E. coli O157, England and Wales

I am fascinated with viruses, and we’re all hosts on a viral planet.

We used whole-genome sequencing to investigate the evolutionary context of an emerging highly pathogenic strain of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 in England and Wales.

A timed phylogeny of sublineage IIb revealed that the emerging clone evolved from a STEC O157:H7 stx-negative ancestor ≈10 years ago after acquisition of a bacteriophage encoding Shiga toxin (stx) 2a, which in turn had evolved from a stx2c progenitor ≈20 years ago. Infection with the stx2a clone was a significant risk factor for bloody diarrhea (OR 4.61, 95% CI 2.24–9.48; p<0.001), compared with infection with other strains within sublineage IIb. Clinical symptoms of cases infected with sublineage IIb stx2c and stx-negative clones were comparable, despite the loss of stx2c. Our analysis highlighted the highly dynamic nature of STEC O157:H7 Stx-encoding bacteriophages and revealed the evolutionary history of a highly pathogenic clone emerging within sublineage IIb, a sublineage not previously associated with severe clinical symptoms.

Highly pathogenic clone of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7, England and Wales, December 2018

Emerging Infectious Diseases vol. 24 no. 12

Lisa Byrne, Timothy Dallman, Natalie Adams, Amy Mikhail, Noel McCarthy, and Claire Jenkins

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/12/18-0409_article

Indian takeaway which had no sink and served raw chicken ordered to pay £42K in UK

Latifa Yedroudj of the Mirror reports an Indian takeaway boss has been ordered to pay £42,000 in fines after food hygiene inspectors found his restaurant did not have a sink.

Mr Biryani restaurant in Slough, Berkshire has been slammed for breaching food hygiene requirements 10 times over the past two years since the eatery opened for business.

Owner Santosh Ragalpavi Balasubramaniam, 37, from Maidenhead, Berks has been slapped with staggering fines after inspectors found his chefs did not have a sink to wash their hands and served undercooked chicken.

The restaurant was also ordered to dispose of all of its food and disinfect the premises after sewage water flooded the basement.

More Brits could still die from human form of mad cow disease

More Brits could be affected by mad cow disease as experts warn many could be infected without knowing. A second wave of deaths related to eating beef contaminated with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – or mad cow disease – could sweep the UK.

In 1993 Britain’s worst food scandal saw 4.4 million cows culled and claiming the lives of 177 people who had developed the human form of it, called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Since then, strict controls have been in place to prevent BSE contaminating food products and the use of meat and bone mix is illegal. But humans could be affected for up to 50 years, warn experts. Neurology professor, Richard Knight, of Edinburgh’s CJD Surveillance Unit, told a BBC investigation – airing July 11 – that it is still unclear how many could be affected. He said: ‘There is still so much uncertainty about this disease.

‘And one of the things that is uncertain is how many people in the UK are silently infected. ‘At the moment I have to say we are simply not sure, but every prediction suggests there are going to be further cases.’ vCJD is caused by prions, which are infectious agents made up mainly of proteins. A study of a similar disease in 2009, caused by prions, showed the disease may incubate undetected for much longer. All affected had carried the same MM genetic makeup, but in 2009 victim Grant Goodwin, 30, became the first person to die of vCJD, despite carrying the different gene type of MV. In 2014, a British man, 36, became the second MV carrier to die from the disease.

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”.

Just like my partner is saddened about me: Jamie Oliver ‘saddened’ after UK restaurant empire collapses; never knew shit about food safety

My family, some of my friends, and most importantly my partner, have sold me out in the name of, we just want you to get better.

I tell them for years there’s weird things going on in my head, since I started taking pucks there in 1967, now they just want to lock me up.

I’d rather be creative.

And not like Jamie Oliver.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has issued an emotional statement after his UK restaurant chain collapsed into administration, putting at least 1300 jobs at risk.

The celebrity chef’s firm Jamie’s Italian Limited – which includes 23 Jamie’s Italian restaurants and 15 Barbecoa outlets – has appointed KPMG as administrators.

In a statement, Oliver said he and staff had “put our hearts and souls into the business” and described the administration as a “difficult time for everyone”.

He said: “I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.

Crocodile tears.

Raw is risky: Noro sickens 180 at UK hospital because someone thought bringing raw mussels in was a good idea

This story is from Dec. 2017, but instructive.

Do not bring raw anything into a hospital full of immunocompromised people (those NZ mussels are cooked).

And I’m still looking at you, Brisbane Private Hospital, for continuing to serve raw sprouts on everything.

The Bailiwick Express reports that an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug (we call it Norovirus) which forced hospital bosses to ban visitors from wards was caused by someone bringing mussels in for a patient, it has emerged.

Over Christmas, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust will partially lift the restriction on visitors, introduced after norovirus spread across a number of sites.

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.

Shellfish can harbour the norovirus infection.

Lotsa Norovirus on produce in UK

To acquire data on contamination with Norovirus in berry fruit and salad vegetables in the United Kingdom, 1,152 samples of fresh produce sold at retail in the UK were analysed for Norovirus.

Of 568 samples of lettuce, 30 (5.3%) were Norovirus-positive. Most (24/30) lettuce samples which tested positive for Norovirus were grown in the UK and 19 of those 24 samples contained NoV GI. Seven/310 (2.3%) samples of fresh raspberries were Norovirus-positive. Most (6/7) of the positively-testing fresh raspberry samples were imported, but no predominance of a genogroup, or any seasonality, was observed. Ten/274 (3.6%) samples of frozen raspberries were Norovirus-positive. The country of origin of the positively-testing frozen raspberry samples was not identified in most (7/10) instances.

The collected data add to the currently limited body of prevalence information on Norovirus in fresh produce, and indicate the need for implementation of effective food safety management of foodborne viruses.

Norovirus in produce sold at retail in the United Kingdom

Cook, N., Williams, L., & Dagostino, M. (2019). Prevalence of . Food Microbiology, 79, 85-89. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2018.12.003

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002018304386?dgcid=rss_sd_all

UK family still waiting for answers one year after E. coli poisoning

The Yorkshire Post reports parents of two boys who be­came se­ri­ously ill af­ter con­tract­ing E.coli 0157 sus­pected to be from beef burg­ers are still wait­ing for an­swers from su­per­mar­ket gi­ant Sains­bury’s more than a year later.

Al­fie and Oliver Maude, then seven and three, from Rich­mond, North York­shire, came down with up­set stom­achs two days af­ter eat­ing the Taste the Dif­fer­ence Aberdeen An­gus burg­ers in Oc­to­ber 2017. Al­fie was ad­mit­ted to Dar­ling­ton hos­pi­tal two days later with ex­cru­ci­at­ing stom­ach pain and se­vere de­hy­dra­tion.

He was then rushed to New­cas­tle hos­pi­tal for dial­y­sis be­cause his kid­neys were fail­ing. Both boys had de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous con­di­tion, hae­molytic uremic syn­drome, al­though Oliver did not re­quire dial­y­sis.

Both will have to un­dergo reg­u­lar check-ups well into adult­hood to keep an eye on their kid­neys.

Mother Vicci Maude said she and hus­band Steve were be­sides them­selves with worry as their boys “puffed up and turned yel­low”. She said: “When the con­sul­tant came in she said some chil­dren don’t sur­vive this – ob­vi­ously it was the hard­est thing I’ve ever had to hear. They still find it very stress­ful hav­ing to go back to hos­pi­tal and hav­ing blood tests. I just feel they (Sains­bury’s) need to take some re­spon­sibiity.”

9 sick: Salmonella linked to Dr Zak’s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg White

Dr Zak’s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg White sounds like 19th century hucksterism or medicine man.

According to Tony Gussin of the North Devon Gazette, nine people in the UK including one in North Devon are thought to have caught the disease after consuming Dr Zak’s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg White bottles.

Public Health England (PHE) has been investigating and has confirmed five of the nine drank the product after tests showed the same strain of the bacteria was found in some batches of the product.

The other locations are Hull (three cases), Bournemouth (two), Sunderland, Knowsley and Uttlesford (one each).

An urgent recall of some batches of the product was issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) after salmonella was detected, with others recalled as a precautionary measure.

The egg white product is popular among people on a calorie-controlled diet or trying to eat healthily and may also be used by people for bodybuilding purposes because of its high protein content.

Make it mandatory: More evidence that restaurant inspection disclosure matters

This work describes the relationship between compliance with food hygiene law as reflected in food hygiene scores; measures of microbiological contamination of food samples taken from consumer-facing food businesses in England, Northern Ireland and Wales; and outbreaks of foodborne illness.

This paper demonstrates an association between the results of food hygiene inspections done by trained inspectors, using a rigorous and consistent procedure, with microbiological contamination of actual food samples from those premises. A proposed theoretical model further demonstrates the reduction in foodborne illness that would result if there were increased compliance with food hygiene law.

As clean as they look? Food hygiene inspection scores, microbiological contamination, and foodborne illness

Fleetwood, Janet, Shamim Rahman, Darren Holland, David Millson, Laura, Thomson, Guy Poppy. 2019.

Food Control. 96: 76-86

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2018.08.034

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713518304432