Friday, April 18, 2008

Food Poisoning Around The World - This Week's Itinerary

This week, our tour of food poisoning venues includes stops in the United States, England, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Alabama, USA
Some attendees at a church lunch in Dothan, AL experienced nausea, vomiting and lethargy after their meal. The 28 individuals reported eating "...chicken and rice, green beans and a brownie..." according to a report on WTVY, a local CBS affiliate. The local health department is investigating, and hopes to have some test results within the next 48 hours.

Shropshire, England
A second boy has been diagnosed with an E. coli O157:H7 infection in the last few weeks. Doctors suspected appendicitis at first, but then determined that he was suffering from a severe case of E. coli O157:H7. The victim, whose kidneys have been affected, is being treated in Birmingham Children's Hospital. Health officials are of the opinion that this case is not connected with an earlier case of E. coli O157:H7 in the same part of the country.

Hong Kong (via Cambodia)
Ten members of a tour group developed symptoms of dysentery after returning from a trip to Cambodia. The five men and five women, aged
26 to 65, complained of fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection is contacting other tour participants to determine whether there were any more victims.

Warm weather is exacerbating an outbreak of diarrhea in this country. The International Center for Diarrhea Disease Research in Dakka received 418 patients on April 17th, and an additional 221 by 3pm on April 18th. The situation is not expected to improve as long as the weather remains hot.

Finally, we return to Vietnam for an update on this Southeast Asian country's cholera outbreak. Health authorities have received reports of more than 1,800 cases of acute diarrhea in
19 cities and provinces since March 5th. Cholera has been confirmed in 326 patients. The outbreak is still confined mostly to the northern part of Vietnam, including the cities of Hanoi and Hai Phong.

The country is trying to address the underlying causes of the outbreak. The Health Ministry has announced that it will spend US$80 million on six new food safety programs, and the government has been dredging and disinfecting contaminated waterways in an effort to control the spread of the cholera.

That's this week's whistle-stop tour. Watch for the next installment in a few days.

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