Crypto: My big barfing Greek wedding

Amanda Devlin of The Sun reports a  bride and groom who thought they were suffering from wedding day jitters had actually been struck down by a gastric illness – as well as half of their guests.

big-fat-greek-weddingGemma Tepper, 32, her partner, Lee, 36, say their big day was ruined by the outbreak of Cryptosporidium – a respiratory and gastic illness – at their hotel on the Greek island of Zante.

Now 60 holidaymakers have hired international personal injury lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, to investigate the outbreak.

Gemma, a transport administration clerk, who was staying at the Marelen Hotel with her husband-to-be and their daughter Sylvie said: “When we both started suffering illness on our wedding day we just put it down to being nervous, but we quickly realised it was a lot more than that when the symptoms continued for the next few days.”

The symptoms persisted and both Gemma and Lee, from Pontefract, West Yorks., were forced to time off work when they returned home.

Tests confirmed Gemma was suffering from Cryptosporidium.

UK holidaymakers sue Thomas Cook after contracting crypto at hotel where staff were seen ‘fishing feces out of the pool’

Qin Xie of the Daily Mail reports a  group of holidaymakers are suing Thomas Cook after they suffered diarrhea and stomach cramps following a stay at a Greek island resort.

caddyshack-pool-poop-1One of the families, who stayed at Marelen Hotel on Zante in August, claimed that they saw staff fishing out fecal matter from the swimming pool before disinfecting it – all while the guests were still in the water.

Several of those filing the suit have allegedly been diagnosed as having contracted Cryptosporidium staying at the hotel.

A total of 17 people are currently involved in the lawsuit and are represented by personal injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell.

Brucellosis linked to raw milk cheese, coupled with Lyme disease, leaves woman bedridden

Reve Fisher of Opposing Views writes a vacation in Greece may have been the factor that left an English woman in debilitating pain.

brucellosis.cheeseWhile in Kos, Greece, with her family in 2013, Sam Philpott ate a “significant amount” of unpasteurized goat cheese in sandwiches, on pizzas, and as part of salads.

A few weeks later, she experienced a number of troubling symptoms, such as constant vomiting and nausea, migraines, intense weakness, fevers, exhaustion, and horrific pain. Three years later, she is barely able to walk.

“Who knew that [unpasteurized] cheese; that is delicious and has brought me much momentary happiness, could cause the mind numbing and wanting to end my life type of pain that I have been suffering with,” she said, as reported by The Mirror. “With each mouthful, to my unfortunate complete lack of knowledge and utter surprise, I was ingesting the bacteria that has led to my being bedridden.”

Sam is receiving intravenous therapy treatment at Sponaugle Wellness Institute in Oldsmar, Florida, a facility with an “incredible” success rate for treating patients with Lyme disease, as said on the family’s Go Fund Me page.

However, it is recommended that patients with Lyme disease be diagnosed within six months for the clinic’s regular treatment to be effective. The 22-year-old has been struggling with health ailments for six years.

In 2010, she was bitten by a tick while in Weimar, California, and developed intense joint pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, and poor concentration afterwards. By 2012, she needed a walking frame. Her 51-year-old mother became her full-time caregiver.

“At the clinic, they have said she is one of the worst patients they have seen, in terms of how far her illness has progressed,” said Joe Philpott, Sam’s 24-year-old brother. “It’s a kick in the teeth, but she has faith they’ll be able to help. She just wants to go back to studying and get her life back.”

Sam is receiving medication for both Brucellosis and Lyme disease, as her symptoms match both conditions.

“Doctors believe that she more than likely contracted brucellosis the summer she was in Kos – so they think it is linked to eating cheese,” Joe explained.

1 dead, 38 sick at Greece baptism party: Maybe it was the feta

One person is dead and two are in critical condition amongst the 38 people who suffered food poisoning after a baptism party in Aspra Spitia, Viotia, in central Greece.

buffet food

buffet food

The baptism party was held on Saturday and afterwards 38 people were transferred to the hospital with severe gastroenteritis symptoms. Health experts claim it was salmonella that caused the mass food poisoning.

According to local website, a 55-year-old man died in the hospital while two others are in intensive care. The 23-year-old son of the man was transferred to an Athens hospital for treatment, while another guest is in intensive care at a Lamia hospital.

A guest who spoke to believes the salmonella was in a specific feta cheese because all the people who ate it ended up in the hospital, while those who didn’t eat the particular cheese showed no gastroenteritis symptoms whatsoever.

An outbreak of a possibly new Salmonella Enterica subspecies enterica serovar with the antigenic formula 11:Z41:E,N,Z15, Greece, March to May 2016

Between 24 March and 27 May 2016, eleven Salmonella spp. isolates with an unusual antigenic type were identified by the National Reference Laboratory for Salmonella and Shigella (NRLSS) in Greece.

salm.greeceThe antigenic type of the eleven isolates was 11:z41:e,n,z15, which is not referred to in the 9th edition of the White-Kauffman–Le Minor Scheme [1]. The isolates were cultured from stool and collected from ten patients with diarrhea; for one asymptomatic case, the sample was obtained during a routine test for acquiring a certificate for occupational use. However, the latter case reported having had gastroenteritis symptoms some weeks before. None of the isolates fermented malonate but all fermented dulcitol, indicating that they belong to Salmonella enterica subspsecies enterica [1]. All were susceptible to the laboratory routine panel of antimicrobial agents, including third generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. Tests were performed using the disk diffusion method and breakpoints according to the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) were applied [2].The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles, after digestion with XbaI according to PulseNet protocol [3], were indistinguishable in 10 of the 11 strains (one result of the last isolated strain is pending) (Figure 1).

According to the database of the NRLSS and of the Veterinary Reference Laboratory for Greece, the antigenic type 11:z41:e,n,z15 has never been identified before from animals, animal products or food samples.

All cases, defined as persons with diarrhoea with the new Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar (n=10), were of Greek nationality (6 male, 4 female). Eight of the cases were children (15 months ̶ 3 years old) and two were adults (28̶ 60 years of age). Cases’ symptoms included diarrhoea (one case had bloody diarrhoea), vomiting and abdominal cramps, and three of them reported fever (≥38.0°C). Three cases reported relapse of symptoms and all cases will be followed up. Three of the identified cases reported a household contact with similar symptoms (another child in the same family). Investigation of the possible household clusters showed that they were most probably co-infected but none of the household contacts was laboratory-confirmed. In this report, only information for laboratory-confirmed cases is presented.

The majority of the cases (n=9) were scattered in the region of Attica, one case was identified in Kastoria in northern Greece, and another in Korinthos, central Greece. Only one case reported travel abroad to Torino, in Italy, five days before the symptom onset. This case stated developing symptoms before returning to Greece. Figure 2 presents the temporal distribution of cases by week of symptom onset.

The PFGE profile [4] was uploaded to the European Surveillance System (TESSy) operated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) (ECDC_ID: f5f0517b-f809–4d2b-973f-3f9c520b9d77) and an urgent inquiry (UI) was launched via the ECDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS) (UI-358). According to the ECDC food- and waterborne diseases curators, no isolates with a matching PFGE profile (XbaI.2460) have been reported to TESSy (personal communication, Saara M. Kotila, ECDC, 25 May 2016). Moreover, none of the 15 countries that replied to the UI had identified the new serovar in the past.

Three of the isolates were sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Salmonella at Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, which is responsible for the validation of new serovars. According to Pasteur Institute, the isolates represent a putative new serotype of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica (personal communication, Francois-Xavier Weill, Pasteur Institute, 26 May 2016).

Laboratory confirmed cases were interviewed by telephone with a standard trawling questionnaire for investigating salmonellosis cases but no apparent epidemiological link has yet been identified. Cases were geographically scattered, had not travelled inside the country, did not have pets or contact with reptiles, and had not participated in any common activities. Based on the results from the trawling questionnaires, no food item emerged as possible source of the infections. Thus, it was decided to further investigate this salmonellosis cluster by performing an analytical study. Given the highly selective nature of food-borne case reporting and in order to reduce recall bias, a case–case study for the identification of possible risk factors was designed [5-7]. This study included a comparison group of Salmonella Enteritidis cases from the Greek Mandatory Notification System (MNS) matched by age (± 1 year), and place of residence. In order to increase the power of the study, the ratio of case–case 1:3 was decided.

A structured web-based trawling questionnaire, containing a long list of possible exposures (food and water consumption, exposures to animals, travel history, activities, etc.) was developed and distributed to all cases (both of unknown Salmonella serovar

According to some preliminary findings, a new Salmonella enterica sub. enterica serovar seems to have caused an outbreak in Greece over two months in the first half of 2016, with 10 cases (and one asymptomatic) as of 27 May. Reported cases are mostly children, however this may be influenced by the fact that laboratory tests are performed more frequently in children with gastroenteritis symptoms than in adults with the same symptoms. We cannot be sure about the geographical distribution of cases. The higher number of cases from Attica may be because more isolates are sent to the National Reference Laboratory from this region. Three cases reported relapse of symptoms. Data on the severity of the disease are also gathered and a case–case study is underway. Final results are pending.

We encourage other countries to contact authors in case of identifying isolates of the new serovar of Salmonella enterica susp. enterica with the antigenic type 11:z41:e,n,z15.

An outbreak of a possibly new Salmonella Enterica subspecies enterica serovar with the antigenic formula 11:Z41:E,N,Z15, Greece, March to May 2016

Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 25, June 2016, DOI:

G Mandilara, K Mellou, K Karadimas, L Georgalis, M Polemis, T Georgakopoulou, A Vatopoulos

‘I paid the guy in meat’ Barter grows in Greece

Thodoris Roussos stood in his butcher’s shop and pointed to a large white delivery truck at the curb.

greece.barterFor months, he had put off replacing the tires, because Greece’s financial crisis had cut into business. But recently, he upgraded the van with a set of good wheels at a price that could not be beat.

“Normally, the tires cost 340 euros, but no money changed hands,” Mr. Roussos said, beaming. “I paid the guy in meat.”

As Greece grapples with a continued downturn, bartering is gaining traction at the margins of the economy, part of a collection of worrisome signs for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who was re-elected on Sunday.

Graphic artists are exchanging designs for olive oil. Accountants swap advice for office supplies. In the agricultural heartland and on the Greek islands, informal bartering, which has historically helped communities survive, has intensified as more people exchange fruits, vegetables, other crops, equipment, clothing and services.