While US consumers have been consulting ever-changing lists of "safe" sources for tomatoes, the rest of the world has been coping with its normal diet – and its usual variety of food-borne diseases.
Poultry lovers in this country are breathing more easily this month. Cases of Campylobacter infections have dropped by more than one-third in the past year. Cross-contamination of food preparation areas with raw poultry, or eating undercooked poultry, are the most common causes of Campylobacter infection. The reduction in reported illnesses suggests that poultry producers in New Zealand might be starting to get a handle on the level of Campylobacter in their flocks.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) is investigating three separate clusters of reported food poisoning, two of them apparently involving the same restaurant. In total, 17 people have fallen ill. The Wan Chai district restaurant that was responsible for two illnesses on June 9th and four on June 15th has been ordered closed for cleaning and disinfection.
CHP is also looking into another food poisoning outbreak, which sickened 10 primary school children in Hong Kong's Southern District. The four boys and six girls complained of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever after eating lunch at the school.
Eighty students at a local school were taken to hospital in the latest of a series of boarding school-related food poisoning outbreaks in this country. Although two of the students were admitted to hospital, none are in any danger. The school's dining hall remains open, but "under supervision.
Eastern Samar, Philippines
Foul-smelling meat felled 200 participants at a fiesta in Hernani town, Eastern Samar last week. Roughly 70% of the victims were children. Approximately 60 of the villagers, who complained of dizziness, abdominal pain, loose bowel movement, vomiting and body weakness, were treated in hospital and released.
Clostridium perfringens was blamed by Tokyo health officials for an outbreak of food poisoning that sickened 95 attendees at a training workshop held at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo. The victims fell ill after eating a bento lunch, which was offered on June 12th to workshop participants.
This country takes food poisoning seriously. Fifteen people were arrested following a rash of food poisonings that sent 68 people to hospital and killed two of them. The victims fell ill after eating food served at a ceremony. Some of the 15 detained individuals have since been released.
Participants in a religious festival in Jaipur had reason to regret their attendance last week. More than 100 people – most of them children – suffered food poisoning; 90 were hospitalized, and three were reported to be in critical condition. District health authorities are blaming spoiled rice for the outbreak.
Forty-six children who were attending a kindergarten camp have been hospitalized as a result of infection with Yersinia enterocolitica. This pathogen is usually associated with consuming undercooked meat, or cross-contamination during food preparation. The camp is being investigated for possible unsanitary conditions. Due to the relatively long incubation period associated with this infection, health authorities are braced for additional cases.