According to Ooska News, a cholera outbreak in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has reportedly been blamed on holy water, after at least 10 people died over the past two weeks, while more than 1 200 people have contracted the disease. The authorities have also identified contaminated holy water in some of the region’s monasteries as being behind the outbreak. It was believed that the water is being taken from rivers that carry the disease.
Interfering in religious affairs is a very sensitive matter in the region, but the local government is working with religious leaders to temporarily stop the use of holy water.
Brazilian media report (via ProMed, thanks) that in the past 15 days, the number of cases of confirmed toxoplasmosis has increased from 594 to 621, according to a new epidemic bulletin from the government of Rio Grande do Sul and the city council on the epidemic facing the region.
Of the more than 600 confirmed cases, 54 are pregnant women, with 3 fetal deaths and 3 abortions.
The number of suspected cases increased from 1291 on [29 Jun 2018] to 1486 on Friday. Of these, 350 were rejected and 515 arestill under investigation. The total number of cases related to the disease is 1786, according to the latest newsletter.
The causes of the epidemic, confirmed by the State Secretariat of SAR in April this year , are still unknown, and the authorities continue to investigate the event, under the supervision of the federal prosecution. Last Friday [6 Jul 2018], an examination detected the presence of the protozoan responsible for the disease in the water tank of a town residence. But the relationship between the protozoan and the epidemic has not been confirmed.
Toxoplasmosis, popularly known as cat disease, is an infectious disease caused by a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. This protozoan is easily found in nature and can cause infection in many mammals and birds around the world.
According to the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases, the disease can occur through the ingestion of oocysts (where the parasite grows) from soil, sand, and bins contaminated with feces from infected cats; ingestion of raw and undercooked meat infected with oocysts, especially pork and mutton; or by transplacental infection, occurring in 40% of fetuses of mothers who contracted infection during pregnancy. The incubation period of toxoplasmosis ranges from 10 to 23 days when the cause is meat consumption, and from 5 to 20 days when the reason is contact with cat feces oocysts.
The Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases suggests some preventive measures. Do not eat raw or malnourished meats, and eat only well-washed vegetables and fruits cleaned with running water. Avoid contact with cat feces. In addition to avoiding contact with cats, pregnant women must undergo appropriate medical (prenatal) monitoring.
Health officials say they have received reports of more than 500 cases of gastrointestinal illnesses including diarrhea and vomiting from people from multiple states who visited CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour since mid-June 2018.
State and local health investigators are working with the company to identify additional cases, what caused the illnesses and keep more people from getting sick.
State health officials say CLIMB Works has taken appropriate steps and closed temporarily, but has resumed routine operations.
The East Tennessee Regional Health Department says it has taken samples of well water, but the tests are not back yet. A manager at CLIMB Works says they’re not sure what’s causing the illnesses, but they have stopped using and distributing water at the attraction.
Cilmb Works Manager, Brian Turley, says 108 visitors called the business directly to report sickness. He says most of them called, not for a refund, but to inform the business of potential issues.
Turley says they are offering refunds for anyone affected with illness.
Speaking with WATE 6 On Your Side, Turley shared a message for visitors:
“We are so sorry. We obviously had no idea or we never would have never let you [visitors] drink our water. We had no idea. It’s so frustrating it wasn’t something we didn’t catch sooner,” said Turley.
During 2000–2014, 140 untreated recreational water–associated outbreaks that caused at least 4,958 illnesses and two deaths were reported; 80 outbreaks were caused by enteric pathogens.
Swimmers should heed posted advisories closing the beach to swimming; not swim in discolored, smelly, foamy, or scummy water; not swim while sick with diarrhea; and limit water entering the nose when swimming in warm freshwater.
Outbreaks associated with untreated recreational water can be caused by pathogens, toxins, or chemicals in fresh water (e.g., lakes, rivers) or marine water (e.g., ocean). During 2000–2014, public health officials from 35 states and Guam voluntarily reported 140 untreated recreational water–associated outbreaks to CDC. These outbreaks resulted in at least 4,958 cases of disease and two deaths. Among the 95 outbreaks with a confirmed infectious etiology, enteric pathogens caused 80 (84%); 21 (22%) were caused by norovirus, 19 (20%) by Escherichia coli, 14 (15%) by Shigella, and 12 (13%) by Cryptosporidium. Investigations of these 95 outbreaks identified 3,125 cases; 2,704 (87%) were caused by enteric pathogens, including 1,459 (47%) by norovirus, 362 (12%) by Shigella, 314 (10%) by Cryptosporidium, and 155 (5%) by E. coli. Avian schistosomes were identified as the cause in 345 (11%) of the 3,125 cases. The two deaths were in persons affected by a single outbreak (two cases) caused by Naegleria fowleri. Public parks (50 [36%]) and beaches (45 [32%]) were the leading settings associated with the 140 outbreaks. Overall, the majority of outbreaks started during June–August (113 [81%]); 65 (58%) started in July. Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can take steps to minimize the risk for exposure to pathogens, toxins, and chemicals in untreated recreational water by heeding posted advisories closing the beach to swimming; not swimming in discolored, smelly, foamy, or scummy water; not swimming while sick with diarrhea; and limiting water entering the nose when swimming in warm freshwater.
Outbreaks associated with untreated recreational water-United States, 2000-2014
Daniel S. Graciaa, MD1; Jennifer R. Cope, MD2; Virginia A. Roberts, MSPH2; Bryanna L. Cikesh, MPH2,3; Amy M. Kahler, MS2; Marissa Vigar, MPH2; Elizabeth D. Hilborn, DVM4; Timothy J. Wade, PhD4; Lorraine C. Backer, PhD5; Susan P. Montgomery, DVM6; W. Evan Secor, PhD6; Vincent R. Hill, PhD2; Michael J. Beach, PhD2; Kathleen E. Fullerton, MPH2; Jonathan S. Yoder, MPH2; Michele C. Hlavsa, MPH2
Cassius, an adult male, died on April 12, and Naku, a 17-year-old female western lowland gorilla, died on April 29, the zoo said in a press release.
Autopsy results for the gorillas show that they died of gastrointestinal infections believed to have been caused by E. coli in their water supply, according to the zoo.
The water systems in the gorilla and bonobo areas have been disinfected, the zoo said, adding that the water supply available for consumption by the public was never affected.
Zookeepers are also using new protocols to disinfect produce, which can be another source of E. coli, according to the release.
While all animals, including gorillas and even humans, have healthy E.coli in their gut, some variants of E. coli can cause intestinal damage and disease, the zoo said.
Naku had been euthanized after veterinarians found that a portion of her intestine was no longer functioning, ABC affiliate WISN in Milwaukee reported.
Cassius and Nauku’s 8-month-old baby, Zahra, is now an orphan.
Zahra’s diet has consisted mainly of formula in the absence of her mother’s breast milk, zookeepers wrote on Twitter. She is also eating some produce, sweet potato, red pepper, and beans, the zoo said.
Surveys still suck, but the results of this one generally correlate to what we have found doing 20 years of on-farm food safety with fresh produce growers.
Outbreaks and crisis drive grower food safety concerns, prevention is a hard sell, but we’ve shown it can be done.
Understanding growers’ preferences regarding interventions to improve the microbiological safety of their produce could help to design more effective strategies for the adoption of such food safety measures by growers.
The objective of this survey study was to obtain insights for the design of interventions that could stimulate growers to increase the frequency of irrigation water sampling and water testing to reduce possible microbiological contamination of their fresh produce.
The results showed that price intervention, referring to making the intervention less costly by reducing the price via discounts, is the most effective strategy to change growers’ intentions to increase their frequency of irrigation water testing. Moreover, a sense of urgency affects their intentions to increase the frequency of irrigation water testing.
The findings of this survey support the hypothesis that, to date, safety is not perceived as a quality control issue under normal circumstances, but safety becomes an overriding attribute in a food crisis.
Understanding preferences for interventions to reduce microbiological contamination in Dutch vegetable production
June 2018, Journal of Food Protection vol. 81 no. 6
A. P. M. VAN ASSELDONK,1*L. MALAGUTI,2M. L. H. BREUKERS,1 and H. J. van der FELS-KLERX2,3
Electrolyzed Water as a Novel Sanitizer in the Food Industry: Current Trends and Future Perspectives
SME Rahman, Imran Khan, and Deog-Hwan Oh
Electrolyzed water (EW) has gained immense popularity over the last few decades as a novel broad-spectrum sanitizer. EW can be produced using tap water with table salt as the singular chemical additive. The application of EW is a sustainable and green concept and has several advantages over traditional cleaning systems including cost effectiveness, ease of application, effective disinfection, on-the-spot production, and safety for human beings and the environment. These features make it an appropriate sanitizing and cleaning system for use in high-risk settings such as in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as well as in food processing environments. EW also has the potential for use in educational building, offices, and entertainment venues. However, there have been a number of issues related to the use of EW in various sectors including limited knowledge on the sanitizing mechanism. AEW, in particular, has shown limited efficacy on utensils, food products, and surfaces owing to various factors, the most important of which include the type of surface, presence of organic matter, and type of tape water used. The present review article highlights recent developments and offers new perspectives related to the use of EW in various areas, with particular focus on the food industry.
The situation that Life Hacker’s Nick Douglas presented to me was (I’m paraphrasing here slightly): hey, I’m gonna leave a glass of water out over night and I know it’s not going to be a problem after a couple of hours, but I can’t leave that water there for a few weeks can I, because it will go bad, right?
My answer (paraphrased as well) I guess it depends what you mean by bad. The water will probably taste different the longer it sits there. Yeast, mold and algae might float into it, but as far as pathogens go, my take is that it’s really low risk.
I told him that the water wasn’t the issue, it’s what gets introduced to the water like food debris or some other nutrient source. And then a pathogen. Or poop. Poop has both.
My quote was, ‘What would matter is if, like, someone had poop on their finger and stuck it in there.’
It’s not like I thought water rots, OK? I just thought that there’s enough bacteria floating around a home, or in tap water, or on your lips when you take a sip, that given a month alone in a glass, it might grow and then make you sick. But, as food safety specialist Dr. Benjamin Chapman tells me in a mildly embarrassing phone call, it won’t.
But there must be some way it could, right? Yes, Dr. Chapman says, if you didn’t wash the glass properly, and left a nutrient like juice or other sugary remnants.
But even if you’ve drunk out of the glass, getting your mouth on it, leaving a lip print, and then leaving out the glass — even then, he says, you’re not going to poison yourself with your own mouth bacteria.
Obviously, if the water supply is contaminated, all bets are off. If it was toxic when it left the tap, it’s still toxic after sitting out. But apparently, as long as it started out fine, even super-gross-tasting old water is healthy to drink, and I’m an ignorant hydrophobe. Fine. But I’m not alone. I only got curious because cooking blog The Kitchn asked the same question — or maybe they were stating the obvious for rubes like me.
Their fortitude paid off. Scientists were able to study an important question: whether a person’s blood type affects the severity of an “Enterotoxigenic E. coli” infection, the leading cause of traveler’s diarrhea.
It turns out, there was a difference in severity by blood type: Those with blood type A got sick sooner, and experienced more severe symptoms, than those with blood type B or O, the researchers said. [Top 7 Germs in Food that Make You Sick]
What’s more, the study uncovered an explanation for these findings: It appears that the bacteria release a protein that attaches to intestinal cells in people with blood type A, but not in people with other blood types.
The new finding might one day lead to the development of a vaccine that could reduce disease severity in people with type A blood. “A vaccine targeting this protein would potentially protect the individuals at highest risk for severe disease,” study senior author Dr. James Fleckenstein, an associate professor of medicine and molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a statement.
The study was published online (May 17) in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.