3 dead, 3 sick in UK hospital sandwich outbreak

I’ve told these Australian hospitals to stop serving raw sprouts and cold cuts to immunocompromised people.

They just call me crazy.

Three hospital patients in the UK have died in an outbreak of listeria linked to pre-packed sandwiches.

Public Health England (PHE) said the victims were among six patients affected in England and the deaths occurred in Manchester and Liverpool.

Two of the victims were at Manchester Royal Infirmary, with the other a patient at Aintree Hospital.

Sandwiches and salads from The Good Food Chain linked to the outbreak have been withdrawn and production ceased.

PHE said the products were withdrawn from hospitals when the links to the infections were first identified.

PHE said The Good Food Chain had been supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats which subsequently produced a positive test result for the outbreak strain of listeria.

This business and North Country Quality Foods, who it distributes through, have also voluntarily ceased production.

A spokesman for The Good Food Chain Ltd said the company’s production facility in Stone, Staffordshire, was “cross contaminated by an ingredient from one of its approved meat suppliers”.

At least 20 hospitalised: Salmonella in South Africa

News 24 reports that at least 20 people have been hospitalised due to salmonella poisoning in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, eNCA reported on Saturday.

Lancet Laboratories reportedly alerted doctors in the region about cases in both children and adults.

Food that has been affected include orange juice, eggs, fresh vegetables, frozen dinners, dairy products and peanut butter, based on tests by the laboratory.

Lancet says non-typhoidal salmonella species are the leading cause of bacterial food-borne illnesses.

Jello at an Australian hospital deliberately contaminated with ‘organic’ material (that means poop)

It’s bad enough to live on Jello – like I had to before my recent colonscopy – but when someone deliberately adds shit, at a hospital, things get worse.

ABC News reports jellies and custards at one of Adelaide’s biggest hospitals, Flinders Medical Centre, were contaminated with a “solid organic” product

Police would not rule out faeces, and said the material was being analysed

Health staff are assisting police with a criminal investigation

“We are satisfied that there are no patients who have been fed the contaminated foodstuffs. No threat or claim has been made in connection with this,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Joanne Shanahan said.

Asked whether it was faeces, and what colour the substance was, Assistant Commissioner Shanahan said she could not comment beyond saying the “matter was being forensically analysed”.

The contaminated items were discovered yesterday on a refrigerator tray in a hospital kitchen, and police were notified this morning.

They have now launched a criminal investigation.

“During a routine food safety inspection yesterday a small number of desserts were identified as contaminated,” said Sue O’Neill, the CEO of the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

“Staff were vigilant and isolated the area and raised the alarm. Management then initiated a small assessment team who investigated all other prepared food.”

Ms O’Neill said the contaminant was a “solid, organic-looking product” and was “very obvious”.

Three cases of Listeria linked to deli meats sold at restaurant in Toronto hospital

Public health officials are investigating three cases in which people contracted Listeria infections after eating deli sandwiches at a Toronto hospital.

Toronto Public Health says the individuals were diagnosed with the infection after eating deli meats from the Druxy’s restaurant in Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Officials say the restaurant is currently closed and the owner is co-operating with the agency to make sure there is no further risk to the public.

Druxy’s makes a decent Reuben sandwich and is a chain of some 48 restaurants.

Even though the branch is in a hospital, they probably have their own suppliers separate from the hospital.

Probably.

Regardless, the supplier needs to be tracked down.

As Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director Communicable Diseases NSW Health, said about the outbreak of Listeria in cantaloupe in Australia, “People at risk of listeriosis should always take care with handling and storage of food, including not purchasing pre-cut melons, salads, bagged lettuce, deli meats, raw seafood and sprouted seeds,” Dr Sheppeard said.

People at risk means immunocompromised or pregnant.

The kind of people in hospitals, in Australia and Canada.

And where kinds of foods continue to be served to patients daily.

Bringing mussels to a hospital patient isn’t a good idea

A couple of weeks ago I had a what I thought was the start of a noro nightmare: one of the 9 year-old hockey players I coach told me his stomach wasn’t feeling great. He asked to sit a shift. As I went over to check on him a couple of minutes later, he tilted his head forward and yacked through his mask on the bench. I was in the splash area, forget within the aerosolization zone.

I was lucky. No puking for me.

Norovirus is often linked to events like this, an ill food handler, or a couple of food types: shellfish or berries.

According to the Dunbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter, a couple of these sources got mixed as someone brought mussles into a hospital for a patient and the bivalves led to a bunch of other illnesses.

An outbreak of the winter vomiting bug which forced hospital bosses to ban visitors from wards was caused by someone bringing mussels in for a patient, it has emerged.

Officials have traced its spread to a visitor bringing in mussels for an inpatient at Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington, Northumberland.

It is thought to have affected at least 180 people.

The trust said it was working hard to allow visitors in to see patients over Christmas.

Bringing in food that can cause illness in a loved one is kinda dumb. That loved one causing 180 people to get sick, is even worse.

Hospitals should watch their litigation backside if growing their own produce with no safety talk

I’m not Debbie Downer, but I am Dougie Downer and never get invited to dinner.

This idea has risk written all over it.

Sarah Toy of USA Today writes that high atop the roof of a Boston hospital power plant in the middle of the city, you’ll find something unexpected: A 7,000-square-foot oasis with a lush carpet of green, rows upon rows of mesclun, kale, rainbow chard and a sea of plump green and red tomatoes.

Sounds good, has all the buzzwords except the one that I and anyone serving meals to immunocompromised people in hospitals should care about: microbiologically safe.

“There is an increasing trend in hospital farms,” said Stacia Clinton, the national program director for Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care program, which advises hospitals on ways to provide sustainable and nutritious food. “There’s a greater demand now for people to know where their food is coming from, and hospitals are looking for ways to connect people to their food more directly.”

No mention of produce food safety.

If it’s growing on roofs, birds –Salmonella and Campylobacter factories – are crapping on the stuff, and washing does almost nothing.

Dirty UK hospitals serving out-of-date poorly stored food

I wrote a letter to the hospital in Brisbane where my friend has been holed up, complaining about serving sandwiches with raw sprouts to sick people – or anyone.

brisbane-hospital-foodThere was some totally unscientific answer about how these sprouts were special because they came from a different place and they disappeared from the sick persons menu for a few weeks.

The sprouts are now back.

Nothing new, food hygiene reports obtained by the Press Association under the UK Freedom of Information Act and data from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) concluded that dirty hospitals are serving out-of-date food to patients.

Meals are being prepared in mouldy kitchens, putting vulnerable patients at “high risk” of food poisoning, while others have unclean worktops, food trolleys and sinks.

FSA data also revealed poor rankings for hundreds of care homes and children’s nurseries.

Some 400 hospitals, hospices, care homes, nurseries and school clubs are currently listed as needing “major”, “urgent” or “necessary” improvement.

One care home was infested with cockroaches while another had evidence of rats.

The Patients Association has called the findings “shameful” and “immensely worrying”.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – which rates organisations and businesses from zero to five – is run by the FSA and councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The investigation found:

Eight health and care premises currently have a zero rating – which means urgent improvement is necessary. None are hospitals.

Some 187 have a rating of one – which means major improvement is necessary. Three of these are hospital premises, including the private Priory Hospital in Altrincham, Cheshire (because in the UK, like its bastard child, Australia, private is considered better, except when it comes to the basics)..

hospital-foodAnd 205 are ranked as two – improvement necessary. They include six hospitals and about 100 care homes. Among those given the ranking of two was Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

At Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, an inspection of its kitchens serving patients found:

Sliced chicken two days past its use-by date (hello, Listeria?).

Staff had created their own date labels for when they thought food should be used, creating a “high risk” for patients who might develop food poisoning (food fraud)).

The experts also found leaking sinks, “inadequate” knowledge among staff about how to handle food safely, and mouldy areas, including the salad preparation room.

Food was being kept in fridges with temperatures up to 13C despite rules saying they should be 5C or below to prevent bacteria developing.

Darryn Kerr, director of facilities at Leicester’s Hospitals, said the organisation was “disappointed” by the ratings.

He said catering services were brought back in-house in May after being run by an external provider.

Parkview Residential Care Home in Bexleyheath, south-east London, was found to have an “infestation of Oriental cockroaches” during an August inspection.

The kitchen was closed voluntarily for the second time following a previous warning and inspectors gave it a zero rating.

Ivy House care home in Derby, which specialises in dementia care, scored zero after inspectors found evidence of rat activity.

Not the best idea: serving smoked salmon to hospital patients

I’m not a huge smoked salmon fan, but when there’s not much to choose on a breakfast buffet, I’ll grab some with a bagel and cream cheese.

With its history of Listeria monocytogenes risks, I wouldn’t serve smoked salmon to someone who was immunocompromised.shutterstock_187930064

Or a hospital patient.

According to EJ Insight, a 79-year-old hospital patient in Hong Kong has listeriosis following a smoked salmon sandwich.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) epidemiological investigations revealed that the patient had consumed high-risk foods including sandwiches with smoked salmon provided by the kitchen of the private hospital in late December, Ming Pao Daily reported.

The patient has been confined at the hospital since Sept. 12 last year for several chronic diseases. She developed fever and her body conditions deteriorated since Jan. 1.

While a sample of smoked salmon collected from the hospital kitchen tested negative for Listeria monocytogenes, the patient’s blood culture yielded the bacteria.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department subsequently collected five smoked salmon samples and 19 environmental samples from the factory of Elegant Fine Food Limited, the food supplier, on Shipyard Lane in Quarry Bay.

Four of the samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogene, while all environmental samples were negative.

The CFS has ordered the food supplier to immediately recall all of its smoked salmon products while all of its existing stocks were confiscated. Its production lines have been suspended for sterilization.

A CFS spokesperson said investigations are ongoing.

Why is this on a hospital menu?

Cockroach infestation shuts down cafeteria at California hospital

The cafeteria at St. John’s Health Center – the fabled Santa Monica hospital – was shut down this week after a health inspector found a cockroach infestation in the kitchen, county health officials said.

cockroachAt least 10 live cockroaches were found in the kitchen for the cafeteria, which is located on the second floor of the hospital in the 2100 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Officials at the Westside hospital expect to reopen the cafeteria Saturday, and in the meantime, patients’ visitors are being provided with a list of local restaurants, said Patricia Aidem, a hospital spokeswoman.

“Providence Saint John’s apologizes for the inconvenience to our visitors, physicians and staff and, while it’s difficult to control these natural occurrences, pledges continued diligence in ensuring cleanliness and safety,” the hospital chain said in a statement.

Founded by Roman Catholic nuns in 1942, St. John’s hospital has cared for celebrity patients such as Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and President Ronald Reagan.

Cost of Salmonella

Hospitalized salmonellosis patients with concurrent chronic conditions may be at increased risk for adverse outcomes, increasing the costs associated with hospitalization. Identifying important modifiable risk factors for this predominantly foodborne illness may assist hospitals, physicians, and public health authorities to improve management of these patients.

salm.hospital.nov.15The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify the burden of salmonellosis hospitalizations in the United States, (2) describe hospitalization characteristics among salmonellosis patients with concurrent chronic conditions, and (3) examine the relationships between salmonellosis and comorbidities by four hospital-related outcomes.

A retrospective analysis of salmonellosis discharges was conducted using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Nationwide Inpatient Sample for 2011. A supplemental trend analysis was performed for the period 2000–2011. Hospitalization characteristics were examined using multivariable regression modeling, with a focus on four outcome measures: in-hospital death, total amount billed by hospitals for services, length of stay, and disease severity.

In 2011, there were 11,032 total salmonellosis diagnoses; 7496 were listed as the primary diagnosis, with 86 deaths (case-fatality rate = 1.2%). Multivariable regression analyses revealed a greater number of chronic conditions (≥4) among salmonellosis patients was associated with higher mean total amount billed by hospitals for services, longer length of stay, and greater disease severity (p ≤ 0.05). From 2000 to 2011, hospital discharges for salmonellosis increased by 27.2%, and the mean total amount billed by hospitals increased nearly threefold: $9,777 (2000) to $29,690 (2011).

Observed increases in hospitalizations indicate the burden of salmonellosis remains substantial in the United States. The positive association between increased number of chronic conditions and the four hospital-related outcomes affirms the need for continual healthcare and public health investments to prevent and control this disease in vulnerable groups.

 Salmonellosis Hospitalizations in the United States: Associated Chronic Conditions, Costs, and Hospital Outcomes, 2011, Trends 2000–2011

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease [ahead of print]

Cummings Patricia L., Kuo Tony, Javanbakht Marjan, Shafir Shira, Wang May, and Sorvillo Frank.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2015.1969