Category Archives: Virus

Research – Occurrence of Human Enteric Viruses in Shellfish along the Production and Distribution Chain in Sicily, Italy

MDPI

Contamination of bivalve mollusks with human pathogenic viruses represents a recognized food safety risk. Thus, monitoring programs for shellfish quality along the entire food chain could help to finally preserve the health of consumers. The aim of the present study was to provide up-to-date data on the prevalence of enteric virus contamination along the shellfish production and distribution chain in Sicily. To this end, 162 batches of mollusks were collected between 2017 and 2019 from harvesting areas, depuration and dispatch centers (n = 63), restaurants (n = 6) and retail stores (n = 93) distributed all over the island. Samples were processed according to ISO 15216 standard method, and the presence of genogroup GI and GII norovirus (NoV), hepatitis A and E viruses (HAV, HEV), rotavirus and adenovirus was investigated by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (real-time-RT PCR), nested (RT)-PCR and molecular genotyping. Our findings show that 5.56% of samples were contaminated with at least one NoV, HAV and/or HEV. Contaminated shellfish were sampled at production sites and retail stores and their origin was traced back to Spain and several municipalities in Italy. In conclusion, our study highlights the need to implement routine monitoring programs along the whole food chain as an effective measure to prevent foodborne transmission of enteric viruses. View Full-Text

USA – Thirteen sickened with Norovirus after eating at same restaurant

Food Safety News

Norwalk_Caspid

A norovirus outbreak among restaurant patrons in the Seattle-King County area of Washington has been reported.

The public health department reported on June 9 that 13 people from one meal party came down ill with symptoms of the virus after eating at Mazatlan Restaurant in Auburn, WA. The people dined at the restaurant on May 21.

“We have not identified how norovirus was spread within the restaurant. This is not uncommon for norovirus outbreaks because the virus can spread through multiple contaminated food items, environmental surfaces, and from person to person,” according to a statement from the public health department.

USA – Norovirus Outbreak sickens 23 linked to Habit Burger Grill in Shoreline

Food Poison Journal

Norovirus Food Safety kswfoodworld

According to Seattle King County Department of Health there appears to be a norovirus outbreak in Shoreline.

Public Health is investigating an outbreak of norovirus-like illness with vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and chills associated with Habit Burger Grill in Shoreline.

We have not identified how norovirus was spread within the restaurant. This is not uncommon for norovirus outbreaks because the virus can spread through multiple contaminated food items, environmental surfaces, and from person to person.

USA – Acute Hepatitis A Case in a Food Service Worker in Eastport, Maine

Food Poison Journal

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified a case of acute hepatitis A virus infection in an Eastport, Maine, food service worker. The individual handled food in the deli at the R&M IGA at 88 Washington Street in Eastport, Maine, while infectious on the following dates in 2021: May 3-6, May 8, May 10-13, May 15, and May 18-20. Deli food items purchased on May 3-22 should be discarded or cooked thoroughly.

Epidemiological assessment of the employee’s illness determined that patrons of the establishment may be at risk for hepatitis A infection. Maine CDC recommends that anyone who ate food prepared in the R&M IGA deli from May 13-22, 2021, receive hepatitis A vaccine within 14 days of their potential exposure. There is a 14-day window during which prophylaxis is effective after exposure.

RASFF Alert – Norovirus – Live Oysters

RASFF

Norovirus (detected /25g) in live oysters (Crassotrea gigas) from France inSpain

Research – Hepatitis A outbreak associated with consumption of dates, England and Wales, January 2021 to April 2021

Eurosurveillance

An outbreak of genetically related hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections among people with no travel history was identified by the Public Health England (PHE) Virus Reference Department (VRD) in conjunction with local teams noting that the cases had eaten dates.

We describe investigations including case characteristics, phylogenetics, analytical studies, and control measures. We aim to flag the possible risk of hepatitis A to populations in other countries through the consumption of contaminated dates, particularly as Ramadan, which is associated with an increase in consumption of dates, began on 12 April 2021, and hepatitis A has a long incubation period of 15 to 50 days.

A confirmed case was defined as a laboratory-confirmed HAV infection with one of three clustered sequences (sequences VRD21_HAV005, VRD21_HAV009 and VRD21_HAV020) and onset date from 1 January 2021 in England or Wales, no travel history or contact with a suspected or confirmed HAV case in the 60 days before onset. A probable case was a laboratory-confirmed HAV infection, with no or pending sequencing result, and with an epidemiological link to a confirmed HAV case with one of the three clustered sequences.

Samples from all locally diagnosed HAV infections in England and Wales are routinely sent to the VRD for characterisation. The outbreak cases had HAV from three closely related Middle Eastern genotype IB sequences (≤ 2 bp different in a 505 bp segment) which clustered most closely with those found in travellers returning from Syria and Lebanon. The sequences have been submitted to the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), accession numbers OD998295–OD998297.

USA – The Mustard Seed link in Hepatitis A scare

Food Poison Journal

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Mayville, NY– People who ate at The Mustard Seed Restaurant (31 E Main Street Fredonia, NY) between April 1 and May 19, 2021 were potentially exposed to hepatitis A. Most people do not get sick when an employee at a restaurant has hepatitis A, but there is still  a risk. People who may have been exposed should receive treatment to prevent infection.

“While the risk of hepatitis A infection is low, we must act prudently to prevent the spread of this very contagious disease,” said Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director.  “Anyone who may have eaten at this restaurant during this timeframe should check their immunization status and if not already vaccinated against hepatitis A, come to our free clinic this Saturday or visit their healthcare provider if they are experiencing symptoms.”

USA – State investigates Chipotle near Denver for likely Norovirus outbreak

Food Safety News

Food Borne Illness - Norovirus -CDC Photo

State and local health authorities in Colorado are acknowledging they are investigating an apparent foodborne illness outbreak involving a Chipotle Mexican Grill near Denver.

Two agencies, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the local Tri-County Health Department, are involved, and CDPHE issued the following statement.

“CDPHE is partnering with the Tri-County Health Department on a suspected foodborne outbreak at the Chipotle located at 6710 S Cornerstar Way. The investigation is ongoing, and at this time, the cause of the illness has not been identified.

“Symptoms appear to be consistent with viral gastroenteritis, which is often caused by norovirus. So far, CDPHE has identified a total of 8 ill patrons and employees. Public health officials are working closely with the restaurant, which has implemented disease control measures.”

UK – Marks and Spencer recalls Stuffed Medjool Date Selection because of possible contamination with Hepatitis A

FSA

Marks and Spencer is taking the precautionary action of recalling M&S Stuffed Medjool Date Selection (350g) because they might be contaminated with Hepatitis A.

Product details

M&S Stuffed Medjool Date Selection
Pack size 350g
Best before 13 July 2021

Risk statement

This product might be contaminated with Hepatitis A. Symptoms caused by Hepatitis A usually include fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, dark-coloured urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin).

Action taken by the company

Marks and Spencer is recalling the above product. Point of sale notices will be displayed in all retail stores that are selling this product. These notices explain to customers why the product is being recalled and tell them what to do if they have bought the product. Please see the attached notice.

Our advice to consumers

If you have bought this product do not eat it. Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund. For more information, contact their customer care line on 03330 148555.

About product recalls and withdrawals

If there is a problem with a food product that means it should not be sold, then it might be ‘withdrawn’ (taken off the shelves) or ‘recalled’ (when customers are asked to return the product). The FSA issues Product Withdrawal Information Notices and Product Recall Information Notices to let consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food. In some cases, a ‘Food Alert for Action’ is issued. This provides local authorities with details of specific action to be taken on behalf of consumers.

Ref: FSA-PRIN-29-2021

Research – Case–Control Study of Risk Factors for Acquired Hepatitis E Virus Infections in Blood Donors, United Kingdom, 2018–2019

CDC

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis in England. Substantial yearly increases of autochthonous infections were observed during 2003–2016 and again during 2017–2019. Previous studies associated acute HEV cases with consumption of processed pork products, we investigated risk factors for autochthonous HEV infections in the blood donor population in England. Study participants were 117 HEV RNA–positive blood donors and 564 HEV RNA–negative blood donors. No persons with positive results were vegetarian; 97.4% of persons with positive results reported eating pork products. Consuming bacon (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.7–5.5; p<0.0001), cured pork meats (OR 3.5, 95% CI 2.2–5.4; p<0.0001), and pigs’ liver (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.0–8.3; p = 0.04) were significantly associated with HEV infection. Our findings confirm previous links to pork products and suggest that appropriate animal husbandry is essential to reduce the risk for HEV infection.