Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: September 15, 2010

A daily digest of international outbreaks, alerts and food safety news

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United States
  • Norton, KS. September 11th: The Kansas Department of Health and Environment rescinded the boil water advisory for the City of Norton, after lab testing on samples collected indicated no evidence of contamination.
  • San Diego County, CA. September 14th: The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for the Wynola Water District (Julian), because the drinking water system has tested positive for the presence of total coliform bacteria (and absent for E. coli). The Boil Water Order will remain in effect until the distribution system has been disinfected and additional samples confirm the absence of bacteria in the water supply.

  • United Kingdom. September 15th: Research by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revealed that over half the cleaning cloths used in restaurant and take-away kitchens were found to contain unsatisfactory levels of bacteria which are a sign of poor hygiene and cross contamination. The research team sampled 133 cloths, from 120 establishments in the North east of England, and found that 56 per cent contained unacceptable levels of bacteria. The most common of which were Enterobacteriaceae (found on 86 cloths), E. coli (21 cloths), Staphylococcus aureus (six cloths) and Listeria (five cloths).
  • Ulyanovsk, Russia. September 15th: Thirteen children (age 4 to 6 years) who attend a nursery in the village of October Cherdaklinskogo fell ill recently with vomiting and fever. They were taken to hospital, where they were diagnosed with an intestinal infection. Two remain hospitalized. Based on preliminary investigation, the source of the infection is suspected to be either kefir or watermelon, both of which were on the kindergarten menu that day.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Mascara, Algeria. September 11th: Six members of one family were admitted to hospital on September 7th complaining of vomiting and acute diarrhea. One of the victims – a 30-year old woman – died at home after leaving the hospital in the company of another family member on September 10th. An autopsy has been ordered. Three people, including two children, remain under medical observation.
  • Sidi Brahim, Algeria. September 14th: A flock of 8,500 broiler chickens was ordered slaughtered after lab analysis determined that the flock was infected with Salmonella Enteritidis. Steps have been taken to disinfect the equipment and transport vehicles which came into contact with the infected chickens.
  • Taiwan. September 14th (update): Taiwan Centers for Disease Control reports an imported outbreak of shigellosis. A life insurance company invited 140 members of the company to Siem Reap, Cambodia, during 3-7 Sep 2010. Upon the group's return through Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan, on 7 Sep 2010, quarantine officers found 7 members with fever and diarrhea. The earliest onset of symptoms was on 6 Sep 2010. Rectal swabs were taken from 7 persons. On 10 Sep 2010, 4 were confirmed to be infected with Shigella flexneri. Contact tracing of all members of the tour group found an additional 51 persons with symptoms.
  • Taiwan. September 15th: In April, 113 agricultural products were randomly sampled and tested in the first testing, of which 102 were found in compliance with relevant regulations (qualified rate 90.3%). The agricultural products that failed the tests included: water spinach (2), cucumber (1), egg plant (2), bell pepper (1), tomato (1), snap bean (2), kidney bean (1), and cucumis sativus (1).
  • Harare, Zimbabwe. September 15th: A fresh outbreak of cholera has killed one person and infected four others in Chiredzi town, some 300 kilometers north of Zimbabwe's border with South Africa.

Australia and New Zealand
  • Canterbury, NZ. September 15th: The New Zealand Food Safety Authority is warning caf├ęs, restaurants and whitebaiters that food taken from sewage-contaminated rivers and estuaries could cause serious illness. The Heathcote, Avon, Halswell and Stxy Rivers are probably contaminated with sewage, according to the warning.

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