Sunday, September 19, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: September 19, 2010

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

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United States
  • St. Johns County, FL. September 17th: An algae bloom, composed of Cocholodinium polykrikoides – a species more commonly found off the coast of Japan and Korea – has been identified as the cause of a miles-long reddish discoloration off the coast of St. Johns County beaches. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is not aware of any fish kills or marine die-off associated with the algae.
  • Alamosa, CO. September 18th: While not admitting negligence, Alamosa has agreed to pay 29 residents a total of $360,000 to settle claims over a Salmonella outbreak that health officials blamed on the city water system.

  • Pritchard, BC. September 17th: The Pritchard community north of the South Thompson River has been told to boil its water after a recent sample was found to contain E. coli. According to a report in the Kamloops Daily News, there was a low total chlorine count and virtually no residual chlorine in the drinking water sample that was overgrown with E. coli. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District explained that the problem stemmed from a malfunctioning chlorine system, which has since been fixed. New samples have been taken and if three consecutive samples are satisfactory, the notice will be downgraded.

  • United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. September 17th: So far this year, the Health Protection Agency has confirmed 66 reports of human infection with Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 in England and Northern Ireland. This compares with 34 cases in 2008 and 47 in 2009e. Two of the reported cases are known to have been hospitalized, and one of those two victims died. Most of the cases are adults (average age 46), and 61% are men. The increased number of Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 infections are related to the consumption of duck products - mainly duck eggs. A similar outbreak has been under investigation in Ireland, were 24 cases have been confirmed since the start of 2010. The Irish cases have been linked to consumption of duck eggs from small backyard flocks and private farms. Hen eggs have not been implicated in the British or Irish outbreaks.
  • England and Scotland. September 17th: The Health Protection Agency and Health Protection Scotland are investigating 73 confirmed cases of Salmonella Bareilly – 58 in England and 15 in Scotland – which have been reported since the beginning of August. Seventeen of the cases were reported in the North West of England. Routine quality control testing by a salad produce wholesaler has identified Salmonella (Group C) on a bean sprout sample. It is not yet known whether the bean sprouts are linked to the current Salmonella Bareilly outbreak (Bareilly is a member of Salmonella Group C).
  • Uppsala, Sweden. September 18th: Ten language students from Thailand have been hospitalized with suspected mushroom poisoning after making a stew from death cap (fly agaric) mushrooms that they collected in the woods. The students thought that they had selected edible mushrooms.
  • Ulyanovsk, Russia. September 19th: Prosecutors have launched a probe into an acute intestinal infection that sent nine secondary school children to hospital with suspected dysentery. The village of Bolshoye Nagatkino, where the school is located, had lacked a water supply for several days prior to the infections.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Bangalore, India. September 17th: One tiger is dead and two others are critically ill at the Bannerghatta Biological Park sanctuary after being fed Salmonella-contaminated meat. The tigers have been suffering from severe diarrhea. Several other tigers also are ill. Blood samples from some of the tigers contained either or both of Salmonella and E. coli. The Park has stopped feeding poultry meat, which is suspected to be the source of the infections.
  • Bhubaneswar, India. September 18th: The official cholera death toll in the district has risen to 40 (the unofficial toll is 74). Of the 1,311 people who have been infected with cholera, 1,232 have recovered and 39 remain in various hospitals in the district.

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