Avoid pigeon poop, possible source of bad E. coli

Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections in humans cause disease ranging from uncomplicated intestinal illnesses to bloody diarrhea and systemic sequelae, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

pigeon-poop-shamelessPrevious research indicated that pigeons may be a reservoir for a population of verotoxigenic E. coli producing the VT2f variant. We used whole-genome sequencing to characterize a set of VT2f-producing E. coli strains from human patients with diarrhea or HUS and from healthy pigeons. We describe a phage conveying the vtx2f genes and provide evidence that the strains causing milder diarrheal disease may be transmitted to humans from pigeons.

The strains causing HUS could derive from VT2f phage acquisition by E. coli strains with a virulence genes asset resembling that of typical HUS-associated verotoxigenic E. coli.

Whole-Genome characterization and strain comparison of VT2f- producing Eschericha coli causing hemolytic uremic syndrome

Emerging Infectious Dieseaes, Volume 22, Number 12- December 2016,  DOI: 10.3201/eid2212.160017


$1.6 M lawsuit claims Calgary siblings infected with E. coli after eating at Vietnamese restaurant

Kevin Martin of the Calgary Herald reports a $1.6-million lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Calgary brother and sister who were infected with E. coli, allegedly from eating tainted food at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Chi Lan Vietnamese RestaurantThe lawsuit filed on behalf of minors Hunter and Julia Aloisio said both were infected with E. coli after dining at the Chi Lan Vietnamese Restaurant on July 31, 2014.

It says Hunter Aloisio was impacted most by the infection, developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The boy required dialysis to treat the illness and is now susceptible to kidney failure, the lawsuit says.

The claim names the restaurant, as well as its suppliers and “upstream defendants,” unidentified companies “involved in the livestock slaughter and dressing industry, the farming industry and/or the secondary processing industry.”

“The defendants were negligent and breached the standard of care owed to the plaintiffs,” the statement of claim filed on behalf of the siblings says.

“The defendants owed the plaintiffs a duty of care to ensure that their products, including the restaurant food, were safe for consumption and would not expose the plaintiffs to contaminants such as E. coli bacteria,” it says.

Utah girl, 8, dies from Shiga-toxin producing E. coli

A family in American Fork is receiving an outpouring of support after an 8-year-old girl became sick last week, was rushed to a hospital but died five days later.

hannah.jolley.e.coliBrian and Melissa Jolley never imagined they would be making funeral plans for their daughter, Hannah.

“She always wanted to play with her friends, loved playing with friends,” Melissa Jolley said.

On the morning of July 14, she started showing symptoms typical of the flu. But her condition quickly deteriorated.

“Come Thursday night she had a really, really hard night. And Friday morning we could tell she was in a lot of pain,” Brian Jolley said.

Doctors at Utah Valley Hospital quickly diagnosed her with E. coli. She was later flown to Primary Children’s Hospital. Last Monday she had a seizure, and doctors determined Hannah had hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that destroys red blood cells.

The most common cause of HUS, particularly in children, is E. coli infection.

“We have no idea how she got the E. coli. At this point it’s not important,” Brian Jolley said. “We want answers someday. Of course, we want to know where it came from.”

Hannah died Tuesday night, and since then the show of support from the community has been non-stop. Hand-made decorations, chalk art and ribbons decorate the Jolleys’ home in American Fork. Complete strangers have phoned and emailed the family to offer support.

Shiga-toxin producing E. coli: Montessori school closed after 2 students hospitalized

The Washington, Monroe Montessori School was closed Wednesday after two young children were hospitalized with E. coli.

The girls are both under the age of 5 and were hospitalized. Only one of the girls has a confirmed kidney issue called HUS, which indicates a more serious case of E. coli. Her condition has not been released.

Sixty other preschoolers and 10 staff members may have been exposed. Everyone who has been at the school since July 11 is being tested.  Test Kits will be sent to parents Thursday, and results can take about five days.

Although it is not the source of the E. coli, the school is also being sanitized.

“The exact source of contamination in E. coli can be very difficult to identify, but at this point we believe the children were likely exposed to livestock near their home,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Health District.

Cottage cheese positive: More clues in Romanian HUS outbreak

The Romanian Institute of Hygiene and Veterinary Public Health (BIP) received, until 29 February 2016 a total of 337 samples of food samples taken from the Ministry of Health indicated and notified through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed

UnknownTo these are added a total of 59 samples , received until March 3, 2016 in samples of joint teams DSV – DSP ​​of water, dairy products and raw material milk and 15 samples from samples of dairy products, required to be analyzed by the owner of the milk processing in Arges county, under the program of self-control.

By that date, the total of 411 samples received , 312 have been completed (two with positive results) and 99 samples are in progress .

Data from ANSVSA checks indicate that there is a direct causal link between the cottage cheese product from the lot on 22.02.2016 and illnesses of children diagnosed with HUS.

Please note that pasteurization of raw milk from the group ensures the bacteria Escherichia coli (including O26) , and the resulting products are safe for consumption.

Regarding the positive sample detected in poultry meat (if Bacau), clarified that the appropriate heat treatment and compliance with hygiene prevents transmission of bacteria from the group Escherichia coli.

60 sickened: Lawsuit filed in Wash. fair E. coli outbreak

The Bellingham Herald reports that the families of six children sickened in the E. coli outbreak at the Milk Makers Fest last April are suing the organizer of the event, the organization behind the Lynden fairgrounds, and the Lynden School District.

handwash.UK.petting.zoo.09A total of 60 people likely were ill, according to a report issued by the CDC in October.

The lawsuit is being filed in Whatcom County Superior Court against the Whatcom County Dairy Women, Northwest Washington Fair Association and the Lynden School District.

It argues that the organizations failed to protect children from being infected by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, the strain that sickened them, because they didn’t follow established public health rules and guidelines, including from the National Association of State Public Heath Veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such measures are meant to reduce illness in people who come into contact with farm animals.

“Why don’t you do what the law says you should do and what public health has indicated works?” said attorney Bruce Clark, who represents the families, in an interview.

He said there was an enormous wealth of information that showed this outbreak could have been prevented. “It’s a darn shame it happened,” Clark said.

Attorneys for the organizations couldn’t be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

About 1,325 Whatcom County first-grade students, plus the teachers and parents who accompanied them, from all school districts in Whatcom County went to the Milk Makers Fest April 21-23 at the Northwest Washington Fair & Event Center in Lynden. The festival had been going on for 22 years by then.

The event was designed to introduce young students to farming. It also gave them a chance to pet farm animals, including small horses, sheep, rabbits, chickens and a calf. There was a hay maze and scavenger hunt as well.

People who helped set up and take down the event — on April 20 and 24 — also were among those who were sickened. Some of those who attended the event later spread it to others who hadn’t, including family members.

Of the total number of people who were ill, 25 were confirmed through tests and 35 were probable. Eleven were hospitalized. Six developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication. No one died.

The organizations also didn’t make sure all children washed their hands with soap and water after leaving the dairy barn and before eating or drinking, nor were they told to keep their fingers out of their mouths until they washed their hands, according to the lawsuit.

The CDC report in October stated that animals, including cattle, had been exhibited in the barn during previous events and that before the dairy education event, tractors, scrapers and leaf blowers were used to move manure to a bunker at the north end of the barn.

The group that used the barn before that was identified as the Whatcom Youth Fair in the lawsuit, which states that the fairgrounds had given the group the option of cleaning the barn themselves or paying a fee to have it cleaned.

“You’re basically blowing bacteria through your facility,” Clark said of using leaf blowers.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health 62:90-99, 2015

G. Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman  and D. Powell


Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the US caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.


Women more at risk than men of developing HUS from STEC E. coli in Japan

Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections usually cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) equally in male and female children. This study investigated the localization of globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) in human brain and kidney tissues removed from forensic autopsy cases in Japan.

e.coli.japanA fatal case was used as a positive control in an outbreak of diarrheal disease caused by STEC O157:H7 in a kindergarten in Urawa in 1990. Positive immunodetection of Gb3 was significantly more frequent in female than in male distal and collecting renal tubules.

To correlate this finding with a clinical outcome, a retrospective analysis of the predictors of renal failure in the 162 patients of two outbreaks in Japan was performed: one in Tochigi in 2002 and the other in Kagawa Prefecture in 2005.

This study concludes renal failure, including HUS, was significantly associated with female sex, and the odds ratio was 4·06 compared to male patients in the two outbreaks. From 2006 to 2009 in Japan, the risk factor of HUS associated with STEC infection was analyzed. The number of males and females and the proportion of females who developed HUS were calculated by age and year from 2006 to 2009. In 2006, 2007 and 2009 in adults aged >20 years, adult women were significantly more at risk of developing HUS in Japan.

Risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli infection in adult women in Japan

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 5, April 2016, Pages 952-961, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268815002289 

Fujii, T. Mizoue, T. Kita, H. Kishimoto, K. Joh, Y. Nakada, S. Ugajin, Y. Naya, T. Nakamura, Y. Tada, N. Okabe, Y. Maruyama, K. Saitoh, and Y. Kurozawa


Just cook it doesn’t cut it: 2-year-old dies from E. coli related HUS in Argentina

Health Minister of the province Roberto Schwartz confirmed the death of a 2-year-old admitted Feb. 21, 2016 to the San Luis Hospital with characteristic symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome.

hemolytic-uremic-syndromeSchwartz, who described the outbreak as “sporadic,” said the province has the inputs and technology needed to diagnose and treat the disease, which occurs by exposure to bacteria in poorly cooked meat or through (poor) food processing. The minister recommended using domestic prevention measures such as cooking red meats, especially hamburgers, sausages and meatballs, at a suitable temperature, and washing hands before handling food, as well as appropriate kitchen hygiene to avoid cross-contamination of food.

The case that triggered the alert was preceded by that of a child from Mendoza, who vacationed in San Luis and entered the hospital on Jan. 28, 2016 with the same diagnosis, although it is unclear whether the cases are related.

Christian duty to help, but better to prevent E. coli and HUS

A benefit roping was held Thursday night at the Roosevelt County Fair, New Mexico, for 2-year-old Melrose resident Eliza Dodd, who was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Eliza DoddHUS is an E. coli-related infection that involves loss of motor skills and kidney problems. Dodd arrived home from a 45-day stint at the children’s hospital in Fort Worth about two weeks before the benefit roping.

Event coordinator and roper Jarryd Burris said the event was an incredible success.

“It was excellent to make a significant difference in the lives of a really great family,” Burris said.

The event had over 300 teams, and between the stray gathering won by Jacob and Wesley Gudgell and the team roping, the event collected over $10,000 in donations for the family for medical costs. This surpassed Burris’ original goal of $6,000.

“We are hoping that amount should take the pressure off,” Burris said.

Eliza must receive soliris infusions every two weeks in Lubbock as well as take up to six medications a day.

She is still experiencing extreme fatigue, stomach issues and low kidney function, said Jana, but she has regained the majority of her motor function, speech and brain activity.

 “It is our Christian duty to help those in need,” Price’s daughter Mindy Oder said. “It’s the concept of doing unto others what you would have done unto you.”

Two more children with E.col O55-linked HUS in Dorset, UK

Pathogens can move through a family quickly. Once a foodborne bug gets into a home (and its toilets) others are at increased risk of illness. My Campylobacter saga ended with a secondary case in our household – Jack (who was 14 months old) got sick about 10 days after I did. Fortunately neither of us had any long-term effects.

There’s a bunch of E. coli O55 in Dorset (UK); at least ten were ill last year with the rare STEC and no source was identified.ecoli-1184px

BBC reports that a Dorset family is dealing with two children who have been diagnosed with HUS, also linked to E. coli O55.

Public Health England (PHE) said they were from the same family as two children being treated in hospital for serious kidney problems following E. coli 055.

PHE has informed schools and workplaces linked to the household. Results on another possible case are awaited.

The two children are currently in hospital with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) – a complication of E coli infection.

Ten people in the Blandford area of Dorset were diagnosed with E. coli 055 between July and November 2014.

A further two cases were identified in Portland, four in Bournemouth and Poole as well as three cases outside the county which had links to people from Dorset.

Nursery children were among those infected with the bacterial illness, which can lead to kidney problems in some cases.