lunes, 27 de febrero de 2012

A PRINCESS Cruise Lines ship was forced to return to its Florida port overnight following a second outbreak of the highly-contagious Norovirus.

During the latest Crown Princess voyage, which set sail February 4, 226 passengers and 63 crew members contracted the gastrointestinal illness.
The cruise had been scheduled to visit Curacao and Aruba and enter port tomorrow but was forced to return two days early "to undergo an extensive two-day sanitization," the operator said.
"In consultation with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ... it was agreed that this was the best course of action to stop the spread of the illness," it continued. "We sincerely regret having to cut short our passengers' cruise vacations because of this highly-unusual situation."
Staff members were set to begin the arduous task of cleaning the vessel in an attempt to rid it of the virus, which quickly spreads through person-to-person contact and via contaminated food and water.
"The enhanced disinfection of the ship in Fort Lauderdale will include bringing aboard additional cleaning crew to assist with a thorough sanitization of all public spaces and surfaces, including soft furnishing and carpets, railings, door handles and the like," the operator said.
The ship will return to sea for its next scheduled cruise Saturday, it added.
The previous cruise affected by the outbreak departed January 28, before returning February 4. Princess Cruise Lines said 364 passengers and 30 crew members contracted the virus.
The Crown Princess was not the only Florida-based cruise liner to suffer a norovirus outbreak recently. The Ruby Princess -- also a Princess Cruise Lines vessel -- returned to its Fort Lauderdale port February 5 after more than 100 passengers and crew became ill.
The Norovirus is a problem on cruise ships because it spreads more easily among large numbers of people concentrated in limited areas.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps, according to the CDC.

Whole-genome sequencing of 2011 E. coli outbreaks in Europe provides new insight

Study revealed small differences among the 
E. coli O104:H4 strains.
The outbreak in Germany, which was caused by the strain E. coli O104:H4, led to around 4,000 cases of bloody diarrhea, 850 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure, and over 50 deaths. The source of the outbreak was traced to sprouts from an organic farm in Germany. In France, where 15 people were sickened with bloody diarrhea that progressed to HUS in nine people, the source of the outbreak was sprouts, germinated from seeds purchased at a garden retailer, that were served at a children's community center buffet. European investigators, using traditional epidemiological methods, traced the outbreaks to a shipment of seeds from Egypt that arrived in Germany in December 2009.
The researchers analyzed isolates of E. coli from both the German and French outbreaks. Based on conventional molecular epidemiological analysis, the E. coli strains from the outbreaks in Germany and France appear identical. However, by the whole-genome sequencing and analysis allow to determine that there were small, but measurable, differences among the isolates. They found two surprising findings: All the strains connected to the larger German outbreak were found to be nearly identical, while the strains in France showed greater diversity; and the German isolates appeared to be a subset of the diversity seen in the French isolates.
If genomes have fewer differences than we expect, like the German outbreak, it suggests that the outbreak might have passed through a single bottleneck. A bottleneck might be something like disinfection procedures that killed most but not all of the bugs, or maybe passage through a single infected individual.
Another hypothesis offered by the researchers is that there was uneven distribution of diversity in the original shipment of contaminated seeds.

As costs for genomic sequencing decline, these tools, combined with traditional epidemiological techniques, can provide greater insight into the emergence and spread of infectious diseases and will help guide preventive public health measures in the future.

Drug-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus linked to animal antibiotics

Multi resistant strains causes severe infections in humans
A study recently published in MBio lends further weight to the growing theory that using animal antibiotics in livestock contributes to drug resistance among human bacteria.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a strain of Staph that's resistant to methicillin - the drug most commonly used to treat Staphylococcal infections. 
Using a detailed DNA mapping technique, researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Arizona were able to trace one of these superbugs - MRSA CC398 - to its origins, discovering that the human strain of this pathogen developed its drug resistance in animals rather than in people.
Often referred to as "pig-MRSA" or "livestock-associated MRSA," the strain is known to affect humans who have been exposed to live animals, such as farmers or veterinarians. But this study found that CC398 was originally a human bacterium, susceptible to antibiotics, before it spread to animals and then back to people. By the time it returned to humans it had picked up two souvenirs: resistance to methicillin and resistance to tetracycline - a drug often used to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections in patients allergic to the penicillin class of antibiotics, which includes methicillin.  
Because both tetracycline and penicillin are commonly administered to food animals, the study finds that it is likely that the use of these drugs in livestock gave Staphylococcus aureus the exposure it needed to develop resistance to these drugs.
In 2010, Tetracycline - used to promote growth and prevent the spread of disease - comprised over 42 percent of all antibiotics administered to food-producing animals in the United States. That year 12,328,520 pounds of the drug were given to animals, while just over 100,000 pounds of the drug are sold for human use. And while over 1.9 million pounds of penicillin were sold for animal use in 2010, approximately 1.5 million pounds are distributed for human use. 

Source: MBio, ASM

New Jersey Campylobacter jejuni contaminated raw milk outbreak

Ingestion of unpasteurized milk is the cause
Two New Jerseyans, including a toddler, were among the six dozen people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to report illnesses this week after drinking raw milk from a dairy farm. The Family Cow voluntarily stopped selling raw milk for 11 days, and resumed sales on Feb. 7 after a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture inspection re-approved the dairy's operations.

The 78 cases reported by the state department of Health and Senior Services standards — could be a fraction of the number of recent instances of raw-milk related illnesses. Authorities recognize foodborne illnesses tend to be very under-reported, because people will go out to a restaurant, get sick afterwards, and they usually blame it on themselves.
The dozens of cases recently reported to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey departments of health were most likely revealed by health professionals who made the association to the raw milk. Doctors are obligated by law to report such illnesses to the state.

People become sick after consuming raw, or unpasteurized, milk that contains the Campylobacter, an enteric pathogen that causes gastrointestinal illness. The disease called campylobacteriosis usually develops within two to five days after ingesting the bacteria. Symptoms — often bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramping — can last for about a week.

The sale of milk that unpasteurized is not permitted in many places; New Jersey is one of them to keep people from getting sick. Unfortunately some people believe the raw version of milk — which has not had the bacteria removed — are healthier, and prevent autism. “There are millions of people in the country, and there is going to be a fringe of people who wrongly believe that pasteurization is a plot that affects the quality of milk.
The reason pasteurization was invented was to stop people from getting sick who drank raw milk. There is one hundred years of evidence to suggest that it works finely. Reversing it at this point doesn’t make any sense.

Milk is not the only food in which Campylobacter can be found, contaminated poultry and non potable water are also frequent sources of campylobacteriosis.