Sweden: Mouse pies on fallow sausage in school kitchen—high levels of E. coli

One morning when today’s school lunch was to be cooked at the Torskolan in Torsås, the staff discovered that the falu sausage that would have been cooked was covered with musbajs.

The school called me and told me that something similar to rodent spilling was found on the fallow basket. We then contacted the company from which we buy the sausage, which immediately withdrew it, says Gustaf Nilsson, environmental inspector at Torsås Municipality.

The planned sausage lunch was quickly replaced with soup and a detective work has been underway to find out where the mice have come in.

“I don’t know where they managed to get in, but before it came to school, the sausage was both at a factory and at a transhipment center. However, it is unlikely that it happened at school. The staff has detailed their routines there.

Gustaf Nilsson says he has not been to anything like it before.

“After all, the routines have failed and it is very unfortunate that this has happened. However, the staff at Torskolan did everything right to discover the pellet before starting to cook.”

Samples taken on the sausage show high levels of E. coli, ie some form of stool. The suspicion is that it comes from forest mice.

560 sick with tularemia: Significant rise in Sweden

Outbreak News Today reports that in a follow-up on a report about two weeks ago, Swedish health officials are reporting a significant rise in tularemia cases since the end of July.

As of Monday, about 560 human cases have been reported, much more this time of year than usual and even more than 2015 when 859 people across the country suffered  from the illness.

Most cases of illness are reported from central Sweden (the Dalarna region, Gävleborg and Örebro), but an increasing number of reports are also starting to come in from other regions, especially in northern Sweden.

Since the number of illness cases is usually highest in September in Sweden, the outbreak is expected to grow further in the coming weeks.

Infections in Sweden are mainly seen in forest and field hares and rodents, but the disease has been reported in several other species, including other mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, ticks and unicellular animals.

Tularemia, or harpest as it’s known as in Sweden, is one of the most common native zoonoses in people in Sweden. People are infected mainly through mosquitoes, but also through direct contact with sick or dead animals and by inhalation of, for example, infectious dust.

Vaccines work: Hepatitis A outbreak in Sweden: Fresh dates from Iran are the suspected source

Outbreak News Today reports the Sweden Public Health Authority, or Folkhälsomyndigheten are reporting an outbreak of hepatitis A where the suspected source of infection is fresh dates from Iran.

Of the nine cases reported since late February, eight of the cases are confirmed and have the same type of hepatitis A virus (genotype IIIA) and one case is suspected.

The cases are between the ages of 28 and 73, five are men and four are women. The cases are from seven different counties (Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala, Skåne, Södermanland, Kalmar and Halland). The latest case fell on April 16. Common to the cases is that they regularly eat fresh dates.

In the eight confirmed cases, four different strains with genotype IIIA have been detected. Two of these are similar to the tribes that caused an outbreak in Denmark in 2018 linked to dates from Iran. In that outbreak, several variants of genotype IIIA strains could be detected in the cases. One of these outbreak strains could also be detected in dates.

Health officials continue the investigation to identify the source of the outbreak.

Strawberry fields forever: At least 20 sickened with hepatitis A linked to frozen berries from Poland

Hepatitis A virus is an important cause of food-borne diseases and has been associated with several European outbreaks linked to berries [14]. Here, we describe an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) in Sweden and Austria and the confirmation of frozen strawberries imported from Poland as the source of infection. The aims are to highlight the importance of sequencing in outbreak investigations and, due to the long shelf-life of the food vehicle, to increase awareness and warnings towards HAV infections related to frozen strawberries in Europe.

According to a report by the scientific journal Eurosurveillance, 20 cases of hepatitis A were reported in six districts of Sweden between June and September 2018, of which 17 were confirmed and three were likely. “In combined epidemiological and microbiological studies, imported frozen strawberries produced in Poland were identified as the source of the outbreak,” the journal said. Also in Austria hepatitis A diseases have been associated with strawberries from the same manufacturer.
Swedish and Austrian researchers have identified strawberries as a source of infection for many hepatitis A diseases in their countries. “Examinations and interviews with kitchen staff showed that the strawberries had never been sufficiently heated before serving. Strawberries were the only food that was common to all cases, “says the Swedish experts.

The best protection against hepatitis A is vaccination, which is available for children 12 months and older.

Hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported frozen strawberries by sequencing, Sweden and Austria, June to September 2018

Eurosurveillance 2018;23(41)

Theresa Enkirch1,2Ronnie Eriksson3Sofia Persson3Daniela Schmid4Stephan W. Aberle5,Emma Löf1,6Bengt Wittesjö7Birgitta Holmgren8Charlotte Johnzon9Eva X. Gustafsson8,Lena M. Svensson10Lisa Labbé Sandelin11Lukas Richter4Mats Lindblad3Mia Brytting1,Sabine Maritschnik4Tatjana Tallo1Therese Malm12Lena Sundqvist1Josefine Lundberg Ederth1

 https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.41.1800528

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.41.1800528

The barf museum in Sweden

Maura Judkis of The Washington Post writes buy a ticket to the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmo, Sweden, and it won’t be printed on a slip of paper.

“Your ticket is a vomit bag with our logo,” said Samuel West, the museum’s founder. It’s a joke, but not really: Somewhere between the exhibit on the world’s stinkiest cheese and the free samples of fermented shark meat, someone’s stomach may turn. But, then again, the noni, an Asian fruit nicknamed the “vomit fruit,” is one of the displays. So visitors will already be acclimated to some pretty terrible smells.

Welcome to the world’s first exhibition devoted to foods that some would call revolting. The museum’s name and its contents are pretty controversial — one culture’s disgusting is another culture’s delicacy. That goes for escamoles, the tree-ant larvae eaten in Mexico, or shirako, the cod sperm eaten in Japan, or bird’s nest soup, a Chinese dish of nests made from bird saliva. The name is meant to grab visitors’ attention, but that’s the point that West says he’s trying to make: Disgust is a cultural construct.

“I want people to question what they find disgusting and realize that disgust is always in the eye of the beholder,” said West. “We usually find things we’re not familiar with disgusting, versus things that we grow up with and are familiar with are not disgusting, regardless of what it is.”

For example: Though the museum is in Sweden, he includes surströmming, an incredibly pungent fermented Swedish herring, and salt licorice, which is found throughout the Nordic nations.

100 sick in Sweden from E. coli

Since early July, the number of cases of ehec infection has increased in Sweden. Analyzes show that the majority are of the same type and cases have been reported from several counties, mainly Uppsala and Västra Götaland. According to the investigation, it is a national ehec outbreak that has one or more common sources of infection.

So far, the ehec infection of some fifty people who fell in July could have been linked by molecular biologic analyzes of the genetic engineering of the bacteria. Another fifty-one people were also suspected of being affected. Among the infected are both children and adults.

Since the current type of ehec, O157: H7, has spread to different parts of the country, it is probably about a foodborne infection. Locally, the infection can also be spread from person to person via bathing water.

– This appears to be one of the biggest outbreaks of ehec we have had in Sweden. The germ strain spread may cause serious disease, especially in children. Together with the affected infected units and municipalities, the Swedish Food Administration and the State Veterinary Office, we are working to investigate the outbreak and, above all, try to identify the source of infection and prevent further spread of infection, “says microbiologist Cecilia Jernberg.

50 sick: Sweden investigating two salmonella outbreaks with source unknown

Joe Whitworth of Food Navigator reports Sweden is investigating two Salmonella outbreaks that have infected almost 50 people.

Authorities said they suspect both are foodborne but do not yet know the source.

Since the beginning of May, 13 cases of an unusual Salmonella type (S. Typhimurium MLVA 2-17-N-N-211) have been identified by Folkhälsomyndigheten’s (Public Health Agency’s) microbial monitoring program.

4 dead: Mashed potato machine thought to be source of Listeria contamination in Sweden

The Local reports there have been four deaths in Västra Götaland, in western Sweden, that experts have linked to listeria bacteria. 

Experts at the Centre for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskydd) stressed that all those who passed away were elderly people or affected by other illnesses. 

In other words, they said it was impossible to confirm that listeriosis, the disease caused by listeria bacteria, was responsible for the deaths. 

But the group behind the meals and the local region are not taking any chances, issuing a recall for potentially contaminated products across the region. 

The group behind the products, Food Company, released a statement with information about the items that were affected and their expiration dates. 

The items have an expiration date between May 16th and 25th.

All items – single portion, pre-cooked and chilled packet meals – contained mashed potatoes, with the company explaining that the machine that made the mash was responsible for the bacteria outbreak. 

It added that the machine has since been removed from the production factory.

Salmonella skyrockets in Swedish cats

In just two months, salmonella infection has been detected in 1,007 cats in Sweden. Never before have so many cases been discovered even for a whole year.

It is the Danish Veterinary Office, SVA, which reports the compilation of the number of infected cats. The Salmonella Mite is suspected to come from birds and the cats are infected at the birdboards.

Frecrik Israelsson of SVT reports this year differs from previous years in two ways; partly because the observed cases are so many, partly because the proportion of salmonella positive samples is so high among the suspected samples we get. Now, however, the culmination seems to be reached for this contagion season, “said Elina Lahti, epidemiologist SVA, according to SVA’s website.

Even humans and other animals can be infected with salmonella and SVA encourages those who have had contact with sick cats and birds to wash their hands. Even when handling bird tables and litter boxes, hand washing is important, according to SVA.

4 in family sick from suspected botulism in Sweden

From Pro-Med:

A total of 4 people in a family in Gothenburg suffered from botulism. For this reason,
Eldsberga chark recalls its product “Suha Bosan Point”, Smoked beef
from Bosnia in Sweden.

The meat, totalling more than 40 kg [approx. 88 lb] – with Holland as
its country of origin, – has been sold in bulk at, among other places,
the Orient House between that [7 and 20 Nov 2017]. The meat has also
been found in sandwiches sold by a baguette cafe.

Sime Trosic is the CEO of Eldsberga chark. “It’s hell that someone may
have suffered badly because of our products. I have children myself
and can hardly describe how it would feel if they floated between life
and death, ” he said.

The revocation is made “for cautionary reasons” and according to the
National Food Administration, it has not yet been established that
botulism that the 4 family members suffered from was from the beef.

The Authority continues to investigate the source of infection
together with Goteborg’s Environmental Management and Eldsberga
Chark.

“According to the Swedish Food and Drug Administration, we can work as
usual, they found no mistakes in our routines”, says Sime Trosic. He
urges customers who bought “Suha Bosan Point” during the current
period of time to return it at the place of purchase.

The 4 affected family members have been discharged from the hospital
and are improving. “I’m glad they’re on the improvement path, that’s
most important”, says Sime Trosic.

No further cases of botulism have been found.