‘My five-year-old son died with E. coli after eating infected meat at school. He would have been 21 this year’

I’m sorry I missed this story in Wales Online from Sept. 13, 2020, as I was doing my own recovering.

Cathy Owen writes that Sharon Jeffreys dreads this time of year.

As children return for the start of the school year, she relives what happened to her family 15 years ago over and over, and over again.

It was only two weeks into the start of the school year at Deri Primary in 2005 when her eldest son Chandler came home with stomach pains and the beginning of a nightmare for the young family.

Chandler had contracted E. coli O157 after eating contaminated food that had been supplied to the school by a local butcher.

But worse was to come after his younger brother Mason also became ill with the food poisoning.

The five-year-old had only just switched from taking packed lunches to having school dinners because he was so fond of chips and sausages.

“It was the worse decision I ever made,” says Sharon. “Mason loved his food. He was taking sausages and chips off the plates of children, so we decided to switch him to school dinners and he was really happy.”

Mason and eight-year-old Chandler were one of more than 150 schoolchildren and adults struck down in the south Wales outbreak. Thirty-one people were admitted to hospital, but Mason was the only one to die.

He had suffered high temperatures, stomach pains and had hallucinations and was admitted to Bristol children’s hospital, but died of kidney failure.

Today, his mum Sharon remembers every moment of those terrifying days.

“It will be 15 years on September 13 when Chandler first became ill,” she remembers. “When Mason started to be sick I tried to do everything I possibly could. Mason’s condition deteriorated considerably and he started to hallucinate saying he could see slugs and frogs.

“He went a yellow colour and started sweating like he’d just come out of a shower. Mason died two weeks later in unbearable pain.”

Reflecting on the amount of time that has passed, Sharon says: “I just can’t believe how long it has been, it feels like such a long time since I last saw him.

“It is still very difficult to think about, but at this time of year I always relive that awful time. I always dread September coming along because it takes me back there.

“I will never get over it, but I have had to learn how to live with it, but little things can take me back there. Like I see a blade of grass, or hear something and it takes me back with a jolt.

“After Mason died it was really busy, there was the inquest and then the legal proceedings, so I didn’t actually face what had happened for a long time, and then it went quiet and it was like trying to scramble out of a big black hole.

“Mason would have been 21 in December. He should have been looking forward to celebrating that milestone in his life.

“Chandler is 23 now, but he is not the same person. He and Mason were so close, it has left a big hole in his life.

“My younger son is 16 and it has affected his life too. He can’t remember Mason because he wasn’t even one at the time, and that upsets him.”

Fifteen years on and Sharon and her family still feel that they have been denied justice.

Bridgend butcher William Tudor, 56, was jailed for breaching hygiene laws by allowing raw meat to come into contact with cooked ham and turkey.

public inquest in 2010 heard how Tudor put cash before hygiene for years and may have caused other food poisoning outbreaks.

Butcher William Tudor was jailed for 12 months

It was claimed he bought cheap frozen New Zealand mutton and passed it off as prime Welsh lamb and staff who brought him rotten meat unfit for consumption were told to “mince it up” and use it in faggots.

Sharon went  on to immerse herself in other food safety issues, including a push to make restaurant inspection disclosure – scores on doors – mandatory in Wales. Voluntary disclosure misses the point and if large cities like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles can figure out how to make it mandatory so can Wales.

Disclosure became mandatory in Wales and Northern Ireland in Nov. 2013, thanks in part – or largely — to Sharon’s efforts.

The rest of the UK, and Australia, wallows in a voluntary system: lousy score, don’t post it.

“The food hygiene rating scheme is very important and it is good that more people are more aware after what happened,” says Sharon.

“It is a bit concerning to hear that Covid might have an impact on some council environmental services, but we need to make sure there are more officers carrying out inspections and making sure that best practice is being followed.

“I have heard back from people that they have used our story as part of their training for cooks and kitchen staff.

“Before Mason’s death I had never really heard of E. coli. I had heard the name, but didn’t know much about it.

“Now, I think people are definitely more aware. That is good to know, good to know that people haven’t forgotten, even after all these years.”

Salmonella found in ‘death dumplings’ that killed a Thai woman

Lab results have found a dubious dish dubbed “death dumplings” after at least one woman died contained salmonella.

After-sale of the dumplings in southeast metro Bangkok was blamed for one death and several illnesses, the lab results, which came out yesterday confirmed they contained salmonella, according to Prakit Wongprasert of the Samut Prakan provincial health office. 

Earlier this month, 66-year-old Thanu Changpoopanga-ngam suffered severe diarrhoea and was taken to a hospital. Her condition was allegedly caused by eating a dumpling bought from a local vendor. Others in Thanu’s family, who also ate the dumplings, said they also had severe diarrhoea.

Thanu died a few days later. Her death, led the media to dub the dim sum snack as ‘death dumplings,’ after several others came forward to say they had taken sick from eating them.

John Prine, Who Chronicled the Human Condition in Song, Dies at 73

John Prine, the raspy-voiced country-folk singer whose ingenious lyrics to songs by turns poignant, angry and comic made him a favorite of Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and others, died Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. He was 73.

The cause was complications from Covid-19, his family said.

UK: Health inspector warned hospital that listeria would grow on sandwiches in its broken fridges that were 5C too hot just three days before patient

The hospital where a cancer patient was killed by a listeria-infected sandwich was warned its fridges were broken and too hot several days before he died, it was revealed in early November..

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died in June after eating a contaminated meal – a scandal that appears to have claimed the lives of six people in the UK this year.

Today it emerged sandwiches at Royal Derby Hospital, where Mr Hitchcock was receiving cancer treatment, were kept in ‘ineffective’ fridges that warmed the food to above 8C – an offence under 2013 food safety laws.

The problem was found by experts inspecting the kitchen on June 4 and 5 where an environmental health officer said the broken fridges were serving food at illegal temperatures.

A report said the food was a particular risk to anyone with a weakened immune system, such as cancer sufferer Mr Hitchcock.

On June 8 he died after eating one of the pre-packed sandwiches.

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died after eating a pre-packaged sandwich while being treated for cancer at the Royal Derby Hospital last week. His death is being linked to an NHS listeria outbreak which has so far claimed five lives +2

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died after eating a pre-packaged sandwich while being treated for cancer at the Royal Derby Hospital last week. His death is being linked to an NHS listeria outbreak which has so far claimed five lives

In a letter, seen by the BBC, food safety inspector Jayne Hassall said ‘high risk foods’  such as sandwiches were ‘stored outside temperature control due to ineffective refrigerators’.

Boy, 10, dies eight years after he was paralysed by contaminated Lidl beefburger

Nolan Moittie was 23-months-old when he became one of 15 children in the Hauts-de-France region to fall ill having eaten beef contaminated with E. coli.

The boy was left paralysed for life, unable to walk, talk or eat.

Yesterday he was rushed to intensive care when his heart stopped beating.

He died shortly afterwards, despite medics’ efforts to revive him, Le Parisien reported.

The other children suffer from conditions that will affect their kidneys for the rest of their lives.

The lawyer of Nolan’s family, Florence Rault, said the boy had suffered a ‘real ordeal since the accident’.

Bosses at Seb-Cerf, who marketed frozen steaks under the Steak Country brand, were tried at Douai Criminal Court in northern France in 2017.

Former boss Guy Lamorlette, 78, was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to carry out checks on the meat.

He was also banned from any industrial or commercial activity and ordered to pay damages to the victims.

At a February hearing Lamorlette tried to blame Laurent Appere, the company’s former quality manager who died just before the trial began.

Lamorlette is said to be considering an appeal.

Nolan’s family lawyer, Florence Rault, told Le Parisien: “I hope that the person responsible for this tragedy will have the decency to withdraw his appeal on points of law.

“At the first trial, he did not even want to watch Nolan, now he must serve his sentence and Nolan’s parents must be able to be compensated and mourn.”

Texas man ‘skinned like a deer’ by Vibrio that killed him slowly over two weeks after fishing trip

Mia De Graaf of the Daily Mail writes a 78-year-old Texas man died after an agonizing two-week battling against flesh-eating bacteria he contracted on a fishing trip last month.

Jerry Sebek, of San Marcos, did not get in the water, did not have any open wounds, and did not have any health issues that would weaken his immune system.

And yet, hours after returning from Turtle Bay on June 13, he became delirious, vomiting, and struggling to breathe.

His daughter Kim took him to a clinic, where doctors said it looked like heat stroke.

But the next morning, he was taken to hospital, where he tested positive for vibrio, an aggressive type of bacteria that eats away at muscle and tissue.

His right arm, where the infection started, was ‘skinned like a deer,’ Kim told SanAntonio.com.

Despite amputating his arm and leg, and putting him in a medically-induced coma, doctors could not defeat the infection.

‘I’m still a little shocked and in disbelief,’ Kim told the site. 

‘Dad was a wonderful family man who loved to hunt and fish and do things out in the water.’

She added: ‘We’ve been coming here [to Turtle Bay] for years and this is just an unfortunate thing that happened.’

California man dies at Dominican Republic resort after drinking scotch from minibar, niece says

Lisa Fernandez of Fox 10 writes that another American tourist has died in the Dominican Republic: The latest casualty is a California man who fell critically ill at an all-inclusive resort about a month before three others died in their rooms, Fox News has learned.

In all, six U.S. tourists have died in recent months while vacationing in the Dominican Republic – a trend that the FBI is now investigating. 

Robert “Bob” Bell Wallace, 67, of Modesto, and who grew up in Redwood City, became sick almost immediately after he had a scotch from the room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana in April, his niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News on Sunday. He was in the Dominican Republic to attend his stepson’s wedding. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Tickenoff Wallace, according to his obituary. The two had three children between each other. 

Punta Cana is a town at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic and touches the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The spot is known for its beaches and lavish resorts. 

2 dead, 2,000 sick from campy in water in Norway

MRT reports that a  patient from a southern Norway island with contaminated water has died after being hospitalized with gastrointestinal symptoms, authorities said Thursday.

Erik Vigander of the regional hospital entity in southern Norway said the bacteria Campylobacter was found in the patient’s system. That’s the same bacteria identified in other people sickened since E. coli was found in a reservoir that supplied drinking water for the island of Askoey.

Vigander says the patient who died Wednesday also had “a very serious underlying” health disorder and an autopsy will be performed to determine “the ultimate cause of death.”

A 1-year-old child from the island died last week of an infection in the digestive tract, but it was not clear whether the death was linked to the water contamination.

About 2,000 people have fallen sick. Since June 6, 64 have been hospitalized.

Hospital tests have shown that Campylobacter was found in at least three dozen cases.

Local newspaper Askoeyvaeringen reported that there had been been safety issues with the waterworks in the Askoey municipality, and feces was recently found near a reservoir that supplied part of the area’s drinking water.

A time to live, a time to die

My eldest, 1-of-4 Canadian daughters (she’s 32 and has a 5-year-old son) was honest with me and said I shouldn’t travel to Ontario, even if there’s people I want to see (yes that’s her in this 1988 pic I took for my science column; I even remember developing film in the darkroom, and had sex there too along with the electron microcopy room.)

I have brain problems and cannot travel by myself.

My wife, who has power of attorney over my finances and death, says I can’t travel alone.

Yeah, looks like I’m fading fast

My best friend from high school has pancreatic cancer, so our friends are waging who will go first.

My brain hurts because I fall a lot, and Amy is going to break up with me.

But my life has been full of wonder, and I will keep being curious and keep writing.

It’s the best medicine.

Just cook it doesn’t cut it: 2 dead 238 sick in outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella linked to raw turkey

CDC and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is monitoring the outbreak.

As of December 18, 2018, 216 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 38 states and the District of Columbia.

84 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported from California.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that raw turkey products from a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Reading and are making people sick.

In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. Three ill people lived in households where raw turkey pet food was fed to pets.

The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys.

On November 15, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, Wisconsin recalled approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products.

On December 21, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Faribault, Minnesota recalled approximately 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products.

A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified an additional 22 ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of Salmonella Reading bacteria in Canada.