Sunday, May 24, 2009

Diarrhea Digest: May 24, 2009

Diarrhea Digest is an eFoodAlert feature that presents a periodic snapshot of foodborne and person-to-person gastroenteritis outbreaks from around the world.

One or twice a month, we'll survey the globe and discover what all of us have in common – a shared susceptibility to the bacteria and viruses that cause gastrointestinal disease.

Asia and Africa
  • Bangladesh, May 4 – Unusually high temperatures have triggered a severe outbreak of diarrhea, which has caused more than 1,000 people a day to seek treatment in Dhaka. At least 37 of the victims have died. More than 19,000 patients were admitted to hospital with diarrhea in March of this year, and 23,000 in April. May promises to be no better.
  • India, May 16 – Three children died in the northern state of Haryana, and 80 people have complained of diarrhea. The outbreak is blamed on contaminated water.
  • India, May 23 – Three children attending a wedding celebration in the village of Badavali died after consuming sweets at the function, and an additional 52 people complained of stomach upsets.
  • Malaysia, May 20 – Fried rice supplied by a local restaurant was blamed for an outbreak of food poisoning that affected 31 National Service trainees in a park camp. The food had been brought in from the restaurant after the camp kitchen was ordered closed after failing a health inspection.
  • Pakistan, May 23 – Diarrhea claimed the lives of two seven-year old children in the Sheikh Shahzad refugee camp. 

Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands
  • Australia, May 22, 2009 – Health authorities in the states of Victoria and in South Australia have warned about loose, semi-dried tomatoes that may be contaminated with Hepatitis A virus. There have been approximately twice as many hepatitis A cases as usual this year in Victoria (90 so far this year, versus 41 during the same period in 2008). The warning is limited to loose, semi-dried tomatoes sold in oil with herbs and garlic. Tomatoes packed in jars and pouches are not affected.

Europe, Including Russia
  • Kazakhstan, May 22 – An outbreak of what is described as viral enteritis has affected 118 people. The source is thought to be foodborne. The source and nature of the pathogen is under investigation.
  • Russia, May 20 – The incidence of hepatitis A is reported to be on the rise in Ufa, with 200 people hospitalized as a result of infection with this virus since the beginning of May.
  • Ukraine, May 20 – Fourteen people in the city of Kharkov were hospitalized with salmonellosis after eating ice cream that is believed to have been contaminated with Salmonella.  
  • Ukraine, May 23 – Sixty-two pupils at the Kiev Military Lyceum complained of upset stomach, nausea and fever after consuming breakfast at the Lyceum on May 19. All but three of the students have recovered. The source of the food poisoning outbreak is under investigation.
  • United Kingdom, May 22Quaglino's, a London restaurant, closed temporarily for an investigation following the death of a 50-year old woman who consumed oysters at the restaurant during her birthday celebration. Four others who shared the oysters will the victim also felt unwell, but were not seriously ill. 
  • United Kingdom, May 23 – Health officials in Cumbria are warning that farm visitors may be exposing themselves to Cryptosporidium infection. Fifteen individuals have been diagnosed with lab-confirmed cryptosporidiosis so far.

Western Hemisphere
  • Mexico, May 19 – An outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea has hit 25 children in Santa MarĂ­a Matamoras. The source of the outbreak is unknown.
  • United States, May 21 – The Utah Department of Health warned consumers against eating queso fresco cheese may by one or more private individuals. The Mexican-style cheese has been linked to several cases of gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella Newport. The contaminated cheese is believed to be responsible for at least seven illnesses.
  • United States, May 22 – Health authorities in Sedgwick County, Kansas are warning parents of the potential for an outbreak of shigellosis, now that community swimming pools are opening for the season. So far this year, 52 cases have been reported in the county, up from the usual 20 cases. Shigellosis is usually transmitted through water that has been contaminated by feces. Children or adults suffering from diarrhea should stay out of swimming pools.
  • United States, May 23 – Lubbock, Texas, which has been suffering through an 8-month long outbreak of shigellosis, may be in for a reprieve. Lubbock health officials are hoping that the outbreak will die down once public school classes have adjourned for the summer. Perhaps the Lubbock officials should compare notes with their counterparts in Kansas?

Please join us again the next edition of Diarrhea Digest.

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