martes, 13 de mayo de 2014

Epidemiological lessons from Hamburg in 2011

Pathogens came on the surface of fenugreek seeds, which had left Egypt by boat on Nov. 24, 2009.
 We might now be in a position where we could genome-sequence E.coli 0104:H4 quickly, but because it was a new strain, the authorities initially confused it for the more prevalent E.coli 0157:H7. When they found this latter bug on the cucumbers, they thought they had found the culprit. New bugs will always make life difficult for scientists.
The German outbreak also pointed to another unavoidable issue: the Egyptians initially denied responsibility. Whatever your technological advances, politics is still likely to slow you down. One bright spot here, though, is that the Chinese are much more cooperative than they once were. This is vital given that the country’s size and relative concentration of people makes it quite a likely source for outbreaks.
Another important step forward has been global food safety standards. The worldwide adoption of the hazard analysis critical control points system – HACCP — originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts from food poisoning, makes it less likely that the world food supply could lead to a major epidemic — even if some countries are still more diligent than others.
Food poisoning is more common than a century ago (albeit not dysentery spreading from person-to-person or tuberculosis in milk). The Ministry of Health for England and Wales recorded 59 food poisoning incidents during the years 1931-1935, compared to more than 73,000 in 2012, itself a gross underestimate because most people with food poisoning don’t seek medical advice.
The number of sufferers from the UK’s number-one cause, Campylobacter jejuni, has been convincingly estimated at 500,000 people each year. To some extent this is down to better diagnosis, but probably not entirely. The realities of 21st century mass production of cheap meat are likely to have driven up infection, for example.
Above all else, the big lesson from Germany was that a major outbreak could still take us completely by surprise. With microbes evolving as they do, we can be certain it will happen again.
Source: © Food Safety News

See more:

No hay comentarios.: