Norway finds Salmonella outbreaks linked to countries visited

During summer 2016, Norway observed an increase in Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Chester cases among travellers to Greece.

Our aim was to investigate genetic relatedness of S. Chester for surveillance and outbreak detection by core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) and compare the results to genome mapping.

We included S. Chester isolates from 51 cases of salmonellosis between 2000 and 2016. Paired-end sequencing (2 × 250 bp) was performed on Illumina MiSeq. Genetic relatedness by cgMLST for Salmonellaenterica subsp. enterica, including 3,002 genes and seven housekeeping genes, was compared by reference genome mapping with CSI Phylogeny version 1.4 and conventional MLST.

Confirmed travel history was available for 80% of included cases, to Europe (n = 13), Asia (n = 12) and Africa (n = 16). Isolates were distributed into four phylogenetic clusters corresponding to geographical regions. Sequence type (ST) ST411 and a single-locus variant ST5260 (n = 17) were primarily acquired in southern Europe, ST1954 (n = 15) in Africa, ST343 (n = 11) and ST2063 (n = 8) primarily in Asia. Part of the European cluster was further divided into a Greek (n = 10) and a Cypriot (n = 4) cluster. All isolates in the African cluster displayed resistance to ≥ 1 class of antimicrobials, while resistance was rare in the other clusters.

Whole genome sequencing of S. Chester in Norway showed four geographically distinct clusters, with a possible outbreak occurring during summer 2016 related to Greece. We recommend public health institutes to implement cgMLST-based real-time Salmonella enterica surveillance for early and accurate detection of future outbreaks and further development of cluster cut-offs.

Whole genome sequencing of Salmonella Chester reveals geographically distinct clusters, Norway, 2000 to 2016

Siira Lotta, Naseer Umaer, Alfsnes Kristian, Hermansen Nils Olav, Lange Heidi, Brandal Lin T. Whole genome sequencing of Salmonella Chester reveals geographically distinct clusters, Norway, 2000 to 2016. Euro Surveill. 2019;24(4):pii=1800186.

Everyone’s got a camera: Fake food poisoning Gangnam Style

Dancing Gangnam Style by the side of a swimming pool in Cyprus, Liam Royle appears full of life.

Yet according to him, he was suffering from food poisoning he had developed while on his holiday – experiencing stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

The 23-year-old made a fraudulent sickness claim against Jet2holidays, stating that he suffered from “personal injury” and a “loss of enjoyment” while staying at Papantonia Hotel Apartments, and also “missed meals, excursions, swimming time and other general activities”.

However, when Royle’s former girlfriend became aware of his dishonesty, she contacted the company with a rather incriminating dossier which showed that instead on his holiday, Royle visited the nearby town of Ayia Napa, where he walked around the shops and ate a McDonalds, did not miss meals, drank beer and cocktails, swam in the pool, and was even filmed dancing Gangnam Style.

Instead, the woman who wishes to remain anonymous continued, the 2015 holiday was “fabulous”.

In light of the evidence, Jet2holidays challenged the Manchester man’s claim, and a district judge ruled that he was “fundamentally dishonest” and ordered he pay the company more than £6,000 in costs.

Everyone has a camera, especially for selfies: UK couple who claimed holiday was ruined by food poisoning caught out by posting snaps on Facebook

Martin Naylor of the Mirror reports a brazen couple claimed they fell in with food poisoning while on holiday – only to put up pictures of themselves having fun and eating luxury meals on social media.

Leon Roberts and Jade Muzoka pleaded guilty to fraud and have been warned by a judge that they can face jail.

The couple falsely claimed their holiday in Turkey was ruined in a scam that could have cost travel firm TUI £50,000 had they not been caught out, the Derby Telegraph reports.

But despite the pair discontinuing their story before a penny was paid out, the company chose to prosecute.

District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “It would fly in the face of common sense to regard this as an isolated incident.

“It is a real problem in Great Britain and has a real impact on the genuine persons who suffer that make genuine claims and put those who do suffer illness on holiday under suspicion.

“This (the offences) is outside the (sentencing) guidelines because it encourages a tsunami of false claims.

“All (sentencing) options are open at this stage and this is a serious case and it may be that a custodial sentence will follow to show the importance of your wrongdoing.”

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court was told how Roberts, 37, of Alvaston, and Muzoka, 27, from Sinfin, spent a week at the luxury Cornelia Golf Resort and Spa, in Turkey, in July 2015.

The following April, the pair submitted claims through their solicitor saying they both fell ill during their time away.

But investigators discovered photographs of the couple, who are no longer together, lounging by the pool, drinking and eating dinner.

Posers: UK holidaymakers warned with prison if they fake food poisoning on holiday

A bout of food poisoning is the preferred excuse for celebrities too hungover to perform (see the celebrity barf section of

But now, the country whose contributions to international cuisine have been mushy peas and mad cow disease, the country whose regulators say with a straight face to cook meat until it’s piping hot, is now saying that Brits abroad who fake food poisoning on holiday to get compensation will now face jail as tour operators crack down on a multi-million pound con.

I have no idea how true any of this is, and sounds more like company PR, but according to The Sun, travel firm Abta claims cowboy firms are telling holidaymakers that they won’t be prosecuted if they falsely claim to be unwell.

They even bombard returning Brits with cold calls and messages on social media asking to submit sickness compensation claims following their holiday.

In the past 18 months, UK holidaymakers submitted almost 4,000 sickness claims.

That compares to just 114 from Germans and 39 Scandinavians.

But penalties for those found to be lying include a fine, criminal record and potential imprisonment either in the UK or in the destination of their holiday.

Since spring last year, there have been 15 times more illness claims made to travel firm Tui.

It’s after tens of thousands of UK holidaymakers claimed they had got food poisoning while on holiday across the globe.

Abta’s chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Holidaymakers need to understand that making a fraudulent claim will have consequences.

“People tempted to fabricate holiday sickness in order to make a claim should be aware that this is a crime and that they risk ending up in jail either in the UK or abroad.”

A government initiative plans to wipe out rogue companies encouraging Brits to make fake claims.

Last month it emerged the Ministry of Justice had issued six warnings and got six cowboy websites taken down.

Save the poop and get it tested.

It’s hard to poop on vacation

More than 100 million people in the U.S. are expected to travel at some point between this Christmas and New Year’s Day—and each and every one of them will take roughly 100 trillion intestinal microbes along for the ride.

poop.travelsAmong the various other things influenced by these gut bacteria—like eating habits, for example—they also help control how much, or how little, a person poops. For many travelers, “how little” is the operative phrase: By one estimate, as many as 40 percent of people experience constipation while they’re away from home, due partially to their gut bacteria’s reaction to the change of setting.

“Any time you leave your general habitat, it’s throwing your gut microflora off balance,” says Brooke Alpert, a New York-based registered dietician. Sometimes, that begins before you reach your new destination: In some people, the very act of traveling from point A to point B can cause constipation. Movement stimulates the gut, so sitting on a plane or in a car for long periods of time can cause the intestines to clog; ignoring the urge to go while in the air or on the road can also make it more difficult once you finally sit down on the toilet.

Time differences can also pose a problem. Many people have a normal bowel-movement routine, pooping at regular intervals throughout the day. But when jetlag or a new time zone shifts that schedule ahead or backwards by a few hours, it can mess up that routine, causing constipation.

Even the stress of traveling can make it difficult for people to poop while they’re away. Researchers have nicknamed the gut “the second brain” for the millions of neurons that line the intestines. These cells play a role in digestion, but less understood is the interplay between a person’s gut and her mental state. Researchers do know, however, that things like anxiety can affect the way this “second brain” functions. (Think of butterflies in the stomach, or a stomach tied up in knots.)

Ebola: Now is the time for discreet barfing

Sometimes I can handle vomit like a pro. Landing from a three-hour flight and when the plane touched the tarmac, my daughter was spewing. I had the bag and calmly departed the plane.

Image10Other times, the smell is enough  to set me off like the pie-eating scene in Stand By Me (left, exactly as shown).

And it’s much more likely to be Norovirus than Ebola.

Barf stories are now everywhere with this ebola thing, and anyone who vomits better be discreet or they will end up wrapped in plastic.

Emirates Flight 237 was surrounded by emergency service vehicles at Boston Logan Aiport as haz-mat teams boarded the plane.

The flight originated in Dubai.

None of the people on board the jet were thought to have come from West Africa.

At 9:44PM passenger Tracy Barahona tweeted: “Ok just announced that all patients of concern have been removed from plane.”

A spokesman for the airport said the five passengers were “exhibiting flu-like” symptoms.

The ill passengers are believed to be Saudi Arabian.

The first lab tests of a Kansas City, Kan., man admitted to the University of Kansas Hospital on Monday indicate that he does not have Ebola, the hospital said Tuesday.

The man will remain in a hospital isolation unit until results of confirmatory tests by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention become available in the next day or two. Hospital officials are hopeful.

Bulgarian holiday from hell for UK family

In July 2008, Amanda Lakin took her 12 and 13-year-old sons and her 75-year-old mother, who had battled cancer, on an all-inclusive trip from the U.K. to the Royal Park Hotel, Bulgaria.

The family faced dead flies on food in the buffet, which staff seemed reluctant to throw away, and birds sat feeding off the buffet.

“I also saw staff filling the water bottles, which we all took drinks from, with the hose they used to water the garden. There was the most appalling lack of hygiene everywhere.”

After several days Miss Lakin made it down to the reception where she was stunned by what she found.

“It was like a film, there was so many sick people. There was little kids being carried by parents with drips coming out of their arms. I’ve never seen anything like it. Everyone was trying to get help.”

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is taking legal action on behalf of 276 clients against First Choice after it denied responsibility for the outbreak of illness suffered by guests between June and October 2008.

The firm has already successfully recovered a substantial settlement for 95 holidaymakers who fell ill at the resort in 2004, 2005 and 2007.

The Bulgarian currency is the lev. Amy’s got a bunch for sale on craigslist.

Top-5 Records presents: World’s Worst pizza, street food, drink

The Titanic Awards, celebrating the worst of travel, by Doug Lansky, described as an accomplished travel writer currently residing in Sweden and past columnist of The Vagabond, a Chicago Tribune humorous adventure travel column.

World’s Worst Pizza
"Many contenders but the pub in Nimbin, northern New South Wales, Australia wins. How could the Australian centre for dope smoking, hippy free living produce something so bloody awful?"
Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet founder

World’s Worst Menu Item In An Actual Restaurant
"Boiled Fermented Cow’s Nose, Denpasar, Bali. (There is a note on this item, in English: "The flavor may not agree with some Westerners." True, that.)"
Tim Cahill, adventure travel writer, humorist, and author of many books, including Lost in My Own Backyard

World’s Worst Train Station Menu
"A restaurant in Greece offered "vagina" as one of the chef’s specialties. I declined to try it."
Martin Dunford, publisher of the Rough Guides series World’s Worst Food

World’s Worst Street Food
"Random pig organs reheated atop a sheet of corrugated metal. No idea which organs they were. Protein is hard to come by in some parts of the Andes."
Thomas Kohnstamm, author of more than a dozen Lonely Planet guidebooks and Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?

World’s Worst Military Food
"French MREs [Meals, ready-to-eat]. You’d think they’d have this gourmet stuff, but they had two dozen flavors of greasy southern French crap that even the peasants wouldn’t touch."
Robert Young Pelton, filmmaker, speaker, and author of several books, including The World’s Most Dangerous Places

The second annual Titanic Awards by July 30 at

Top-8 countries for barfing while on vacation

It’s a fact of the traveller’s life that you’re going to get sick while you’re on the road.

So writes Ben Abraham in the Sydney Morning Herald’s travel blog, which follows below.

There’s some great food in Peru – ceviche is like God’s gift to tongues. But uncooked fish isn’t always the best thing for travellers, and there’s some other stuff there that can make you violently ill. And it’s not what you’d expect. I ate a guinea pig and was fine. I ate a hamburger and spent four days lying in a hotel room sweating like Renton’s cold turkey scene in Trainspotting.

The first sign is the butcher on the side of the road with his wares laid out in bamboo baskets. Refrigeration’s not big here. Then there are all the weird and wonderful things that are just eaten as a matter of course. Washed down with home-brewed street beer.

It may not be typical, but the sickest I’ve ever been was in Uganda, and I assume it was something I ate, so that’s what I associate the place with. For the record, the toilet blocks of a Kampala campsite aren’t the best place in the world to spend your much-anticipated holiday.

I’ve never actually been to Nepal, but I’m yet to meet anyone who hasn’t come back from there without a horror story. My friends Russ and Rox had an unfortunate case of dual food poisoning in Kathmandu, and found that nothing brings a couple closer together than having to stand outside the bathroom waiting for your partner to finish vomiting so you can go in and have your turn.

Not food poisoning, as such. I just ate so much I felt sick. Every night.

I love street food, and never had a bad experience in India, so when I visited Bangladesh, I was keen for some more of that action. That is, until the girl I was staying with put me off slightly. "See the open drains running next to them on the street," she said, pointing near the vendors’ carts. "Where do you think they get their cooking water from? Don’t. Eat. The street food." Plus, giardia is rife.

You can travel relatively safely in China. You can order food you recognise, or just spend your time solely at that bastion of communist ideals, KFC. Or, you can take a chance, and give everything a shot. Most of it will be delicious. But I defy anyone to plow through an entire Sichuan meal without it doing some atomic damage to their insides.

There’s a problem with Thai food: it all tastes so good. Meaning, you want to try everything. Every bizarre morsel you find in street stalls and markets and restaurants looks like it has to be eaten. The end result will be a few hours riding the porcelain, but it’s usually worth it.