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.

CDC reports 641 cases of Cyclospora linked to recalled salad mixes nationwide

Since the last case count update on July 9, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported 132 new laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections have been reported, including 16 from three new states: Georgia, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.

As of  July 22, 2020, a total of 641 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections associated with this outbreak have been reported from 11 states: Georgia (1), Illinois (198), Iowa (195), Kansas (5), Minnesota (73), Missouri (57) Nebraska (55), North Dakota (6), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (13) and Wisconsin (36). The ill person from Georgia purchased and ate a bagged salad product while traveling in Missouri.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to July 5, 2020. Ill people range in age from 10 to 92 years with a median age of 59 and 52% are female. Of 636 people with available information, 37 people (6%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks. If the number of cases reported by CDC is different from the number reported by state or local health officials, data reported by local jurisdictions should be considered the most up to date. Any differences may be due to the timing of reporting and website updates.

This investigation is ongoing.

The CDC says that it is specifically examining salad ingredients (iceberg lettuce, carrots, red cabbage) for the purposes of its investigation. The affected products include salad mixes made by Fresh Express, Hy-Vee Inc., Little Salad Bar, Signature Farms, Marketside and Hy-Vee. The products were sold at ALDI, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, ShopRite, and Walmart locations.

The products were manufactured in Streamwood, Illinois at a Fresh Express production facility.

“Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the Cyclospora parasite,” the CDC says. “A person may become infected after ingesting contaminated food or water. Common symptoms include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, body aches and fatigue. The infection is treated with antibiotics and most people respond quickly to treatment.”

Specifically, the CDC says the products with a Z178 code or lower and “Best by” date that runs through July 14, 2020 are the ones potentially affected by the contamination.

However, only Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin have reported cases of Cyclospora related to eating the salad mix. According to the CDC, the dates of the illness range from May 11, 2020 to July 5, 2020, with 37 people hospitalized as of Friday. Patients are ages 10 to 92 years with a median age of 59 years as of Friday’s data. No related deaths have been reported. People can go 4 to 6 weeks before noticing any symptoms of Cyclospora, the CDC says.

Write down what you ate in the two weeks before you started to get sick.

Report your illness to the health department.

Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.

The CDC issued its recall warnings June 19, and Giant Eagle issued a recall on its Fresh Express products on June 29.

On June 27, 2020, Fresh Express Fresh Express brand and private label brand salad products produced at its Streamwood, IL facility that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and/or carrots due to possible Cyclospora contamination.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections occurring in three Canadian provinces. Exposure to certain Fresh Express brand salad products containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage, has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak.

  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak.
  • CDC and FDA continue to investigate to determine which ingredient or ingredients in the salad mix was contaminated and whether other products are a source of illnesses.
  • CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Salmonella and poultry food safety

Salmonella is a leading cause of foodborne illness (i.e., salmonellosis) outbreaks, which on occasion are attributed to ground turkey. The poultry industry uses Salmonella prevalence as an indicator of food safety. However, Salmonella prevalence is only one of several factors that determine risk of salmonellosis. Consequently, a model for predicting risk of salmonellosis from individual lots of ground turkey as a function of Salmonella prevalence and other risk factors was developed.

Data for Salmonella contamination (prevalence, number, and serotype) of ground turkey were collected at meal preparation. Scenario analysis was used to evaluate effects of model variables on risk of salmonellosis. Epidemiological data were used to simulate Salmonella serotype virulence in a dose‐response model that was based on human outbreak and feeding trial data. Salmonella prevalence was 26% (n = 100) per 25 g of ground turkey, whereas Salmonella number ranged from 0 to 1.603 with a median of 0.185 log per 25 g. Risk of salmonellosis (total arbitrary units (AU) per lot) was affected (p ≤ 0.05) by Salmonella prevalence, number, and virulence, by incidence and extent of undercooking, and by food consumption behavior and host resistance but was not (p > 0.05) affected by serving size, serving size distribution, or total bacterial load of ground turkey when all other risk factors were held constant. When other risk factors were not held constant, Salmonella prevalence was not correlated (r = −0.39; p = 0.21) with risk of salmonellosis. Thus, Salmonella prevalence alone was not a good indicator of poultry food safety because other factors were found to alter risk of salmonellosis. In conclusion, a more holistic approach to poultry food safety, such as the process risk model developed in the present study, is needed to better protect public health from foodborne pathogens like Salmonella .

Salmonella prevalence alone is not a good indicator of poultry food safety, 20 July 2020

Risk Analysis

Thomas Oscar

https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13563

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/risa.13563?af=R

As parasites might in your blood

Human Parasitic Diseases: A Diagnostic Atlas is a comprehensive and invaluable resource for parasitologists, microbiologists, pathologists, and infectious disease practitioners. Lawrence R. Ash, PhD, and Thomas C. Orihel, PhD, have curated a beautiful photographic series of common and rare parasites shown in tissue, blood, feces, and free-living forms. Organized by phylum, genera, and species, this book provides detailed yet practical assistance in identifying and diagnosing human parasitic diseases. Each section starts with a brief overview of the epidemiology, life cycle, transmission, and clinical manifestations of the parasite, detailed enough to orient the reader to the clinical relevance of the pathogen without distracting from its macroscopic and microscopic diagnostic features. The authors provide up-to-date references of each parasite’s clinical manifestations and diagnostic procedures.

In addition to the beautiful, high-quality photomicrographs, the authors supplement the book with detailed diagrams clarifying the key microscopic diagnostic features. These details enable the reader to differentiate between closely related parasites.

This book offers many unique aspects. First, the authors provide multiple images comparing subtle differences in the appearance of the same parasite, which will reassure anyone who has struggled to identify a blood smear of a parasite that does not quite fit the textbook example. These images emphasize the subtlety of microscopic identification and pattern recognition. Second, this atlas emphasizes the appearance of parasites in histologic findings and tissue. The authors acknowledge the difficulty of making a histologic diagnosis on the basis of fragments of larger parasites or those that have degenerated in tissues. Third, the book contains a 1911 Arthur Looss quote emphasizing the interconnectedness of animal and human parasites and highlighting the need to consider animal pathogens that have rarely infected humans. This perspective is relevant in a world with increasingly immunosuppressed patients and unprecedented levels of travel and global trade. Therefore, this book is a compelling reference volume for pathologists and microbiology or clinical infectious disease training programs.

Particularly useful for today’s clinical infectious diseases practitioners is the last section of the book, which covers artifacts for which macroscopic or microscopic appearance could be easily confused even by an experienced pathologist. This section is a helpful reminder of the diagnostic challenges facing clinicians seeing patients who believe they have an infestation but in whom no parasite can be found.

I will certainly use this atlas as a reference and training guide and will most likely browse through its pages before recertification examinations. Any reader with an inclination towards parasitology will appreciate the authors and their colleagues’ fascinating careers in this field.

Human Parasitic Diseases: A diagnostic atlas, August 2020

Emerging Infectious Diseases vol. 26 no. 8

Lawrence Ash & Thomas Orihel

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-0270_article?deliveryName=USCDC_331-DM33397

A way to get rid of Salmonella off peppercorns

A nonthermal process that applies ultraviolet (UV)–C and helium cold plasma (CP) simultaneously (UV-CP) has been investigated as an intervention technology to inactivate Salmonella on black peppercorns.

The optimum CP treatment voltage and UV-CP treatment time for inactivating Salmonella on black peppercorns were predicted using a model equation as 9.7 kV and 22.1 min, respectively, which non-thermally inactivated Salmonella by 3.7 log CFU/g. UV-CP treatment yielded a stronger bactericidal activity than UV treatment alone, without inducing photoreactivation. In addition, UV-CP-induced reactive species similar to those found in individual UV and CP treatments. Furthermore, UV-CP treatment caused a profound deformation of Salmonella morphology and a greater extent of DNA damage than UV or CP treatment did alone. UV-CP treatment did not alter the color or 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical scavenging activity; however, it lowered the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity and piperine concentration in the peppercorns. The findings of this study demonstrate the potential application of UV-CP treatment for decontamination of black peppercorns.

Inactivation of salmonella on black peppercorns using an integrated ultraviolet-C and cold plasma intervention, 23 July 2020

Food Control

In Hee Bang1, Jiwon In1, Sea C.Min

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107498

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S095671352030414X

How much fun is John Fogarty having with his kids?

Food fraud is new mob; Illegal horsemeat seized from slaughterhouses in Ireland

Horsemeat has been seized in raids on slaughterhouses in Ireland as part of a huge international operation targeting food fraud.

Live animals and more than 17t of horsemeat were seized from several slaughterhouses in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Inspections of the slaughterhouses found that about 20% of the foreign passports used for these horses showed signs of forgery.

 Competition horses with forged documents were also sent to slaughterhouses.

Europol supported national authorities in the clampdown on the “dangerous criminal trend” of illegal horsemeat, which was led by Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The raids were part of Opson 2020, a six-month operation by Europol and Interpol which targeted trafficking of counterfeit and substandard food and drink.