You see a cute chick, I see a Salmonella factory: 372 sick so far this year

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, many state departments of health and agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are investigating eight multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

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These outbreaks are caused by several kinds of Salmonella bacteria: Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Mbandaka, and Salmonella Typhimurium.

As of May 25, 2017, 372 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 47 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2017 to May 13, 2017.

71 ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

36% of ill people are children younger than 5 years.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings link the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, which come from several hatcheries.

In interviews, 190 (83%) of 228 ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before illness started.

People reported purchasing live baby poultry from several sources, including feed supply stores, websites, hatcheries, and from relatives.

Contact with live poultry and the areas where they live and roam can make people sick with Salmonella infections. Chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry that look healthy and clean can still carry Salmonella bacteria.

Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks. In 2016, a record number of illnesses were linked to contact with backyard poultry.

Use a thermometer, color sucks: UK FSA says don’t serve your duck pink

Color is a lousy indicator.

But that doesn’t stop the taxpayer-funded UK Food Standards Agency from issuing nonsensical advice.

smoked-duck-breast1I’ve asked the UK food safety types why they don’t recommend that people use thermometers – as is the advice in the U.S., Canada and Australia – and the response is usually along the lines of, people can’t handle such complicated information.

A colleague received similar advice yesterday from the UK FSA.

Arrogant bullshit.

And not science-based.

The Telegraph reported today that duck should never be served pink as diners could be poisoned by a potential deadly bug more commonly associated with chicken, food officials have said.

While many upmarket restaurants recommend their duck dishes medium-rare, the Food Standards Agency said the poultry should always be cooked “thoroughly” at home.

It warned that the prevalence of the campylobacter bug among ducks was “not dissimilar” to the levels among chickens, where seven in 10 birds are infected.

The bacterium, which makes 280,000 ill every year, is only killed when meat is fully cooked.

On Wednesday the food watchdog said it was concerned that there was a public misconception that duck was different to chicken in that it could safely be served pink.

There’s a public misconception because the bureaucrats are not offering clear, evidence-based information.

Stick it in.

 

I will call him George: E. coli in duck

Escherichia coli is one of the foodborne pathogens associated with several cases of human sickness. Duck meat is an excellent source of animal-derived high quality proteins.

duck.george.apr.15 This study was undertaken to investigate the possible transmission of diarrheagenic E. coli from consumption of duck meat and giblets. Additionally, expression of some virulence-associated genes in the isolated E. coli serotypes was examined using polymerase chain reaction. Finally, antibiogram of the identified E. coli serotypes was also investigated.

E. coli could be isolated from the examined duck meat and giblets. Five serogroups could be identified, including E. coli O86, O127, O114, O26 and O78. Liver harbored the highest incidence of E. coli followed by gizzard, heart, spleen and muscle. Isolated E. coli serogroups harbored different virulent factors responsible for diarrhea and hemorrhage. Additionally, isolated E. coli serogroups showed marked low sensitivity or even resistance to the most common used antibiotics in Egypt.

Prevalence, molecular characterization and antibiotic susceptibility of Escherichia Coli isolated from duck meat and giblets

Journal of Food Safety [ahead of print]

Darwish, W. S., Eldin, W. F. S. and Eldesoky, K. I.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jfs.12189/abstract

 

2 dead, 195 sick from Salmonella outbreak linked to mail-order chicks

The pic, left, is from Sorenne’s pre-school yesterday.

The teachers-that-be decided at some point it was a good idea to get a chicken coup for the pre-school; I said it may be a bad idea, sent them a bunch of info about outbreaks, and left it at, you have to be a lot more careful than you thought.

There were some chickens in there for two weeks during spring break, and they came
from the grade 3 class across the road.

These are ducks; they came from one of the teachers, who fancies herself a bit of a foodie, but at least isn’t snobbish about it.

I asked if the ducks had pooped, because kids can’t be watched all the time in a 6-kid-1-teacher ratio.

Sorenne has taken to putting all sorts of things in her mouth and on the table when eating. I try to explain the be-the-bug concept; like today, Sorenne and I had lunch with a friend and his two pre-school daughters. They were putting flip-flops on the table; Sorenne was eating the menu. These are things kids do. The microbiological explanation didn’t go very far. The communal fries came with aioli dipping sauce, so I had to ask the café staff, how was the aioli made?

Raw eggs, but whole eggs.

Pasteurized or cooked?

No, raw.

I didn’t have any. Neither did Sorenne.

Kids will do all sorts of things, so platitudes about handwashing stations at petting zoos and washing hands when dealing with potentially risky things is nice but never enough.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports a total of 195 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, and Salmonella Lille were reported from 27 states.

• 34% of ill persons were hospitalized;

• two deaths were reported; and,

• 33% of ill persons were children 10 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with live poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio.

Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others that sell or display chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.

Salmonella controls for duck flocks working in Ireland; reptiles remain a source of infection

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland says that procedures put in place to control Salmonella in ducks and duck eggs are working, according to the National Salmonella, Shigella and Listeria Reference Laboratory (NSSLRL). In its Annual Report for 2011, the laboratory reports a decrease in the number of cases of illness caused by a particular strain of Salmonella
which has been linked to duck eggs (S. Typhimurium DT8). Because duck eggs can occasionally contain Salmonella, they must not be eaten raw, but fully cooked until the yolk and white are solid. 

Sometimes, subtyping can actually detect outbreaks.  In 2009, the NSSLRL noticed an increase in cases of illness caused by a particular strain of S. Typhimurium (phage type DT8) and alerted public health colleagues to the possibility of an outbreak.  Over 30 cases were detected and investigations by the Outbreak Control Team pointed to the consumption of duck eggs as the source. 

In order to control the outbreak, consumers were advised not to eat raw or undercooked duck eggs and to handle them hygienically.  Also, new legislation setting down a legal basis for the control of Salmonella in ducks and duck eggs was introduced (S.I. No 565 of 2010).  This legislation requires anyone keeping ducks (even a small ‘backyard’ flock) to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).  Also, anyone selling even small quantities of duck eggs must put in place a biosecurity plan to prevent Salmonella entering their flock and spreading.  Guidelines are available on DAFM’s website at: www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/poultry.

According to the NSSLRL, these control measures have worked.  The number of cases of human illness caused by S. Typhimurium DT8 has dropped from 28 in 2010 to nine in 2011.

Salmonella infection is a notifiable disease in Ireland.  All cases diagnosed by doctors or clinical laboratories must be notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), which manages the surveillance of infectious diseases in Ireland.  The HPSC provisionally reported 314 cases of Salmonella infection in 2011, which follows a decline in numbers of cases since a peak in 1998.

According to the NSSLRL, Salmonella Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis were the strains which caused most Salmonella illness in humans in 2011, as in previous years.   Of the 320 Salmonella isolates from patients referred to the NSSLRL in 2011, 27% were identified as S. Typhimurium and 18% as S. Enteritidis. 

Reptiles as a Source of Infection

Reptiles often carry Salmonella and can be a source of infection, especially for children.  The HPSC advises that households with children under five years of age should not keep reptiles as pets; and neither should reptiles be kept in childcare facilities such as crèches.  However, the NSSLRL is concerned that this public health message is not being heeded because reptile-associated cases in children continued to be reported in 2011.  Subtyping of isolates from a number of these cases revealed that the strain which caused illness in the child or children was the same as that carried by the household’s pet reptile.  

NSSLRL annual reports are available at:  www.nuigalway.ie/salmonella_lab/

316 sickened with Salmonella over 8 years from mail-order chicks ducks

Parents should think carefully about any pet, particularly small turtles, reptiles, and chicks or ducks, that can carry human disease. Young children are much more vulnerable to things like Salmonella.

And U.S. federal agencies continue to have a going public problem, and should develop public guidelines for when, or when not, to name a business or farm in a disease outbreak, and apply those guidelines consistently

That’s what I conclude from reports that health types have cracked an 8-year-old Salmonella outbreak linked to live, mail-order poultry.

JoNel Aleccia of msnbc.com writes, between 2004 and 2011, at least 316 people in 43 states were sickened by a strain of salmonella Montevideo that had stumped staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 5,000 additional cases likely went unreported, officials say.

Only through careful analysis of the genetic fingerprint of the bug and cooperation with human and animal health officials and poultry experts did the CDC crew link the cases to “Hatchery C,” a supplier of 4 million birds a year identified only as being in the western U.S.

“It was definitely an interesting outbreak,” said Casey Barton Behravesh, one of a team of CDC researchers who reported on their investigation in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Because the hatchery was cooperative and because the threat of this particular infection appears to be over — with only one case of the outbreak strain reported so far this year — CDC officials declined to name the source of live young poultry popular as Easter presents or with urban backyard chicken farmers.

Since 1990, there have been 35 outbreaks of salmonella tied to contact with shipments of live, young poultry. CDC officials are investigating two separate outbreaks now, strains of salmonella Altona and salmonella Johannesburg, which together have sickened nearly 100 people in 24 states.

It was the salmonella Montevideo outbreak, though, that sent CDC officials scrambling to find out the source of infections whose victims were mostly children under the age of 5.

?In the end, about 80 percent of the illnesses were traced back to Hatchery C, which can ship as many as 250,000 birds a week in the spring, the peak season, according to the report. Even after the hatchery took steps to curtail salmonella transmission, the infections dropped, but did not stop.

Even when state agriculture officials have forced hatcheries to get rid of their birds, clean up the sites and start over, salmonella outbreaks have erupted again.

“Shutting down the hatcheries is not necessarily the answer here,” Behravesh said.

There are some 20 hatcheries in the U.S. that ship an estimated 50 million live poultry by mail-order every year, generating between $50 million and $70 million a year, said CDC officials, citing unpublished data.

In 2011, the U.S. Postal Service shipped some 237,778 boxes or 1.7 million pounds of live poultry, spokeswoman Sue Brennan told msnbc.com.

Many of those birds go to agricultural feed stores, where they may be sold as Easter pets. Others are shipped directly to urban farmers, including many who have adopted the recent trend of raising backyard flocks of chickens.

In this outbreak, the number of illnesses peaked in May of 2006, forcing interventions at Hatchery C, the paper reported.

Those included beefing up biosecurity and rodent control, decontaminating feed, replacing and updating old equipment, changing airflow, improving testing and giving vaccines to adult birds.

Such steps may be recommended, but not required, by the National Poultry Improvement Plan, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All compliance is voluntary, Behravesh noted.

Still, even after that effort, the salmonella infections didn’t cease completely, Behravesh said.

The CDC researchers called for more targeted efforts to raise awareness about the danger of salmonella infections from live poultry. Only about 21 percent of patients interviewed said they knew that poultry could transmit salmonella and only 7 percent said they were warned about the risk at the time of purchase.

Part of the problem is that people regard the young poultry as pets, often buying chicks dyed neon colors as holiday favors.

New England Journal of Medicine, 366;22

Nicholas H. Gaffga, M.D., M.P.H., Casey Barton Behravesh, D.V.M., Dr.P.H., Paul J. Ettestad, D.V.M., Chad B. Smelser, M.D., Andrew R. Rhorer, M.S., Alicia B. Cronquist, R.N., M.P.H., Nicole A. Comstock, M.S.P.H., Sally A. Bidol, M.P.H., Nehal J. Patel, M.P.H., Peter Gerner-Smidt, M.D., D.Med.Sci., William E. Keene, Ph.D., M.P.H., Thomas M. Gomez, D.V.M., Brett A. Hopkins, D.V.M., Ph.D., Mark J. Sotir, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Frederick J. Angulo, D.V.M., Ph.D.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1111818

Abstract

Background

Outbreaks of human salmonella infections are increasingly associated with contact with live poultry, but effective control measures are elusive. In 2005, a cluster of human salmonella Montevideo infections with a rare pattern on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (the outbreak strain) was identified by PulseNet, a national subtyping network.

Methods

In cooperation with public health and animal health agencies, we conducted multistate investigations involving patient interviews, trace-back investigations, and environmental testing at a mail-order hatchery linked to the outbreak in order to identify the source of infections and prevent additional illnesses. A case was defined as an infection with the outbreak strain between 2004 and 2011.

Results

From 2004 through 2011, we identified 316 cases in 43 states. The median age of the patient was 4 years. Interviews were completed with 156 patients (or their caretakers) (49%), and 36 of these patients (23%) were hospitalized. Among the 145 patients for whom information was available, 80 (55%) had bloody diarrhea. Information on contact with live young poultry was available for 159 patients, and 122 of these patients (77%) reported having such contact. A mail-order hatchery in the western United States was identified in 81% of the trace-back investigations, and the outbreak strain was isolated from samples collected at the hatchery. After intervention at the hatchery, the number of human infections declined, but transmission continued.

Conclusions

We identified a prolonged multistate outbreak of salmonellosis, predominantly affecting young children and associated with contact with live young poultry from a mail-order hatchery. Interventions performed at the hatchery reduced, but did not eliminate, associated human infections, demonstrating the difficulty of eliminating salmonella transmission from live poultry.

And, in a new and separate outbreak, CDC 93 additional people have been sickened. The complete CDC report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/live-poultry-05-12/index.html. Highlights below.

A total of 93 persons infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, and Salmonella Lille have been reported from 23 states.

18 ill persons have been hospitalized, and one death possibly related to this outbreak is under investigation.

37% of ill persons are children 10 years of age or younger.

Collaborative investigative efforts of local, state, and federal public health and agriculture officials linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to exposure to chicks and ducklings from a single mail-order hatchery in Ohio.

Findings of multiple traceback investigations of live chicks and ducklings from homes of ill persons have identified a single mail-order hatchery in Ohio as the source of these chicks and ducklings. This is the same mail-order hatchery that was associated with the 2011 outbreak of Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg infections. In May 2012, veterinarians from the Ohio Department of Agriculture inspected the mail-order hatchery and made recommendations for improvement.

Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others that sell or display chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.

Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others who sell or display chicks, ducklings and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.

96 sick, mainly little kids; multistate outbreak of Salmonella Altona and Johannesburg infections linked to chicks and ducklings from a mail-order hatchery — United States, February–October 2011

I worry about this every time my daughter’s school brings in chicks and other animals. And I always make sure to ask if they are testing for salmonella and what kind of controls are in place. And I complain about parents parking in the handicapped spots. They think I’m crazy, but I’ll show them. Except no one wins with salmonella either.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is reporting that salmonella infections from contact with live poultry (chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese) continue to be a public health problem.

In summer 2011, two clusters of human Salmonella infections were identified through PulseNet, a molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance. Standard outbreak and traceback investigations were conducted. From February 25 to October 10, 2011, a cluster of 68 cases caused by Salmonella serotype Altona and a cluster of 28 cases caused by Salmonella Johannesburg were identified in 24 states. Among persons infected, 32% of those with Salmonella Altona and 75% of those with Salmonella Johannesburg were aged ≤5 years. Forty-two of 57 (74%) Salmonella Altona patients and 17 of 24 (71%) of Salmonella Johannesburg patients had contact with live poultry in the week preceding illness. Most patients or their parents reported purchasing chicks or ducklings from multiple locations of an agricultural feed store chain that was supplied by a single mail-order hatchery. Live poultry were purchased for either backyard flocks or as pets.

Live poultry are commonly purchased from agricultural feed stores or directly from mail-order hatcheries; approximately 50 million chicks are sold annually in the United States. Since 1990, approximately 35 outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry from mail-order hatcheries have been reported. These outbreaks highlight the ongoing risk for human Salmonella infections associated with live poultry contact, especially for young children.

In response to this ongoing public health problem, officials with local, state, and federal public and animal health agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Poultry Improvement Plan (USDA-NPIP), the mail-order hatchery industry, and other partners have collaborated to develop and implement a comprehensive Salmonella control strategy. Mail-order hatcheries should comply with management and sanitation practices outlined in the USDA-NPIP Salmonellaguidelines and should avoid the shipment of hatched chicks between multiple hatcheries before shipping to customers. Educational materials warning customers of the risk for Salmonella infection from live poultry contact are available and should be distributed with all live poultry purchases.
 

Poop from Chinese duck farms linked to 100,000 diarrhea cases

The Shanghai Daily reports a duck processor in central China has been dumping duck excrement and dead animals directly into a river, contaminating a drinking water source that later lead to more than 100,000 people getting diarrhea.

Duck farms scattered along the Xiaohuang River in Huangchuan County, Henan Province, were accused of discharging waste in the river, killing fish and polluting the water. The farms belong to Henan Huaying Agricultural Development Co Ltd.??

The local water utility stopped collecting water from the river four years ago as it was too polluted, Shanghai Morning Post reported yesterday.

??However, two reservoirs that were used as new sources of tap water dried up in a drought this year and the county government was forced to resume pumping water from the Xiaohuang in April. Two months later there was a severe outbreak of diarrhea, sickening more than 100,000 villagers.

Three rusted pipes were seen stuck into the muddy river, where bottles and disposable lunch boxes were floating, to collect tap water supplying 280,000 people.
 

Do I have (duck) egg on my face; listeria in fried duck thingies in France

I make mistakes when I blog, trying to combine speed with accuracy. Usually they are corrected without much fuss; but when it involves language, and especially French, it gets dramatic.

My friend in France sends me stories about food-related recalls and outbreaks on a daily basis, usually from a French media source. Amy the French professor toiling away downstairs has her own work to do so I try not to bug her.

Lately I’ve been using goggle translate – oh, that’s google, I have a habit of writing goggle –to get the jist of the story and then blog it without bugging the French prof.

So when google translate suggested duck cracklings, I went with eggs, knowing I had a great picture of farm-fresh duck eggs from my colleague Kate. Turns out it was fritons or grattons or grillon, which was translated as cracklings, that showed up positive for listeria at Intermarche Figeac. They are, according to my French friend, small pieces of duck, fried with the fat of the duck (right, exactly as shown).

The French prof says she will use this as a translation anecdote for her students next semester and why humans are better than goggle – google.
 

French farmer kept ducks stoned to prevent worms; court says no

A 60-year-old duck farmer in France received a one-month suspended sentence and a 500 Euro fine after providing cannabis to his waterfowl.

During the hearing the farmer admitted that he also smoked "a little" marijuana and he justified giving it to his 150 ducks as a "purge." He said there is no better way to deworm the birds. He said was advised to do so, but would not name the specialist who gave the advice.

The farmer was caught after he reported a theft at his home in October. Police arrived to discover 12 marijuana plants and a 5 kilo bag of weed.

The police said this was the first time they have seen anything like this even though they are quite accustomed to hearing silly excuses when it comes to narcotics (or that’s how Amy translated that sentence; thanks to Albert for the story tip).