Category Archives: food death

India – Norovirus: Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu on high alert

The Hindu

In the wake of Norovirus cases being reported in 13 students of a veterinary college in Wayanad district of neighbouring Kerala, Karnataka has directed health officials in the border Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts to be on high alert.

In a circular issued on Tuesday, the State Joint Director (Communicable Diseases) has said people need to be vigilant about the contagious virus.

The Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause gastrointestinal illness. The virus causes inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, as well as severe vomiting and diarrhoea, similar to cholera, the circular stated.

USA – 4,000 exposed to Hepatitis A positive Starbucks employee in New Jersey

Food Poison Journal

In light of the case of hepatitis A in an employee at a local Starbucks, the Camden County Health Department will be administering vaccines to anyone who feels they may have been exposed at the Camden County Health Hub located at 200 College Drive in Blackwood.

Today’s clinic will operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vaccine appointments will be made on a first come first serve basis.

Vaccine clinics held last Friday and Saturday gave doses to more than 800 people in Camden County.

If you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A in the past, you do not need to receive another dose. If you have a child that was born after the year 2000, that child has likely already been vaccinated for hepatitis A and does not require another dose. However, parents should check with their pediatrician to confirm their child’s vaccine status.

India – Five instances of food poisoning in Kozhikode in less than a month

The Hindu

Health Department issues advisory on checking quality of drinking water sources. (Cholera)

At least five incidents of suspected food poisoning have occurred in Kozhikode district in less than a month, prompting the Health Department to issue an advisory on checking the quality of drinking water sources.

Fifteen girl students of a private entrance coaching centre at Perumanna were admitted to hospital after they had stomach upset and other symptoms on October 25.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Mohammed Yamin of Narikkuni died on November 13, just a couple of days after he had food at a wedding event. A dozen children and some elders too fell ill.

Hundreds sought medical treatment at Puthoor in Vadakara on November 15 after they had food at another wedding event in the previous days. Those who had idli and sambar from two temples at Mukkom complained of uneasiness, and 22 people sought treatment on November 19.

Fourteen students of a hostel at Pantheerankavu sought treatment at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, after they had breakfast on November 20.

Another instance of food poisoning was averted in the nick of time when an alert food safety inspector detected pseudomonas bacteria in eggs scheduled to be distributed at a school at Payyadimeethal near Pantheerankavu on November 10.

Myanmar – Three family members including one month old baby died of food poisoning symptoms in Maubin Township

Eleven Myanmar

Three family members including one month old baby died of food poisoning symptoms in Phoe Kanbay village, Maubin Township, Ayeyawaddy Region on the morning of November 10.

“The family of three where husband is 20 years old, wife is 18 years old and the baby is one month old died on the morning of November 10.  When they were not appear at the fink farm where they were working, people came to their house and saw them dead. In the mosquito net, they found half eaten coconut, Morinda and papaya fruits,” said Sayadaw of Nay+Toe philanthropic organization.

USA – Three Hepatitis A Deaths Linked to Famous Anthony’s Outbreak

Food Poisoning Bulletin

Three hepatitis A deaths are linked to the Famous Anthony’s outbreak in Roanoke, Virginia, with at least 49 illnesses and 31 hospitalizations, according to news reports. Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts officials did not release any more information about these patients.

USA – Third person dies of Hepatitis A linked to Famous Anthony’s Restaurant

Food Poison Journal

This afternoon, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) announced that they learned that a third adult who was hospitalized with complications has died from hepatitis A. The RCAHD will disclose no further information about the individual to protect privacy and out of respect for the family.

“It is always with extreme sadness that we report the death of an individual,” said RCAHD health director, Cynthia Morrow, MD, MPH. “This heartbreaking loss of life illustrates how serious this outbreak is.  Unfortunately, in this situation, we have seen many individuals experiencing severe disease, and in some cases, their symptoms have continued to progress over weeks.”

Hepatitis A is a preventable disease. RCAHD urges everyone to consistently practice good hand washing and to consider getting vaccinated, especially if they fall into a high-risk population.

At this time, RCAHD staff have identified a total of 49 confirmed primary cases, including 31 hospitalizations. A small number of cases are still under investigation. No new cases have been reported to RCAHD this week.

UK – Report of the Independent Review of NHS Hospital Food

UK Gov

In the summer of 2019, there was an outbreak of listeriosis in which seven patients tragically died after eating hospital sandwiches contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Following this, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a “root and branch” review of food served and sold in hospitals.
The scope of the review included the safety, nutrition, quality and production methods of food for patients, staff and visitors in NHS hospitals. In 2018 to 2019, the NHS spent £634 million on hospital food, representing approximately 6.7% of the total costs of running the NHS estate [10] or 0.6% of the total £114 billion 2018 to 2019 NHS budget [11]. It is the second biggest provider of meals in the UK public sector, serving 141 million inpatient meals [10] last year alone, to about 125,000 patients a day. This compares to 602 million school lunches [12] and 93 million prison meals [13].
There is a poor public perception of hospital food; and frequent critical press coverage of problems with both food that is on offer in hospitals to patients, staff and visitors, as well as wider concerns regarding food service. However, the evidence suggests that patients in NHS hospitals are satisfied, overall, with the quality of hospital food, with 22% of patients surveyed in 2019 rating the food they received as very good, and 36% rating it as good [14].
This contrasts with 39% of NHS staff, who felt that food and catering facilities offered in their workplaces were poor [15]. There is clearly scope for improvement. With a median spend of £4.56 per patient meal (including labour costs and overheads) [10], exceeding the budget of meals offered by other UK public services, the NHS should be demonstrating best practice in safely delivering nutritious, quality food to patients, and ensuring the least possible impact on our environment with best possible outcomes.
Better hospital food requires both national focus and leadership, but it is hard to deliver from the centre when power is devolved to individual trusts. We also need trusts to lead the change.
This report makes eight recommendations for system-level change. In Chapter 8 we propose that these are taken forward by an expert group with representation from across the sector and government. These apply mainly to government, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and national regulators.

Hospital food review10However, there are also actions that need to be delivered by trusts themselves. We have included a checklist for catering managers and chief executives which contains key principles of providing a good food service. We urge trust executive teams and boards to consider this list and what they can do to take their catering to the next level. We have tried not to be too prescriptive, as trusts are very diverse and what works in one place may not work in another.
However, these core principles are applicable to every type of service and should be carefully considered. Leadership engagement is key – hospital food is something that all boards we’ve engaged with really care about and are committed to. But commitment is not enough on its own – effective change needs two more things: data that gives insight for improvement, and a plan or strategy for getting the improvement done

Research – Healthcare-associated foodborne outbreaks in high-income countries: a literature review and surveillance study, 16 OECD countries, 2001 to 2019

Eurosurveillance

Yearly, 23 million foodborne disease illnesses and 5,000 deaths are estimated in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region, and 41 foodborne Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) per 100,000 population were estimated for the WHO Sub-Region EUR A in 2010 [1]. In Europe, a total of 5,146 foodborne and waterborne outbreaks, including 48,365 cases of illness and 40 deaths were reported to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2018 [2]. Vulnerable populations, including elderly patients, immunocompromised patients, children younger than five years old and pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne infections and are more prone to develop severe courses of disease compared with healthy people [3]. Therefore, healthcare is a setting where foodborne outbreaks (FBO) can cause considerable morbidity and mortality. In 2020, 20.6% of the European Union (EU) population was aged 65 years and older [4]. As the proportion of elderly people is projected to further increase, the share of the vulnerable population as patients in healthcare facilities (HCF) is likely to increase and thereby the risk associated with healthcare-associated foodborne outbreaks (HA-FBO). Personnel (medical and non-medical staff, food handlers etc) of HCF may also be at risk for HA-FBO and be a source of further spread in healthcare settings and elsewhere. This can cause major disruption of services [5].

So far, literature reviews have covered pathogens responsible for HA-FBO, including  [6],  [79] and norovirus [10,11] and focused on microbiological food safety issues in healthcare settings [5,12]. Between 2014 and 2019, a listeriosis outbreak in Germany affected 13 cases who had an inpatient stay in 12 different HCF during the incubation period [13]. In the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019, nine listeriosis cases of which seven died, had consumed sandwiches in seven HCF during the incubation period [14].

We conducted a literature review to describe the causative agents including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, the incriminated food vehicles and other outbreak characteristics of HA-FBO in 37 countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) [15]. Furthermore, we analysed German surveillance data and data from the EFSA on HA-FBO. The aim of this article is to describe the current status of HA-FBO in order to improve surveillance and provide public health recommendations for prevention.

USA – More sick in hepatitis A outbreak traced to restaurants; one required liver transplant

Food Safety News

The patient count in a hepatitis A outbreak linked to Virginia restaurants continues to grow, with 44 people now confirmed as infected. One of the patients has required a liver transplant and one has died.

The cousin of the transplant patient reports the operation took place this past weekend. The outbreak patient’s husband and daughter were also infected, according to the cousin.

Research – Food scientists create national atlas for deadly Listeria

Cornell

Among the deadliest of foodborne pathogens, Listeria monocytogenes soon may become easier to track down in food recalls and other investigations, thanks to a new genomic and geological mapping tool created by Cornell food scientists.

The national atlas will tell scientists where listeria and other related species reside within the contiguous United States, which could help them trace and pinpoint sources of listeria found in ingredients, food processing facilities and finished products, according to research published July 15 in Nature Microbiology.

“As we’re trying to figure out the risk of getting listeria from soil and different locations, our group created a more systematic way of assessing how frequently different listeria are found in different locations,” said senior author Martin Wiedmann, Ph.D. ’97, the Gellert Family Professor in Food Safety and Food Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We’ve studied listeria in places as diverse as New York, Colorado and California, but before this atlas, [it] was difficult to make comparisons and assess listeria diversity in different locations.”

Listeria mononcytogenes in foods can make people extremely sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that each year 1,600 people in the U.S. get listeriosis; of those, about 260 die.

Knowing that listeria occurs naturally in soil, the Cornell group asked hundreds of other scientists across the country to scoop up soil samples from generally undisturbed places in the natural world, such as the off-trail areas of state and national parks.

From these samples, the group developed a nationwide atlas of 1,854 listeria isolates, representing 594 strains and 12 families of the bacteria called phylogroups.

Lead author Jingqiu Liao, Ph.D. ’20, who worked in Wiedmann’s laboratory as a graduate student, is now a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University. She had supplemented the research by acquiring soil samples in her own travels and found listeria present across a wide range of environmental circumstances. This bacterium is controlled mainly by soil moisture, salinity concentrations and molybdenum – a trace mineral found in milk, cheese, grains, legumes, leafy vegetables and organ meats.

“The goal of this work was to systematically collect soil samples across the United States,” said Liao, “and to capture the true large-scale spatial distribution, genomic diversity and population structure of listeria species in the natural environment.

“With whole genome sequencing and comprehensive population genomics analyses,” Liao said, “we provided answers to the ecological and evolutionary drivers of bacterial genome flexibility – an important open question in the field of microbiology.”

Liao explained that this work can serve as a reference for future population genomics studies and will likely benefit the food industry by locating listeria contaminations that may have a natural origin.

If listeria is found in a processing facility in the western U.S., for example, and that facility had used ingredients from a distant state, Wiedmann said, “knowing the genomic information of listeria isolates and their possible locations across the U.S., we can better narrow the origins to a specific region. You can use this information almost like a traceback. It’s not always proof, but it leads you to evidence.”

In addition to Wiedmann and Liao, the other authors on “Nationwide Genomic Atlas of Soil-Dwelling Listeria Reveals Effects of Selection and Population Ecology on Pangenome Evolution,” are Daniel Buckley, professor of microbial ecology in the School of Integrative Plant Science Soil and Crop Sciences Section; Otto Cordero, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Shaul Pollak, postdoctoral researcher, MIT; Daniel Weller, Ph.D. ’18, researcher, CDC; and Sean (Xiaodong) Guo, Cornell research technician.

The research was funded by the Center for Produce Safety in Woodland, California.