Category Archives: gastroenteritis

UK – More than 80 Brits got food poisoning from hotel with faeces in the pool

Metro

Dozens of British tourists have been handed compensation after falling ill on a ‘nightmare’ holiday.

Families were among 89 people who stayed at the all-inclusive Holiday Village on Lanzarote when they suffered from acute gastrointestinal infections, nausea, diarrhoea and cramps in summer 2019.

Representing some victims in a legal battle with Tui, barrister Charles Crow said: ‘Fresh food was added to older food, food appeared to be recycled/re-presented at later meals.

‘Maggots were reported in the milk, which was sometimes curdled. Food, restaurant and general hygiene standards were poor.

Singapore – Suspension of Burger and Lobster Singapore Pte Ltd’s food business operations at Jewel Changi Airport – Gastroenteritis

SFA MOH

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) are investigating six incidents of gastroenteritis affecting a total of 17 persons after consuming food prepared by Burger and Lobster Singapore Pte Ltd located at Jewel Changi Airport between 7 and 15 May 2022. Four persons were hospitalised. One had since been discharged, and the three remaining hospitalised cases are currently stable. The remaining cases either sought outpatient treatment, self-medicated, or recovered without treatment.

In view of the suspected ongoing transmission, SFA has suspended the food business operations of Burger and Lobster Singapore Pte Ltd at Jewel Changi Airport, with effect from 16 May 2022 until further notice.

All food handlers working in the premises are required to re-attend and pass the Food Safety Course Level 1 and test negative for foodborne pathogens, before they can resume work as food handlers. The appointed Food Hygiene Officer working at the premises must re-attend and pass the WSQ Conduct Food and Beverage Hygiene Audit course before he/she can resume work as a Food Hygiene Officer. The licensee is also required to clean and sanitise the premises, including equipment and utensils, and dispose all ready-to-eat food and perishable food items.

USA – CDC issues Health Alert: Investigation of Illness Complaints After Consuming Lucky Charms Cereal

Food Poison Journal

During April 2022, there has been an increase in complaints of gastrointestinal illness (GI) attributed to eating Lucky Charms cereal reported primarily to a crowdsourcing website. Some complaints of illness have also been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state, and local health departments. There are very little data on the clinical presentation of these complaints, e.g., symptom profiles, incubation periods, and illness durations, as well as a lack of laboratory testing of clinical specimens. The scarcity of data and lack of a consistent clinical presentation are making it difficult to ascertain if any of these illnesses are linked to the suspected cereal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is coordinating with state and federal partners to characterize the clinical presentations and epidemiology of recent illness reports. CDC is also collaborating with state and federal partners to evaluate data collected from ill people to determine if an outbreak of GI illnesses is occurring and its potential link to Lucky Charms cereal.

Research – Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gastrointestinal infection trends in England, February–July 2020

bmj

Abstract

Objective To establish the impact of the first 6 months of the COVID-19 outbreak response on gastrointestinal (GI) infection trends in England.

Design Retrospective ecological study using routinely collected national and regional surveillance data from seven UK Health Security Agency coordinated laboratory, outbreak and syndromic surveillance systems using key dates of UK governmental policy change to assign phases for comparison between 2020 and historic data.

Results Decreases in GI illness activity were observed across all surveillance indicators as COVID-19 cases began to peak. Compared with the 5-year average (2015–2019), during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 response, there was a 52% decrease in GI outbreaks reported (1544 vs 3208 (95% CI 2938 to 3478)) and a 34% decrease in laboratory confirmed cases (27 859 vs 42 495 (95% CI 40 068 to 44 922)). GI indicators began to rise during the first lockdown and lockdown easing, although all remained substantially lower than historic figures. Reductions in laboratory confirmed cases were observed across all age groups and both sexes, with geographical heterogeneity observed in diagnosis trends. Health seeking behaviour changed substantially, with attendances decreasing prior to lockdown across all indicators.

Conclusions There has been a marked change in trends of GI infections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The drivers of this change are likely to be multifactorial; while changes in health seeking behaviour, pressure on diagnostic services and surveillance system ascertainment have undoubtably played a role, there has likely been a true decrease in the incidence for some pathogens resulting from the control measures and restrictions implemented. This suggests that if some of these changes in behaviour such as improved hand hygiene were maintained, then we could potentially see sustained reductions in the burden of GI illness.

Research – France – Acute gastroenteritis: results of winter surveillance 2019-2020

Sante Publique

Food Borne Illness - Norovirus -CDC Photo

Public Health France publishes the 2019-2020 annual winter surveillance report for acute gastroenteritis in mainland France, marked by two major events and in particular a historic drop in AGEs never observed over the past 10 years. 

Acute winter gastroenteritis (AGE) is mainly of viral origin, with a dominant circulation of noroviruses and rotaviruses. Noroviruses are responsible for AGE in people of all ages, while rotaviruses mainly affect children under 5 years of age. A winter resurgence of cases is observed each year, in France, as in Europe, generating an increase in medical consultations for AGE usually between December and April. A peak is often observed during the first two weeks of January. 

Fluctuating activity for GEA over the 2019-2020 winter season

A significant peak observed in connection with an episode of collective food poisoning in several metropolitan areas

As in the two previous seasons, an increase in the number of AGE cases was observed at the start of the winter season, followed by a sharp increase in visits to hospital emergencies and general medicine at the end of December 2019 – beginning of January 2020, higher than the peaks of the 7 previous seasons in week 01-2020, and reaching 3.1% of total activity in hospital emergencies.

This upsurge in the number of AGE cases coincided with a significant and unusual occurrence of collective food poisoning that impacted several metropolitan areas in connection with the consumption of contaminated oysters that occurred in 2019* during the end-of-year celebrations. 

A sharp decrease in activity to historically low levels, most likely related to the measures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic

Following the first confinement (March-April 2020) introduced as part of the Covid-19 pandemic , very low levels of activity for GEA were recorded from March and April 2020 in hospital emergencies and in general medicine (Sentinels Network and SOS Médecins).

Indeed, the proportion of emergency visits for gastroenteritis fell sharply at the start of 2020 to reach historically low levels and then stabilized at 0.5% of activity from April 2020 . According to data from the Sentinel Network, the 2019-2020 winter season was characterized by the lowest cumulative incidence rate of cases of acute diarrhea seen in general medicine consultations over the last 10 seasons .

This historic decrease in epidemic activity for acute gastroenteritis in France is most likely related to the measures introduced in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (confinement, physical distancing, reinforcement of hand hygiene). Such levels have not been observed over 10 years of retrospective data for all monitoring indicators.

Key points 2019 – 2020 regarding acute gastroenteritis 

The analysis period corresponds to the winter monitoring period, from November 18, 2019 to April 13, 2020. 

  • 96,713 hospital emergency visits , i.e. 1.6% of emergency visits. 44.4% of visits for acute gastroenteritis concerned children aged under 5 years.
  • 144,499 SOS Médecins consultations for acute gastroenteritis, i.e. 8.7% of total consultations.
  • Cumulative incidence rate at the Sentinel Network: 
    • 2,963 cases per 100,000 inhabitants of all ages
    • 6,605 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, in children under 5 , the most affected population during this period.
  • Predominance of norovirus genotype GII.4 2012[P16], followed by genotype GII.17[P17].
  • Significant peak of activity observed at the end of December 2019-beginning of January 2020 , concomitant with a significant upsurge in collective food poisoning linked to the consumption of oysters
  • Following the first containment introduced as part of the Covid-19 pandemic, very low levels of activity were recorded from week 13-2020 

Cruise ship outbreak: More than 100 sickened on recent Viking Sea voyage – Cause Unknown

Outbreak News Today

The Centers for Disease Control Prevention Vessel Sanitation Program (CDC-VSP) reported that 118 passengers and crew on a recent voyage of the Viking Cruises, Viking Sea, were sickened with diarrhoea due to a gastrointestinal illness of unknown etiology.

The voyage, which took place November 29–December 13, 2021, resulted in 114 of 640 (17.8%) passengers and 4 of 404 (1.0%) crew members sickened.

In response to the outbreak, Viking Cruises and the crew aboard the ship reported the following actions:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to the ship’s outbreak prevention and response plan.
  • Collected stool specimens from passenger and/or crew gastrointestinal illness cases and sent specimens for testing.
  • Sent daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to VSP.

VSP is monitoring the situation and the ship’s outbreak response and sanitation procedures.

Singapore – Suspension of On & On Diners Pte Ltd’s food business operations

SFA

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) are investigating two incidents of gastroenteritis affecting a total of 73 persons who reported gastroenteritis symptoms after consuming food prepared by On & On Diners Pte Ltd between 16 and 18 November 2021. None were hospitalised.

Research – How foodborne diseases protect the gut’s nervous system

Science Daily

A simple stomach bug could do a lot of damage. There are 100 million neurons scattered along the gastrointestinal tract — directly in the line of fire — that can be stamped out by gut infections, potentially leading to long-term GI disease.

But there may be an upside to enteric infection. A new study finds that mice infected with bacteria or parasites develop a unique form of tolerance quite unlike the textbook immune response. The research, published in Cell, describes how gut macrophages respond to prior insult by shielding enteric neurons, preventing them from dying off when future pathogens strike. These findings may ultimately have clinical implications for conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, which have been linked to the runaway death of intestinal neurons.

“We’re describing a sort of innate memory that persists after the primary infection is gone,” says Rockefeller’s Daniel Mucida. “This tolerance does not exist to kill future pathogens, but to deal with the damage that infection causes — preserving the number of neurons in the intestine.”

Research – Germany – Infectious Disease Epidemiology Annual Report – 2020

RKI

Compared to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cases of almost all notifiable infectious diseases reported in 2020 decreased substantially. The most notable reduction was observed for human to human communicable diseases.

There was also a large reduction in gastrointestinal diseases. This was especially pronounced for rotavirus gastroenteritis, shigellosis and norovirus gastroenteritis

Despite the large decrease in the number of cases the gastrointestinal diseases norovirus, gastroenteritis, Campylobacter enteritis and rotavirus gastroenteritis, these infectious diseases continue to remain among the most frequently notified.

Sequencing helped to identify several listeriosis outbreaks across federal states through foodborne outbreak investigations. By comparing the isolates from the affected individuals and from the contaminated food, the probable vehicle of the outbreak could be identified.

Full Report in German

Singapore – Recall and prohibition of sale and movement of Mdm Ling Bakery Mao Shan Wang – Gastrointestinal Issues Snowskin Mooncakes

Click to access joint-moh-sfa-media-release—recall-and-prohibition-of-sale-and-movement-of-mdm-ling-bakery-mao-shan-wang-snowskin-mooncakes.pdf