Each week, 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.
For the first edition of Diarrhea Digest, we'll play some "catch-up" on news from the past month.
Asia and Africa
- Bangladesh, April 14 – Eighteen workers at a slum development company were taken to hospital with food poisoning after sharing an on-the-job meal. Most of the remaining work crew complained of milder symptoms, including stomach pain and diarrhea.
- China, April 10 – Dozens of students in Heilongjiang Province complained of nausea and vomiting after eating at the university's No. 2 Canteen. Of the 101 ill college students, ten were hospitalized, 76 were given intravenous treatment and released, and 15 required no treatment.
- China, April 14 – Thirty film crew members and movie extras became ill with stomach pain and vomiting after eating take-out food from a local diner while filming on location in Shanghai.
- China, May 7 – An outbreak of food poisoning that sickened 186 people in Gansu Province has been blamed on Salmonella-contaminated spices that were used in the preparation of snack foods. The outbreak, reported on April 29, affected residents of three neighboring villages. At least 28 of the victims were hospitalized.
- Hong Kong, April 21 – Thirteen staff members in a seniors home in Fanling reported suffering mild symptoms of gastroenteritis, including abdominal pain and diarrhea. There were no reports of illness among the elderly residents of the home.
- India/Sri Lanka, April 11 – Eight passengers of an Air Lanka flight from India to Colombo were taken ill with symptoms of food poisoning after having been served snacks that had passed their expiry dates.
- Jordan, April 14 – Some high school students at Amer Ben Jarrah Secondary School became ill after eating hummus from a restaurant located near the school. Fifteen of the ill students were treated in hospital and then released.
- Singapore, April 7 – The Ministry of Health received reports of 137 cases of gastroenteritis in an outbreak that appears to be due to Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The pathogen, which is most often associated with raw seafood, was recovered from two of the outbreak victims. Thirty-seven of the victims were hospitalized, while the remaining 100 received out-patient treatment and were released. Consumers were warned to avoid eating food from the "Rojak Geylang Serai" stall, thought to be the source of the outbreak.
- Sri Lanka, April 22 – A group of 30 elementary school children were admitted to hospital with symptoms of food poisoning after consuming string hoppers with dhal curry at breakfast.
- Viet Nam, April 27 – More than 500 residents of a district in the southern province of Dong Nai were stricken with gastroenteritis. Authorities are investigating the source of the outbreak, which they suspect is due to contaminated water.
Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands
- New Zealand, May 5 – The owner/operator of a Gisborne restaurant was told to pay fines, reparations and court costs after he lost his appeal against a conviction under the Food Act. Robin Pierson had been charged with selling contaminated food to restaurant patrons on Christmas Day. Turkey left over from the buffet was found to contain high levels of Clostridium perfringens; the same microbe also was recovered from stool samples submitted by some of the affected patrons.
Europe, Including Russia
- Bulgaria, April 13 – Seven school boys were taken to hospital after complaining of dizziness, vomiting and stomach pains. Preliminary reports suggest that canned fish may have been the source of the food poisoning incident.
- Russia, May 8 – Students from Samara who were visiting St. Petersburg were handed an unwanted souvenir on their trip – food poisoning. The students believe that the source of their illness was a restaurant meal that they shared at the "Waterfall Desires" in St. Petersburg. Seventeen of the students have returned home, but others remain in a St. Petersburg hospital.
- Scotland (UK), April 17 – Three cases of scombroid food poisoning have been linked to tuna steaks purchased from a Tesco store in Inverness. Scombrotoxin sometimes is produced when tuna has been stored improperly.
- Chile, May 2009 – Between December 2008 and April 2009, the country registered 104 outbreaks of diarrhea caused by Shigella sonnei. Most of the 739 outbreak victims were no more than 10 years old. Shigellosis, which is transmitted directly from person to person, often is associated with nursery and child care settings.
- USA (New Hampshire), April 14 – 75 people who attended a Passover seder in Franconia fell victim to Salmonella food poisoning after sharing dishes prepared and brought to seder by the 150 participants.
- USA (New Hampshire), April 29 – An environmental camp that was the venue for a Salmonella outbreak earlier in the month has been given the all-clear to reopen after health officials traced the food poisoning outbreak to pudding prepared by Purity Springs.
Please join us again next week for another edition of Diarrhea Digest.
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