Category Archives: Water

USA – Flooding from Hurricane Michael creates food safety issues across South

Food Safety News

Strong winds and heavy rain continue to wreak havoc across parts of the South today as Hurricane Michael meanders out of Georgia and heads up the mid-Atlantic Coast.

In addition to the devastating damage that is immediately visible today, less obvious hazards in the wake of the massive storm are expected to last weeks. Food safety dangers come in various forms and can cause severe illnesses and deaths as floodwaters recede.

Among the most vulnerable foods are fresh fruits and vegetables. They are breeding grounds for pathogens when power outages cause the loss of refrigeration and temperature control. Fresh produce that comes into contact with floodwater can be instantly contaminated with a wide range of bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The toxic composition of floodwater is such a serious food safety hazard that federal law prohibits the sale, distribution or donation of any produce or other food crops from fields that are flooded. Special inspections are required before such crops can even be used for animal feed. 

USA Today

Hurricane Michael leaves behind a treacherous, dangerous landscape that will likely pose risks to human health for weeks to come, experts say.

The water itself can carry bacteria and viruses that pose a major health hazard.

Among the medical dangers are cholera, Hepatitis A and vibriosis, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Glatter said storm victims need to stay focused on staying healthy while they await recovery efforts. That may mean not rushing outside as soon as the skies clear.

“Don’t panic— try to take things one step at a time when you feel overwhelmed,” he said.

Research – Cinnamaldehyde disrupts biofilm formation and swarming motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Microbiology Research

Bacterial biofilms can cause serious health care complications associated with increased morbidity and mortality. There is an urge to discover and develop new biofilm inhibitors from natural products or by modifying natural compounds or understanding the modes of action of existing compounds. Cinnamaldehyde (CAD), one of the major components of cinnamon oil, has been demonstrated to act as an antimicrobial agent against a number of Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Helicobacter pylori and Listeria monocytogenes. Despite the mechanism of action of CAD against the model organism P. aeruginosa being undefined, based on its antimicrobial properties, we hypothesized that it may disrupt preformed biofilms of P. aeruginosa. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of CAD for planktonic P. aeruginosa was determined to be 11.8 mM. Membrane depolarization assays demonstrated disruption of the transmembrane potential of P. aeruginosa. CAD at 5.9 mM (0.5 MIC) disrupted preformed biofilms by 75.6 % and 3 mM CAD (0.25 MIC) reduced the intracellular concentrations of the secondary messenger, bis-(3′–5′)-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP), which controls P. aeruginosa biofilm formation. The swarming motility of P. aeruginosa was also reduced by CAD in a concentration-dependent manner. Collectively, these findings show that sub-MICs of CAD can disrupt biofilms and other surface colonization phenotypes through the modulation of intracellular signalling processes.

Information -Do Ice Machines Spread Legionnaires Disease?

Legionella Control Legionella_Plate_01

Ice machines and chilled water dispensers are becoming increasingly popular both at home and in the workplace where they are used for a variety of purposes. At first glance, the freezing water temperatures used to create ice would suggest that opportunities for bacterial growth would be very limited and so the risks to people using them insignificant. However, this may not always be the case and here we consider if ice machines can spread Legionnaires’ disease.

Ice machines and chilled water dispensers offering ice or cold water do so at temperatures well below the 20-degree threshold for concern. However, each machine contains a mechanical compressor that is used to lower water temperatures. The heat given off by a compressor may be enough to warm the water inside the machine, thereby allowing Legionella bacteria to grow and multiply unseen. The bacteria could then potentially reach levels in the water where it may prove concerning for those drinking it or taking ice from the machine.

A similar scenario could occur if the machine is positioned in a warm spot, i.e. near to a radiator or other source of heat.

Zimbabwe – 20 dead, 2,300 suspected cases as Zimbabwe cholera outbreak spreads

Outbreak News Today 

CDC Vibrio

The Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child care has declared the ongoing cholera outbreak in the capital Harare a state of national emergency as the death toll rose to 20.

Over 2,300 suspected cases have been reported in Harare since the outbreak was confirmed on September 1. The number of infected is expected to rise countrywide following the confirmation of several new cases and at least one death in four other provinces outside the capital.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said all the new cases reported in Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces have been traced back to the outbreak in Harare.

“We are declaring a cholera emergency for Harare. This will enable us to contain cholera and typhoid in the city as quickly as possible. We do not want further deaths, and if we do not create this disaster emergency situation, we will continue losing lives,” he said.

Dr Moyo blamed the Harare City Council for triggering the cholera outbreak by neglecting burst sewerage reticulation pipes over the past two months, leading to faecal contamination of underground water sources.

Research – Using light emitting diodes at 450 nm for in vitro treatment of water intended for human consumption

Academic Journals 

CDC E.coli

Image CDC Enter a caption

This study aimed to evaluate the in vitro antimicrobial effect of exposing raw water intended for human consumption to light (λ= 450 nm) and to investigate the correlation between the results obtained and physical and chemical parameters. Fifteen (15) samples of raw water were collected from households in a rural area of ​​Santo Antônio de Jesus – Bahia (Brazil), from November to December 2016. A 100 mL aliquot of each sample was exposed to a lighting system consisting of two high intensity light emitting diodes, with a wavelength of 450 nm and luminous flux of 200 lumens per 10 h. Quantifications of heterotrophic bacteria, total coliforms and temperature started at time zero and were done every two hours until the end of exposure to light. Bacteriological analysis was repeated after 72 h of being exposed to light. pH, dissolved oxygen and salinity analyses were performed before each experiment. After a 10h illumination at 450 nm light emitting diodes (LEDs), the dosage of light received by the water samples was 581.8 J/cm2. There was a significant reduction in the two bacteriological parameters analyzed after treatment (p = 0.000). There was an average decrease in heterotrophic bacteria counts from 3.44 to 1.86 log CFU/mL and total coliforms from 2.45 to 1.02 log CFU/mL. Mean reductions of heterotrophic bacteria were 97.01% and total coliforms were 95.61%. After 72 h, both counts increased; there was significant growth between heterotrophic bacteria (p = 0.000), but there was no significant growth for total coliforms (p = 0.058). pH (p = -0.981, p = 0.000), dissolved oxygen (ρ = -0.529, p = 0.043) and temperature (ρ = 0.521, p = 0.047) were related to the percentage reduction of heterotrophic bacteria. The method is shown to be effective in disinfecting raw water in vitro under different physical and chemical conditions.

Norway -Vibrio and Shewanella: Norway health officials warn of swimming in the warm waters

Outbreak News Today 

CDC Vibrio

Image CDC Enter a caption

Norwegian health authorities are warning people who are particularly vulnerable to Vibrio infections to take precautions while swimming as a number of serious bacterial infections ave been recorded.

This summer, six people have been severely ill with wound infection due to bacteria in seawater (five Vibrio and one Shewanella). The infection has occurred after swimming in the Oslo Fjord.

All adults over the age of 50 who have had a sore wound or have suffered sores during bathing in the Oslo Fjord in five different municipalities, Bærum, Oslo, Moss, Vestby and Fredrikstad.

In addition to the serious cases we know from earlier, there have been reports of 20 people who have had mild Vibrio infections on August 8th. These are sore infections and ear infections that often do not require treatment.

USA – Tests confirm E. coli in well water at Sevier County zip line attraction – 500 + Ill

CDC E.coli

Image CDC



GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Health says local testing has confirmed E.coli in well water at a zip line attraction in Sevier County following an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among visitors.

The health department says testing showed E. coli and total coliforms in well water at CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour. More testing is underway in Nashville.

Total coliforms include bacteria that are found in the soil, in water that has been influenced by surface water, and in human or animal waste. Fecal coliforms are the group of the total coliforms that are considered to be present specifically in the gut and feces of warm-blooded animals.

The state department of health says nearly 3,000 surveys were sent out to people who had booked zip line tours online with CLIMB Works since mid-June. As of Tuesday morning, 808 people had responded with 548 people from multiple states reporting illness, including diarrhea and vomiting.