Category Archives: Water

India – Norovirus Outbreak: 62 Students Infected in Kerala

Zee News

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The Kerala Health Department on Monday (January 24) confirmed two cases of the gastrointestinal infection norovirus in class 1 students in Ernakulam district. The two samples were tested after 62 persons — students and their parents — developed symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, a high temperature, headache, and body aches.

The school authorities said that they have the results of drinking water testing for the last four months. The virus infected the children of the E division of the first class. Immediately upon noticing the incident, the health department informed the authorities and once again sent the water for testing. Officials said that the school is completely closed and online classes are being offered.

Research Breakthrough in fighting Legionnaires’ disease

Eurekalert

A new study of domestic and hospital drinking water systems found Legionella in 41% of samples – with Flinders University researchers making a key connection between the pathogen’s co-existence with a ‘host’ microorganism in all samples tested.

The study found Legionella bacteria “infect the amoeba host and then once inside these hosts are protected from disinfection strategies,” says Flinders University Associate Professor of Environmental Health Harriet Whiley, a co-author of the new journal article in Water Research.

Researchers tested for Legionella and its likely amoebae hosts in 140 samples of water or biofilm (the slime found on showerheads and end of faucets) to understand how the potentially dangerous bacterium colonises and proliferates in both domestic and hospital plumbing and poses a threat to human health.

Ireland – EPA finds issues with Fermoy water supply – Cryptosporidium

Irish Examiner

crypto

Cryptosporidium had been detected in the public water supply in Fermoy in November last year

The public water supply to the north Cork town of Fermoy could be at risk and placed on a list of water treatment plants needing corrective action, according to the State environmental watchdog.

The Environmental Protection Agency has warned Irish Water that Fermoy’s water treatment plant could be placed on its Remedial Action List which would require the utility to complete an action programme to address problems with the supply.

It follows an audit by EPA inspectors carried out on the facility last November to check if it was providing clean and wholesome water to households and businesses.

Research – Raw Aquatic Food Products – A Source of Pathogens and Parasites

CFS

The harmful microorganisms of concern include both bacteria (e.g. Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VP) and Vibrio cholerae (VC)) and viruses (e.g. norovirus). VP occurs naturally in seawater (estuaries and coastal areas). Hence, some seafood is inevitably contaminated with VP. On the other hand, VC can live in both saltwater and freshwater such as rivers. In Hong Kong, norovirus is a prevalent foodborne virus that is commonly found in polluted seawater and shellfish living in polluted areas is easily contaminated.

Research – Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Oysters under Low Tidal Range Conditions: Is Seawater Analysis Useful for Risk Assessment?

MDPI

Food Illness

Abstract

Human-pathogenic Vibrio bacteria are acquired by oysters through filtering seawater, however, the relationships between levels of these bacteria in measured in oysters and overlying waters are inconsistent across regions. The reasons for these discrepancies are unclear hindering our ability to assess if -or when- seawater samples can be used as a proxy for oysters to assess risk. We investigated whether concentrations of total and human pathogenic Vibrio vulnificus (vvhA and pilF genes) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (tlhtdh and trh genes) measured in seawater reflect concentrations of these bacteria in oysters (Crassostrea virginica) cultured within the US lower Chesapeake Bay region. We measured Vibrio spp. concentrations using an MPN-qPCR approach and analyzed the data using structural equation modeling (SEM). We found seawater concentrations of these bacteria to predictably respond to temperature and salinity over chlorophyll a, pheophytin or turbidity. We also inferred from the SEM results that Vibrio concentrations in seawater strongly predict their respective concentrations in oysters. We hypothesize that such seawater-oyster coupling can be observed in regions of low tidal range. Due to the ease of sampling and processing of seawater samples compared to oyster samples, we suggest that under low tidal range conditions, seawater samples can foster increased spatial and temporal coverage and complement data associated with oyster samples.

Research – Safety and quality of water used with fresh fruits and vegetables

WHO

During fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV) production, water is used for a variety of purposes. Even the water was conventionally treated and disinfected, it may still potentially contain human pathogens, albeit at low concentrations. A risk assessment, appropriate to the national or local production context, should be conducted to assess the potential risks associated with a specific water source or supply in order to devise the appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

Since the 48th session of Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) noted the importance of water safety and quality in food production and processing, FAO and WHO has undertaken the work on this subject. This report describes the output of the third in a series of meetings, which examined appropriate and fit-for-purpose microbiological criteria for water used with fresh fruit and vegetables. The advice herein will support decision making when applying the concept of fit-for-purpose water for use in the pre- and post-harvest production of fresh fruit and vegetables.

ECDC – Giardiasis (lambliasis) – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2019

ECDC

Giardia

In 2019, 18 004 confirmed giardiasis cases were reported in the EU/EEA. The EU/EEA notification rate was 5.2 cases per 100 000 population. The highest notification rates were reported in Belgium and Bulgaria. The EU/EEA notification rate was stable in the period 2015–2018, with a drop in 2019, the reasons for which have yet to be determined. The highest notification rate per 100 000 population was observed in the age group 0–4 years (16.5 for males and 15.0 for females).

Giardiasis is a common parasitic infection worldwide, caused by the protozoan Giardia lamblia (syn. G. duodenalis, G. intestinalis). The disease may be asymptomatic and self-limiting, or characterised by fatigue, bloating, acute diarrhoea and other chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. Infection occurs frequently via ingestion of cysts found in contaminated water (water-themed recreational activities, swimming pools or drinking water) or food, but person-to-person transmission may also occur, e.g. through sexual transmission.

Click to access giardiasis-%20annual-epidemiological-report-2019_0.pdf

Ireland – E. coli found in 1 in 20 private water supplies, says EPA.

EPA

Key Findings for 2021

➤Compliance with drinking water standards in private supplies hasn’t improved in recent years. One in 20 supplies failed to meet the standard, compared to 1 in 200 for public water supplies.

➤Local authorities are not monitoring over a quarter of small private supplies for E. coli – and there may be many more supplies which need to be registered with the local authority.

➤Despite these shortcomings, over 60% of government funding available for infrastructural improvements went unused by water suppliers.

➤The timely completion of the Government review of rural water services will provide direction and support to water suppliers to address risks to public health.

Sweden – At least 100 ill in Swedish Cryptosporidium salad outbreak

Food Safety News

water contamination

A rise in Cryptosporidium infections in Sweden has been attributed to contaminated salad by public health officials.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) said 101 cases of a certain type of Cryptosporidium parvum had been confirmed in 13 regions of the country.

Patients fell ill from Sept. 25 to Oct. 15 this year and women were more affected than men. Cases range from 4 to 86 years old with an average age of 42.

Link to salad
The agency added there are another 99 potential cases being investigated. The type of Cryptosporidium parvum involved is common so there could be several possible sources.

Local infection control units, the Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and Folkhälsomyndigheten investigated the increase in infections to find a source.

Analysis of information from patients on what they had eaten before becoming ill shows they ate mixed or bagged salad more often than a control group.

Salad has a short shelf life so health officials don’t think it is still available for sale but no products have been sampled.

Livsmedelsverket has looked into possible producers and growers but has been unable to find the likely source of infection.

As reported cases of Cryptosporidium have decreased and are at similar levels to previous years, officials believe the outbreak is over.

Research – EU and UK record travel-related Shigella infections

Food Safety News

A multi-country Shigella outbreak in Europe has been linked to stays at some hotels in Cape Verde.

Confirmed Shigella sonnei cases have been reported in the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said there is no information about the source of infection but given the increase in travel during the coming holiday season, new cases are likely.

However, Holiday Claims Bureau and Hudgell Solicitors in the UK have noted complaints of illness and poor hygiene standards from holidaymakers, suggesting the source could be contaminated food or water. Holiday Claims Bureau said it had been informed of sick people testing positive for Shigella.

Travelers have described symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and pains, which in some cases lasted until they returned home.

Anne ThomsonHudgell Solicitors’ travel litigation executive, said people can suffer as a result of a change in diet and climate.

“However, when we are alerted to situations where a number of holiday guests are affected by similar symptoms, particularly when they are not part of the same traveling group, we feel an investigation is needed to contain any wider outbreak and prevent future problems,” she said.

“Holidaymakers becoming ill having only ever eaten at the specific hotel they are staying at, and concerns raised by guests over standards of hygiene and cleanliness throughout premises, and not just in dining areas, are often red flags to potential underlying problems.”