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.

Beggar’s Banquet

Beggar’s Banquet is 50 years old.

It marked the beginning of Rolling Stones greatness for the next three albums, from 1968-72.

Me and my best friend from high-school are both dying, one way or another, but we listened to Beggar’s Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street for hours in my basement, about 1977, long after they were released.

I used to have Mick Taylor hair.

I also was lunchtime DJ for a couple of years in high school and would play a lots of Stones, Zeppelin, and others, while the kids all wanted disco.

This what I still use to get me going in the a.m.

2 dead, 10 sick from Listeria in Switzerland

RTS Info reports that since June, 2018, an unexplained outbreak of listeriosis, has been occurring across Switzerland. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has identified 12 cases, 2 of which were fatal.

“What is unusual is that it is all cases of the same subtype of bacteria. We counted 12 cases, which is not that much, but 12 of the same type in a short time, it’s not normal,” said Daniel Koch, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases at the FOPH.

Research is being conducted to find the sources of the infection.

“We can talk about an epidemic and this disease can be deadly, but the population is not at risk. These germs benefit from flaws, a decrease in immunity, in the defenses of individuals. This therefore concerns especially pregnant women and the elderly,” Raffaele Malinverni, head of the Department of Medicine at the Neuchatel Hospital, told RTS on its Tuesday 12:45 broadcast.

The FOPH reminds that people at risk should avoid raw vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, raw fish and seafood, soft cheese and unpasteurized milk.
“Our survey is all the more difficult because the cases are spread all over Switzerland; it’s not easy, people have probably been infected with the same food, but it’s a food that had to be distributed in many places,” said Daniel Koch.

In 1987, more than 120 people became ill after eating Vacherin-Mont-d’or, and 30 of them died.

2 children from same UK family die from E. coli

Two children from the same UK family have died after contracting shiga-toxin producing E. coli, health officials have confirmed.

The children, whose ages have not yet been released, were from the Charnwood area of Leicestershire and had been treated for the infection in the last 2 weeks.

Public Health England confirmed the deaths and said it is working with
environmental health officers after 2 cases of hemolytic uremic
syndrome were confirmed in the siblings.

It is not yet known how the children contracted E. coli.

PHE East Midlands said E coli is a relatively rare infection, adding that good hand hygiene and supervised hand hygiene for small children are essential to minimise the risk of developing an infection such as E coli.

Not rare enough for this family and handwashing is never enough.

 

EU Listeria-in-frozen veg outbreak hits Australia

The Listeria-in-frozen veg outbreak in the EU that has killed nine and sickened 47 since 2015 has taken an Australian twist: the vegetables distributed by Belgium-based frozen food distributor Greenyard Frozen NV were also distributed in Australia (and who knows where else) underlying the role of bullshit and faith regarding global food safety.

Food safety is, of course, any distributor’s first priority (as Sorenne asked me today, about something completely different, “was that sarcasm?”

Nothing funny about this.

A whole bunch of frozen veg stocked by Woolworths, IGA and ALDI in Australia have been added to the recall by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

FSANZ spokeswoman Lorraine Haase said there had not been any evidence of infections in Australia, but a number of people had died in the United Kingdom.

Two days later, on July 11, 2018, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services identified a case of Listeria from earlier in 2018 that has now been linked to the strain in Europe which has led to a recall of a range of imported frozen vegetables.

The listeria is the same serotype with similar genetics.

Unfortunately, the Victorian case who was being treated for another serious illness died earlier this year.

So it is not possible to confirm whether this person actually consumed any of the frozen vegetable products.

This is not the same serotype of Listeria which killed seven in Australia and caused one miscarriage after consumption of rockmelon earlier this year.

Listeria can be anywhere, and it is up to food producers and merchants to provide rapid, reliable, relevant and repeated information about these outbreaks, which, based on conversation at a hockey tournament in New South Wales this weekend, are starting to permeate the consciousness of shoppers in Aus.

9 dead, 38 sick from Listeria linked to frozen corn in EU back to 2015

My daughters ate a lot of frozen peas and corn when they were young.

Now I’m being told by Europeans I’m stupid.

As I’ve written before, Chapman and I did a bunch of work with the processing vegetable growers in Ontario (that’s in Canada).

We didn’t do any testing, but all the plants we visited had internal Listeria testing and used test-and-hold procedures. That was over 15 years ago.

Additionally, the blanching process should have removed Listeria (but should be verified).

The UK Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland – that’s a lot of admin types — are reminding people that most frozen vegetables, including sweetcorn, need to be cooked before eating. This includes if adding them to salads, smoothies or dips.

People should always follow manufacturers’ instructions when preparing their food. If the product is not labelled as “ready to eat”, the cooking instructions should always be followed before eating the food hot or cold. 

In the UK, that means piping hot mush.

Any barfbloggers in the EU wanna take a picture of those clear cooking instructions on frozen corn and send them on?

Last week, the European Food Safety Authority said that frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015.

Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn. As of 8 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.

The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This suggests that the strains have persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out.

The available information confirms the contamination at the Hungarian plant. However, further investigations, including thorough sampling and testing, are needed to identify the exact points of environmental contamination at the Hungarian plant. The same recommendation applies to other companies belonging to the same commercial group if environmental contamination is detected.

On 29 June 2018, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018, and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall. This last measure is likely to significantly reduce the risk of human infections and contain the outbreak. All freezing activity at the plant has been stopped.

New cases could still emerge due to the long incubation period of listeriosis (up to 70 days); the long shelf-life of frozen corn products; and the consumption of frozen corn bought before the recalls and eaten without being cooked properly.

To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should thoroughly cook non ready-to-eat frozen vegetables, even though these products are commonly consumed without cooking (e.g. in salads and smoothies). This applies especially to consumers at highest risk of contracting listeriosis – such as the elderly, pregnant women, new-borns and adults with weakened immune systems.

Frozen fruit and veg: That’s what my 2-decade hockey buddy, who also has four Canadian kids about the same age as mine, said when I asked, how do you go about managing the food for all these kids (along with the pets and horses).

But like Hepatitis A in frozen fruit, I now cook the shit out of them.

Beware the canal waters (I’m looking at you Holland Marsh, Ontario, that’s in Canada): Canal irrigation water likely source of E. coli O157 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce 5 dead, 218 sick

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, initiated an environmental assessment in the Yuma growing region to further investigate potential sources of contamination linked to this outbreak.

Samples have been collected from environmental sources in the region, including water, soil, and cow manure. Evaluation of these samples is ongoing.

To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli O157:H7 with the same genetic finger print as the outbreak strain. We have identified additional strains of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in water and soil samples, but at this time, the samples from the canal water are the only matches to the outbreak strain.

Analysis of additional samples is still ongoing, and any new matches to the outbreak strain will be communicated publicly and with industry in the region.

Identification of the outbreak strain in the environment should prove valuable in our analysis of potential routes of contamination, and we are continuing our investigation in an effort to learn more about how the outbreak strain could have entered the water and ways that this water could have come into contact with and contaminated romaine lettuce in the region.

As of June 27, the CDC reports that 218 people in 36 states and Canada have become ill. These people reported becoming ill in the time period of March 13, 2018 to June 6, 2018. There have been 96 hospitalizations and five deaths.

The traceback investigation indicates that the illnesses associated with this outbreak cannot be explained by a single grower, harvester, processor, or distributor. While traceback continues, the FDA will focus on trying to identify factors that contributed to contamination of romaine across multiple supply chains.  The agency is examining all possibilities, including that contamination may have occurred at any point along the growing, harvesting, packaging, and distribution chain before reaching consumers. 

The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, initiated an environmental assessment in the Yuma growing region to further investigate potential sources of contamination linked to this outbreak. To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli O157:H7 with the same genetic finger print as the outbreak strain. We have identified additional strains of E. coli in water and soil samples, but at this time, the samples from the canal water are the only matches to the outbreak strain.

The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available.

“More work needs to be done to determine just how and why this strain of E. coli O157:H7 could have gotten into this body of water and how that led to contamination of romaine lettuce from multiple farms,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in a statement.