Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: November 3, 2010

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

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United States

  • Ottawa, ON. November 1st: Health Canada is informing consumers, retailers and pest control operators of new measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of certain rodent control pesticides, also known as rodenticides. The new measures are aimed at reducing the exposure of children, pets and non-target animals to rodenticides.
  • Toronto, ON. November 2nd: Some 300 students and 12 teachers at St. Gregory Catholic School in Etobicoke have fallen ill with severe vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, fever (all lasting for about 24 hours) after attending a Halloween dance on Friday evening (October 29th). Approximately one-half of the student population at the school has been affected with what is believed to be a gastrointestinal virus (probably norovirus).
  • Hamilton, ON. November 3rd: St. Joseph's Hospital has been working to contain an outbreak of Clostridium difficile that has infected 16 people. Fourteen of the cases were acquired in the hospital. Two of the victims have died, but it is not yet clear whether their C. difficile infections played a role in the deaths. All of the affected patients are elderly.

  • Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia. November 2nd: Twelve children, aged 11 months to three years, have been hospitalized due to Salmonella infections. None of the children are in danger.
  • Vienne, France. November 3rd: The préfecture of Vienne and the regional health agency have confirmed that the recent food poisoning outbreak that sickened a number of students at the Rabelais and Henri-IV de Poitiers colleges, along with several adults, was due to Salmonella-contaminated imported ground beef. In all, 52 cases have been recorded. The distributed who supplied the ground beef has been asked to recall and destroy the remainder of the contaminated production lot.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Sri Lanka. November 2nd: At least 15 male students of the Ruhunu University were admitted to the Matara Hospital due to food poisoning.
  • Hilla (Babylon), Iraq. November 2nd: The Army Club basketball team was forced to postpone its scheduled game at the University of Babylon after team members were hospitalized due to food poisoning.
  • Azhar Region, Egypt. November 2nd: Twenty-one students at the Institute of Azhari Sohag were treated in hospital for food poisoning after eating a school meal. The students complained of vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
  • Hong Kong. November 3rd: The Centre for Food Safety recently conducted a targeted food surveillance project to assess the presence of Sudan dyes in 200 samples of eggs and egg products. All of the results were satisfactory.
  • Japan. November 3rd: The Consumer Affairs Agency plans to revise guidelines on expiration dates for processed foods by March. The move is intended to change the manufacturers' customary behavior of setting relatively short use-by periods for processed foods, resulting in an estimated 5 million to 9 million tons of edible food being discarded annually.

Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti. November 2nd: With the cholera epidemic toll standing at 4,764 cases and 337 deaths, the Ministry of Health is warning that the outbreak may be worsened significantly if Hurricane Tomas hits the already devastated country.

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