53 sick: Rare norovirus GIV foodborne outbreak, Wisconsin, USA

We report a norovirus GIV outbreak in the United States, 15 years after the last reported outbreak. During May 2016 in Wisconsin, 53 persons, including 4 food handlers, reported being ill. The outbreak was linked to individually prepared fruit consumed as a fruit salad. The virus was phylogenetically classified as a novel GIV genotype.

Rare norovirus GIV foodborne outbreak, Wisconsin, USA

Emerging Infectious Diseases vol. 27 no. 4

Leslie Barclay, Tim Davis, and Jan Vinjé

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/27/4/20-4521_article?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_331-DM52806&ACSTrackingLabel=Emerging%20Infectious%20Diseases%20Journal%20-%20Volume%2027,%20Issue%204%20-%20April%202021%20Issue%20Now%20Online&deliveryName=USCDC_331-DM52806

Noro spreads: Almost 5% of students and staff sick from schoo

Prairie City Monroe School District (that’s in Iowa, in the U.S.) officials said nearly 5 per cent of the body and staff were absent Friday due to illness.

School officials said on Thursday, schools reported an abrupt increase in students reporting symptoms of vomiting.

“At first, it appeared to be at our middle school, but as the day went on, we began to see similar symptoms in other buildings. Our school health professionals immediately notified county and state health professionals, and are working very closely with them through this situation,” Superintendent Dr. Michelle Havenstrite said.

Havenstrite said health officials believe the illnesses are likely due to norovirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists norovirus as a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. People easily contract the virus by having direct contact with infected people, consuming contaminated food or water or touching contaminated surfaces.

164 sick: Collective food poisoning in France linked to the consumption of oysters contaminated by norovirus

Food World reports that several collective food poisoning infections possibly linked to the consumption of contaminated oysters have been reported since mid-February 2021 in several regions of France.

Since mid-February 2021, 46 mandatory declarations (DO) of collective food poisoning (TIAC) ​​suspected of being linked to the consumption of oysters have been sent to Public Health France and/or to the General Directorate of food . 

The meal dates at the origin of these toxi-infections are between 02/11/2021 and 02/25/2021 with a majority of meals reported on 02/14 (21 TIAC, 46%). All these TIACs took place in the context of a family meal with between 2 and 8 patients. A total of 164 patients were recorded and two people were hospitalized. 

Stool analyzes carried out by the National Reference Center for Gastroenteritis Viruses in patients following 2 TIACs confirmed the presence of norovirus.

Shellfish collected from individuals who were sick after consuming oysters as well as from suppliers were analyzed by reference laboratories and laboratories approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food: noroviruses were identified. Noroviruses have also been detected in several production areas of consumed oysters.

164 sickened in Aug. Norovirus found in mass food poisoning at Taiwan’s Chiaohsi hotel

The Yilan County Public Health Bureau said Aug. 12 that several customers and employees in the mass food poisoning case at Hotel Royal Chiaohsi (礁溪老爺酒店) had tested positive for norovirus, though it has not been confirmed as the official cause.

Earlier this month, news broke out that 164 people who dined at the Hotel Royal Chiaohsi’s buffet restaurant had experienced symptoms of food poisoning, including a group of Chailease Finance Co. employees that were on a company retreat. Of all the afflicted individuals, 92 have sought medical assistance, according to the health bureau.

The bureau said that a few customers and hotel staff members, including two restaurant workers, have received a positive result for the norovirus test, but no traces of the virus have been found on any of the kitchenware so far. Since the investigation results will determine the hotel’s responsibility and its follow-up settlement, the bureau said more clarification is needed on the true cause of the incident.

151 sickened: Norovirus outbreak causing gastroenteritis in a hotel in Menorca, Spain

To establish the agent responsible for a gastroenteritis outbreak in a hotel in Menorca (Spain) in September 2016.

Methods

The study included epidemiological and laboratory analysis. Environmental and stool samples were examined for bacterial and viral pathogens.

Results

One hundred and fifty-one cases were detected, 123 among the tourists staying in the hotel and 28 affecting the staff. The presence of genotype 2 norovirus was discovered in the microbiological studies of patient’s faeces, as well as in the surface samples of rooms and common areas. The control plan implemented allowed for control of the outbreak.

Conclusions

This study on a genotype 2 norovirus outbreak reveals the importance of a rapid response for controlling these types of outbreaks.

Norovirus outbreak causing gastroenteritis in a hotel in Menorca, Spain

Enfermedades infecciosas y microbiologia clinica

Antonio Doménech-SánchezabElena LasoaEncarnación GenestaraClara I.Berrocala

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eimce.2020.11.001

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2529993X20302008

Norovirus on planes

Human norovirus (HuNoV) is one of the leading causes of acute gastroenteritis globally. HuNoV outbreaks have been recently reported during air travels. Contaminated surfaces are known as a critical transmission route at various settings. The aim of this study was to provide key information about the survival and the decontamination of HuNoV on three commonly touched airplane cabin surfaces.

In this study, we monitored the survival of HuNoV on seat leather, plastic tray table, and seatbelt for 30 days, with and without additional organic load (simulated gastric fluid). The efficacy of two EPA registered anti-norovirus disinfectants were also evaluated. Results showed that HuNoV was detected at high titers (>4 log10 genomic copy number) for up to 30 days when additional organic load was present. Both tested disinfectants were found highly ineffective against HuNoV when the surface was soiled. The study showed that when the organic load was present, HuNoV was highly stable and resistant against disinfectants.

Findings from this study indicated that appropriate procedures should be developed by airline companies with the help of public health authorities to decrease passengers’ exposure risk to HuNoV.

Survival and inactivation of human norovirus GII.4 Sydney on commonly touched airplane cabin surfaces

Public Health 29 July 2020

Dorra Djebbi-Simmons, Mohammed Alhejaili, Marlene Janes, Joan King and Wenqing Xu*

DOI: 10.3934/publichealth.2020046

https://www.aimspress.com/fileOther/PDF/aimsph/publichealth-07-03-046.pdf

Chipotle: Another gift that keeps on giving, $25 million criminal fine for food poisoning

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will, according to Edvard Pettersson of Bloomberg, pay a $25 million criminal fine to resolve allegations by federal prosecutors that its food sickened more than 1,100 people across the U.S. from 2015 to 2018.

It’s the largest fine ever imposed in a food-safety case, according to a statement by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

The criminal charges pertain in part to norovirus outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants. The highly contagious virus can be transmitted by infected food workers handling ready-to-eat foods and their ingredients, according to the statement. It can cause severe symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping.

“Chipotle failed to ensure that its employees both understood and complied with its food safety protocols, resulting in hundreds of customers across the country getting sick,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in the statement announcing the deferred-prosecution agreement.

The Newport Beach, California-based company said that, as part of the agreement, it will its strengthen its food-safety polices and practices.

“This settlement represents an acknowledgment of how seriously Chipotle takes food safety every day and is an opportunity to definitively turn the page on past events and focus on serving our customers real food made with real ingredients that they can enjoy with confidence,” Brian Niccol, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, said in a statement.

Prosecutors alleged that four norovirus outbreaks were caused by employees showing up to work sick, in violation of company policy, and by food products being stored at the wrong temperatures.

A fifth outbreak — which sickened about 647 people in July 2018 who dined at a Chipotle in Ohio — was from Clostridium perfringens, a bacterium found in raw meat and poultry that is one of the most common types of foodborne illness in the U.S. People who get ill from it usually recover in 24 hours and it’s not contagious.

Managers at the company’s restaurants failed on a number of occasions to notify Chipotle’s safety group at its headquarters when an employee had been vomiting at work, according to prosecutors. Instead, the safety analysts would find out only after contacting the restaurant because it had received a complaint from a sick customer. As a result, there were days of delay before the restaurants were sanitized.

The burden of norovirus

Up-to-date estimates of the burden of norovirus, a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in the United States, are needed to assess the potential value of norovirus vaccines in development. We aimed to estimate the rates, annual counts, and healthcare charges of norovirus-associated ambulatory clinic encounters, Emergency Department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.

Methods

We analyzed administrative data on AGE outcomes from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2015. Data were sourced from IBM® MarketScan® Commercial and Medicare Supplemental Databases (ambulatory clinic and ED visits), the Healthcare Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample (NIS; hospitalizations), and the National Center for Health Statistics multiple-cause-of-mortality (MCM) data (deaths). Outcome data (ambulatory clinic and ED visits, hospitalizations, or deaths) were summarized by month, age group, and setting. Healthcare charges were estimated based on insurance claims. Monthly counts of cause-unspecified gastroenteritis-associated outcomes were modeled as functions of cause-specified outcomes, and model residuals were analyzed to estimate norovirus-associated outcomes. Healthcare charges were estimated by applying average charges per cause-unspecified gastroenteritis encounter to the estimated number of norovirus encounters.

Results

We estimate 900 deaths (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 650 – 1100), 110,000 hospitalizations (95%CI: 80,000 – 145,000), 470,000 ED visits (95% CI: 348,000 – 610,000), and 2.3 million ambulatory clinic encounters (95% CI: 1.7 – 2.9 million) annually due to norovirus, with an associated $430 – 740 million in healthcare charges.

Conclusions

Norovirus causes a substantial health burden in the United States each year, and an effective vaccine could have important public health impact.

The burden of norovirus in the United States, as estimated based on administrative data: Updates for medically attended illness and mortality, 2001-2015, 14 April 2020

Clinical Infectious Diseases

Rachel M Burke, PhD, MPH, Claire Mattison, MPH, Talia Pindyck, MD, MPH, Rebecca M Dahl, MPH, Jessica Rudd, MPH, Daoling Bi, MS, Aaron T Curns, MPH, Umesh Parashar, MBBS, MPH, Aron J Hall, DVM, MSPH

https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa438

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa438/5820114

I love the berries but not the Hep A or noro

Foodborne enteric viruses, in particular HuNoV and HAV, are the most common cause of the berry-linked viral diseases, and outbreaks around the world, and have become an important concern for health authorities. Despite the increased importance of berry fruits as a vehicle for foodborne viruses, there is limited information concerning the fate of foodborne viruses in the berry supply chain from farm to consumer.

A comprehensive understanding of berry-associated viral outbreaks – with a focus on contamination sources, persistence, survival, and the effects of current postharvest and processing interventions and practices – is essential for the development of effective preventative strategies to reduce risk of illness.

The purpose of this paper is twofold; (i) to critically review the published literature on the current state of knowledge regarding berry-associated foodborne viral outbreaks and the efficiency of berry processing practices and (ii) to identify and prioritize research gaps regarding practical and effective mechanism to reduce viral contamination of berries.

The review found that fecally infected food handlers were the predominant source of preharvest and postharvest pathogenic viral contamination. Current industrial practices applied to fresh and frozen berries demonstrated limited efficacy for reducing the viral load. While maintaining best practice personal and environmental hygiene is a key intervention, the optimization of processing parameters (i.e., freezing, frozen storage, and washing) and/or development of alternative processing technologies to induce sufficient viral inactivation in berries along with retaining sensory and nutritional quality, is also an important direction for further research.

Outbreaks, occurrence, and control of norovirus and hepatitis A virus contamination in berries: a review, 03 February 2020

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Hayriye Bozkurt,Kim-Yen Phan-Thien,Floris van Ogtrop,Tina Bell &Robyn McConchie

https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2020.1719383

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2020.1719383?journalCode=bfsn20&mc_cid=4f462afa96&mc_eid=3d0743ebc0&

Super sanitation cleaning: Caribbean Princess cruise ship turned back to US after more than 300 catch gastro bug

The Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess Ship left the U.S. on Feb 2 — and after more than a week at sea, was forced to turn back to the U.S. early when it was denied entry to the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Princess was set to have a 14-day trip around the Caribbean, but was forced to turn back to the U.S.

The cruise’s early return comes after it was denied entry to Trinidad and Tobago by the Government of Barbados due to the outbreak on board, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

Princess Cruises said in a statement to The Sun that the ship, which was on a 14-day cruise in the Caribbean, is now on its way back to the Port of Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

The Caribbean Princess ship is scheduled to dock at 7 a.m. on Thursday, three days ahead of its previous Feb. 16 return.

A total of 299 passengers and 22 crew members of the 4,196 people on board got sick with a gastrointestinal bug, causing vomiting and diarrhea.

Princess Cruises said the cruise has “curtailed its voyage out of an abundance of caution due to guests reporting symptoms due to a mild gastrointestinal illness,” in a statement to The Sun.

The ship will undergo a “super sanitation cleaning” when it reaches the Florida port, according to a statement from the CDC.