.C. said. “Whole genome sequencing might help us figure out the contribution of various sources and help target interventions.”

Salmonella infections, the second most common infection, also appear to be increasing, according to the preliminary report. The most common Salmonella serotypes were Enteritidis, Newport and Typhimurium. Additionally, Enteritidis infections are not decreasing despite regulatory programs aimed at reducing Salmonella in poultry and eggs.

 

‘Basically rotting alive’: Family shocked by massive bedsore threatening man’s life

When I spent my summer of 1982 in jail for killing two people in a car crash, I spent a couple of months teaching other inmates basic reading – from kindergarten level on up – and then spent a couple of months working the day shift at Participation House in Brantford, cleaning up patient’s shit.

When I got out of jail and went back to uni — on parole — I spent my weekends working at Participation House in Kitchener.

Typically, I’d work 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday, sleep in the office apartment or with some local girl, then work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, and then hitchhike back home to Guelph.

This is how quadriplegics empty their bowels: I would insert a suppository, chat with the dude or dudess for 20 minutes, then the poop would start flowing and I’d clean it up.

It was humbling work.

And we always worried about bedsores.

For months, Linda Moss and her two sisters took shifts at their father’s bedsides.

But while they sat and held his hand nearly every day, an unseen wound festered beneath his bed sheets.

(I’m not dying — yet —  but have made a special request for my wife to hold my hand; she’s not interested)

A bedsore had been silently forming on Bob Wilson’s backside, eating away at his flesh until it left a gaping hole bigger than a football.

Bedsores seriously under-reported, health-care experts say

Expert says pressure injuries such as bedsores are preventable

“We couldn’t believe what we saw,” Moss said.

“It was black, dead, rotted skin. He was basically rotting alive, and we had no idea.”

Eric Vandewall, president of Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, located about 60 kilometres southwest of Toronto, said he personally apologized to Wilson and his family for what happened, and staff are investigating.

“We are currently conducting a comprehensive and thorough review of Mr. Wilson’s care while he was at Joseph Brant Hospital and we will hold further meetings with Mr. Wilson’s family to share and discuss the results of our review,” he said.

‘It’s to the bone, and it’s pretty horrific’

Wilson, who is 77, fell in November and suffered a brain injury.

“It’s devastating,” said Moss. “It’s torture, and we felt a sense of guilt, because if [we’d known], we could have helped turn him, or something.

“What baffles us is how could a medical team and several people … put a Band-Aid over black, dead, rotted skin and not raise the flag?”

Vandewall said the hospital’s routine for immobile patients includes turning them daily and checking for pressure ulcers.

Um, we did that 40 years ago.

 

Peeing in pools: Survey says half of Americans use swimming pools as communal bathtubs

Quixem Ramierz of KTXS writes that a lot of people pee in swimming pools.

I was one of them one of them.

A new survey finds more than half of Americans (51 percent) use swimming pools as a communal bathtub– either swimming as a substitute for showering or using the pool to rinse off after exercise or yardwork. And, still, Americans knowingly make pools dirty despite nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents saying pool chemicals do not eliminate the need to shower before swimming.

“When dirt, sweat, personal care products, and other things on our bodies react with chlorine, there is less chlorine available to kill germs,” said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council. “Rinsing off for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt, sweat, or anything else on your body.”

The survey revealed 40 percent of Americans admit they have peed in the pool as an adult. Peeing in the pool reacts with chlorine and reduces the amount of chlorine available to kill germs.

“The bottom line is: Don’t pee in the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming program. “Swimming is a great way to be physically active and not peeing in the pool is a key healthy swimming step.”

FDA announces tattoo ink recalls due to microorganism contamination

There have been a few times in my life that I thought about getting a tattoo. When I was doing my undergrad in molecular biology and genetics, I often talked about getting a double helix on my shoulder. I didn’t.

More recently I’ve thought about getting a digital thermometer on each of my forearms. I haven’t yet.

FDA’s announcement of multiple tattoo inks contaminated with microbes has caused me to take pause again. But, like with food recalls I’m left with as many questions than answers: what microbes? How did they get contaminated? Is this a GMP issue? 

The FDA has become aware of contaminated tattoo inks through its FY2018-2019 inspections of distributors and manufacturers, routine surveys of marketed tattoo inks, and subsequent microbiological analysis of sampled tattoo inks. The FDA has identified 6 tattoo inks contaminated with bacteria harmful to human health. The tattoo inks were manufactured or distributed by 4 firms inspected under an ongoing assignment.

The following tattoo inks have been recalled because they are contaminated with microorganisms:

Scalpaink SC, Scalpaink PA, and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics (all lots)
Dynamic Color – Black tattoo ink manufactured by Dynamic Color Inc  (lots 12024090 and 12026090)
Solid Ink-Diablo (red) tattoo ink manufactured by Color Art Inc. (dba Solid Ink) (dba Antone’s Ink) (lot 10.19.18)

 

FDA seeking source of imported melons in Salmonella outbreak

When Listeria killed seven people in Australia last year, linked to rockmelon (cantaloupe for you North American types) growers acted like it never happened before and just wanted to get product back on shelves.

They should never be cut in half, although all retailers do it, and it’s just greed over public health.

In the fall of 2011, 33 people were killed and 147 sickened from Listeria linked to cantaloupe in the U.S.

And it keeps happening.k on

 The number of people with salmonella linked to fresh-cut melons shipped by Caito Foods has increased, and the Food and Drug Administration has released a list of hundreds of retail outlets that received the products.

The exact source of the imported melons, however, has not been released, and the FDA continues its traceback investigation.

The FDA expanded the list of private-label brands in the outbreak, which was first reported by the FDA on April 12. In its first update on the outbreak, the FDA on April 24 posted the locations of almost 1,500 retail locations that received the fresh-cut cantaloupehoneydew and watermelon products from Caito Foods, Indianapolis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported April 24 that the number of people who have become ill has risen from 93 to 117 in 10 states. PulseNet, a national network that allows health and regulatory agencies to identify outbreaks, first alerted the CDC about the outbreak on April 2.

The CDC reported illness onset dates range from March 4 to April 8. No deaths have been reported; 32 people have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.

The type of salmonella in the outbreak, Salmonella Carrau, is rare, historically seen in imported melons. Caito Foods told investigators the melons used in the products were imported, according to the FDA.

Caito Foods was linked to a similar outbreak in 2018 involving Salmonella Adelaide in fresh-cut melon products.

69 sick from Salmonella linked to raw sprouts in NZ

If there’s one food safety types will not eat, it’s raw sprouts.

Costco and Walmart stopped selling them five years ago in the U.S.

It’s impossible to get a sandwich or salad in Australia without sprouts.

I’ve written chefs who should not be serving raw sprouts to immunocomprised people in hospitals.

They poo-pooed my concerns.

According to Outbreak News Today there are 67 confirmed Salmonella cases and 2 probable cases linked to sprouts consumption in New Zealand.  Illness onset ranged from December 23, 2018 to April 1, 2019. 66 of the cases became ill between January 23, 2019 and January 25, 2019.  17 people required hospital treatment.

In the wake of the outbreak, GSF New Zealand recalled certain Pams, Sproutman, and Fresh Harvest brand sprout products.  GSF New Zealand said the recall was due to a “production process concern.” Regarding the Salmonella outbreak, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health reported that “Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 108/170 was the causative pathogen identified from cases, sprouts and spent irrigation water tested in this outbreak. Subtyping using Multiple Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA) and whole genome sequencing methods were performed on isolates to confirm cases in the outbreak as well as the outbreak source.”

We’re all hosts on a viral planet

About 1986, I was a MSc graduate student working on Verticillium (that’s a fungus) in tomatoes), published a couple of peer-revived papers, and then became the editor of the student newspaper (circ 25,000) after writing a science column about cats for a year because they were the first warm-blooded pets I had ever had.

I think my friend Mary knows what I’m talking about.

I also spent a lot of time looking through the electron microscope, which was also a great place to have sex.

I had a lot of sex there.

Researchers in the Agriculturpal Research Service (ARS) Electron and Confocal Microscopy Unit can magnify a cell’s internal structures to 200,000 times their size, flash freeze mites in liquid nitrogen to create striking “snapshots” as they feed, and create color-enhanced images that show a virus infecting its host. The resulting images help scientists determine how agricultural pests and pathogens feed, reproduce, respond to threats, and survive.

A sampling of the unit’s digital photo album shows the eclectic nature of its efforts.

The team also has a unique 3D printing capability that allows them to transform the images they create into hand-size 3D models that are the most structurally accurate models of mites and other organisms currently available. The researchers hope that one day they will be able to upload the 3D files to an online database so that anyone with a 3D printer can reproduce them to use as instructional aids, in research, or for scientific outreach.

Officials probe cause as dozens sickened after local Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner

There was this time, I was editor of the Port Colborne New, a weekly broadsheet in 1988.

Katija came from that area.

There was one night, and the only night, me and a bunch of friends did magic mushrooms (which are being considered for medicinal purposes) ran along the waterfront, terrified by nothing, and then went to my home and someone fell through a window.

The primary story I covered in Port Colborne (and yes, I did live in a trailer) was the development of a new port, and how the duck hunters of Ducks Unlimited wanted it stopped.

They lost.

The Free Press in London, Ontario (that’s in Canada, not England) reports that at  least 57 people got sick after attending a recent Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner in Strathroy, prompting local health officials to investigate a possible case of mass food poisoning..

The Middlesex-London Health Unit received public complaints from people who got sick after attending a sold-out dinner for Strathroy-Caradoc Ducks Unlimited at the Strathroy Portuguese Canadian Club March 30.

“We don’t know the micro-organism yet. We haven’t had lab confirmation of anything yet, but all of their symptoms were gastrointestinal, diarrhea and vomiting. Some had a fever, some had nausea,” said Mary Lou Albanese, the health unit’s infectious disease control team manager.

The reported illnesses prompted a public health inspection of the facility two days later. The inspector found five infractions in the April 1 site visit, including one critical non-compliance issue that had the potential to pose an immediate food-borne illness risk.

The inspector found the facility failed to maintain pest control measures, didn’t have a trained food handler supervising the kitchen and didn’t ensure utensils, equipment and facilities were cleaned and sanitized. The inspector’s report also found the dishwasher wasn’t designed or maintained to ensure utensils are sanitized and the kitchen’s walls and ceilings weren’t kept clean and in good repair.

The inspector issued three remediation actions to the club, including implementing food handler education for its employees.

The facility was given a passing grade by health inspectors.

In a statement, Strathroy-Caradoc Ducks Unlimited said they’re “devastated” people fell ill at their fundraiser.

“Our thoughts go out to those affected and the families who are dealing with this unfortunate situation,” the group said.

Uh-huh.

Rust never sleeps.