Identification of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O117:H7 in men who have sex with men, England, November 2013 to August 2014

Between November 2013 and August 2014, nine cases of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O117:H7 VT1 were confirmed in adult men. Further investigation using semi-structured interviews revealed that eight cases were United Kingdom (UK)-born men who have sex with men (MSM) who had sexually acquired men.holding.handsinfection in the UK. Most were HIV-positive with high numbers of sexual partners. This behavioral profile resembles that associated with the recent rapid increase in other sexually acquired infections in MSM.

Euro Surveill. 2014;19(43)

Simms I, Gilbart VL, Byrne L, Jenkins C, Adak GK, Hughes G, Crook PD

Beach barf: E. coli O157:H7 hospitalizes 3, closes beach in Bemidji, Minn.

There’s a beach closed somewhere every summer day, usually because of high E. coli counts, often linked to some form of sewage. I don’t report on the closings although am sympathetic if it’s your beach.

But when the beach at Diamond Point Park in Bemidji, Minnesota, was closed Thursday, I paid attention, because three swimmers seem to have acquired not the fecal coliform, but the far more dangerous E. coli O157:H7.

The Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz said three people became ill July 12 and July 13 from E. coli, and health officials have now determined that the common link was that all three had visited the beach sometime from July 8-11, adding,

"We would be looking for other possibilities, like food sources. But the common link appeared to be just the fact that they were swimming."

Minnesota Public Radio News reported that all three of those who became ill from the E. coli O157:H7 were hospitalized, and one person developed a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can affect the kidneys and can be fatal.

Clean the poop off hands before making semi-dried tomatoes — linked to spike in Australian hepatitis A cases

The Age, which is the primary newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, in the state of Victoria, reports that semi-dried tomatoes have been linked to several cases of hepatitis A.

Victoria’s chief health officer John Carnie issued a warning on Friday evening (Friday morning here since they’re about 14 hours ahead) advising people to avoid eating semi-dried tomatoes unless they are thoroughly cooked.

"People who may have semi-dried tomatoes at home should not eat them unless they are thoroughly cooked, such as in pizza and quiche. Restaurants and cafes should also follow this advice.”

The Department of Health and Human Services has received 12 hepatitis A notifications this week and several people infected have reported eating semi-dried tomatoes.

Shigella, E. coli on sugar snaps in Sweden

Eurosurveillance today reports an outbreak of Shigella dysenteriae type 2 infections during May-June 2009 in Sweden, involving 47 suspected cases of whom 35 were laboratory-confirmed.

The epidemiological investigation based on interviews with the patients pointed at sugar snaps from Kenya as the source. Shigella was not detected in samples of sugar snaps. However, Escherichia coli was confirmed in three of four samples indicating contamination by faecal material.

During April to May 2009 outbreaks with Shigella connected to sugar snaps from Kenya were reported from Norway and Denmark. In the three countries trace back of the indicated sugar snaps revealed a complex system with several involved import companies and distributers. In Sweden one wholesale company was identified and connections were seen to the Danish trace back. These three outbreaks question whether the existing international certification and quality standards that are in place to prevent products from contamination by faecal pathogens are strict enough.

No, they’re not.

‘Fecal material’ at N.Y. Applebee’s

Actor John Corbett – Chris on Northern Exposure, Carrie’s boyfriend for awhile on Sex and the City, empathetic husband on The United States of Tara – needs to do a new Applebee’s advert (he’s the voice).

Shigella – it only comes from fecal material.

WSYR-TV is reporting the Onondaga County Health Department in New York state has confirmed seven cases of Shigella in people who recently ate at the Applebee’s in Camillus, and that up to 9,000 people may have been exposed to the bacteria

County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said Shigella is associated with consuming water or food contaminated with fecal matter.

Those who are confirmed ill ate at the restaurant on either Saturday, March 7th or Sunday, March 8th, but the overall window that the Health Department is looking at is between Sunday, March 1st and Friday, March 20th.

The health department waited until Tuesday to announce the illnesses because it had sent stool samples to the lab, and had just gotten the results back.

Health officials are now testing all employees at the restaurant, which remains open.