But what does gastro mean? Outbreak hits University of Queensland students

I don’t know what it is about Australians, whether it’s some pseudo-inherited British culture of hierarchy, or just dumbness, but lately, any outbreak of barfing and pooping is called a gastro outbreak.

As in gastroenteritis.

There are microbiology labs in Australia, so figure it out, and let people know.

Janelle Miles of The Courier Mail reports 20 students at two University of Queensland residential colleges have fallen ill with gastroenteritis in the middle of orientation week.

The students are residents of King’s College and Grace College at UQ’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane’s west.

They have been quarantined separated from other students to avoid the infection spreading.

Was it foodborne? Are there any epidemiologists in Australia? Is anyone investigating?

56 students sick; shouldn’t they be better at food safety? Salmonella outbreak strikes University of Queensland college

Expect this story to disappear after today. There is no follow-up in Australia. The reporting, three weeks after it happened, is lightening fast in Australian terms.

vomit.clownA Salmonella outbreak at a university college ended in several students being hospitalised earlier this month.

Students at the University of Queensland’s Cromwell College began showing signs of sickness on the night of April 6 and four students were admitted to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital later that week.

Fifty-six students displayed symptoms and 17 tested positive for Salmonella.

Samantha Cridland, 17, was one of four students admitted to the hospital on April 10.

She said her first thoughts were that another case of gastroenteritis might be floating around the college.

“I started feeling unwell at the start of the week, and everyone had similar symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach aches and fevers,” she said.

“I thought it was a gastro bug and I went to the UQ health centre and got tested there.

“I found out later it was definitely Salmonella.”

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the department was investigating the source of the outbreak.

Uni piggery suspends supply of pigs to Australian market while it investigates possible rat poison contamination

The University of Queensland’s Gatton piggery has suspended the supply of pigs to market while it investigates concerns about possible rat poison contamination.

The suspension follows testing on the livers of five pigs which died during a seven-month period last year.

Tests found traces of coumatetralyl, the active ingredient in rat poison.

The poison was used by the university to control the rat population at the Gatton piggery UQ.piggeryuntil early September 2013.

The university’s acting Vice-Chancellor Alan Rix said the university was working with Safe Food Queensland and the Queensland Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Department on further testing and analysis.

“All rat poison has been removed from the Gatton piggery and the site has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected,’’ Professor Rix said.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the risk to humans of eating pork from the piggery was negligible.

“This was my opinion when I was first informed of the issue and the results of testing since then have confirmed this view,’’ Dr Young said.

“There is no food recall for pork or pork products because there is no serious risk to humans.’’

Failing grade for UQ petting zoo

Sunday morning in Brisbane and we went for a stroll to the University of Queensland for a campus-wide open house, largely designed to provide information for high-school students and their parents.

The animal science folks had a small petting zoo set up, featuring an echindna (right, exactly as shown). I asked the woman what kind of animal it was and she told me I wasn’t much of an Australian.

I said, no, I’m not, I’ve been here four days.

They also had a bunch of baby chicks (left, nice flip-flops), and one of the students thrust one at Sorenne to pet. I was at the stroller, or would have used my usual line: get that salmonella factory away from my kid.

And there were a couple of goats and a couple of cows in a fenced-in area. I didn’t see anyone pet them, probably because it was early and people were just streaming in.

I did however observe this kid (below, exactly as shown), chowing down on what they called Fairy Floss (cotton candy) while petting the chicks.

This was a small outfit, and the risk of disease transmission was probably low, but there were no signs encouraging handwashing, no handwashing facilities, no sanitizer or wipes. Nothing.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.