martes, 18 de agosto de 2015

Swedish investigation finds risk of contaminated spices in other countries

An outbreak investigation into spices sickened 178 people in Sweden has revealed a risk of contaminated products on the market in other countries.
The first case was reported on 24 December 2014 and the latest count includes data up to 31 July. More than half of the patients (113) fell ill after eating at a restaurant linked to using Iwi spice mix sold by the company Dimpex .

Another firm, Sevan, issued a withdrawal after Salmonella found in some of its already opened products but it is not part of the restaurant outbreak.
 Each year, around two to five cases with Salmonella Enteritidis phage type (PT) 13a are reported.

In 2014, four of the domestic S. Enteritidis cases were PT 13a, according to the research in Eurosurveillance. Minor increase could go unnoticed Sweden launched an ‘urgent inquiry’ in the Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS), on 2 April. No other country has reported an increase of this specific subtype of S. Enteritidis. However, many European Union Member States only subtype S. Enteritidis in outbreak situations or cluster investigations and phage typing or MLVA is not frequent in all EU countries so a minor increase could go unnoticed.

A Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) alert by Austria on 26 June reported Salmonella spp. in a spice mix/seasoning from a manufacturer in Croatia, with a similar content of dried vegetables as one of the brands implicated in the Swedish outbreak. The specific batch from which Salmonella spp. was not available in Sweden. The serotype was S. Oranienburg (not S. Enteritidis PT 13a), according to the Austrian Salmonella Reference Centre. In countries with a high number of reported cases of S. Enteritidis infection, however, a small increase in number of cases with the outbreak strain could go undetected. 

The detection of Salmonella spp. in two different brands of spice mixes sold in Sweden and the RASFF alert from Austria during the outbreak period, however, indicates that there could be a common ingredient in these mixes that are contaminated with Salmonella spp.
Swedish investigation Initial investigations suggested the vehicle of infection was most likely a food item with a long shelf life given the first case was in December. By the end of May, cases increased to 48 and were from over 14 counties. At the beginning of June, Kalmar county reported a case who had fallen ill after eating at a restaurant, cases continued to be reported and at the end of the following week six people were ill. As they all shared the strain, S. Enteritidis PT 13a. In total, 108 cases were connected to the restaurant, including staff members. Many had severe symptoms, including bacteremia, and were hospitalized but exact numbers are not yet known.

Culture analysis require dilution steps and number of replicates were often necessary to detect and isolate Salmonella spp., indicating very low concentration of the pathogen in spices.

Source: Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 30, 30 July 2015 “Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 13A infection in Sweden linked to imported dried­ vegetable spice mixes, 

Listeria traced to fish products despite passing tests.

Track and trace four people sickened by Listeria monocytogenes linked to a fish producer in Denmark but authorities have not found high levels of the pathogen in products on the market.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said intensive sampling and testing for Listeria at Hjerting Laks has not revealed any products with elevated levels. There has been no product recall because tested samples have been below the accepted limit.

DVFA report traced to Hjerting Laks as it has a DNA match between samples from the company and patients. This information was confirmed through whole genome sequencing. This gives us an excellent opportunity to find sources of outbreaks. In this case, we have a DNA match between Listeria from the patients and samples taken from the company’s production area and equipment. The specific Listeria monocytogenes ST6 sequence pattern in question is not present in other samples from other sources.

In May, FQN reported two people with the same Listeria strain, which caused 40 cases and 16 deaths last year due to consumption of contaminated deli meat.
The current outbreak involves Listeria monocytogenes ST6 and is not linked to the outbreak last year. However, one case of the five mentioned is part of the outbreak traced back to the establishment Hjerting Laks thanks to work by DVFA, Statens Serum Institut and the National Food Institute. The first person became ill at the beginning of April, the second in mid-May, the third in mid-June and the fourth at the end of June. Hjerting Laks response and past outbreak DVFA said it did not know exactly which food item caused the outbreak but suspects smoked salmon, since patients have eaten this product prior to illness.

Hjerting Laks said samples this year of final products have met all requirements; the pathogen could originate from raw materials delivered to other processors and the link to it despite the small case number. The firm previously linked with a minor outbreak of Listeria, late last year, related to smoked halibut, which declined by changing some of the production processes. No further cases related to smoked halibut were reported since November 2014. Officials said due to the incident last year DVFA has strengthened control of Listeria at the company, which co­operated throughout the process. The company change its routines about production and own check scheme. This includes upscaling their analyses program. The establishment implemented tightened supervision for the time being and until we know if the new procedures in place are effective.

Consumers should to throw away products that have exceeded the “use by” date. Also they be careful to keep the refrigerator temperature below 5ºC. Consumers should also remember that a product’s shelf life shortens after package opening. Consumers must also follow the general advices on good hygiene in the kitchen.
In Denmark about 50 cases of illness due to Listeria pathogen are registered a year. However, in 2009 and 2014 there were 90 to 100 due to major outbreaks.


lunes, 17 de agosto de 2015

Public Health Agency Canada investigating 67 illnesses linked to raw oysters.

Consumer’s should eat right away after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
 The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investigating 67 Canadian cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) infections linked to raw shellfish. The majority of illnesses are connected to eating raw oysters.
PHAC said work is ongoing to determine the source and distribution of products and illnesses are avoided if shellfish are cooked before being eaten. British Columbia and Alberta affected. Sixty seven cases were reported in British Columbia (48) and Alberta (19) with one person being hospitalized. Individuals became sick between June 1 and August 7 and all reported consumption of raw shellfish, primarily oysters.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Health Canada are also investigating. Fisheries and Oceans Canada said Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a naturally occurring bacterium that can be present in bivalve shellfish (i.e. clams, oysters, scallops, mussels, cockles) even in harvest areas that are open and approved for shellfish harvesting.

The pathogen is present in higher concentrations in summer months when water and air temperatures rise, increasing risk of infection and illness when bivalve shellfish (like oysters) are consumed raw or undercooked.

Symptoms of infection may include watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headache and usually start within 12 to 24 hours and may last up to three days. 
To reduce the risk of illness, bivalve shellfish should be harvested at the water's edge when the tide is going out and shellfish should be iced, refrigerated or frozen immediately.

Consumer’s should eat right away after cooking, refrigerate leftovers, and always keep raw and cooked shellfish separate. Cooked to a safe internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)report an increasing number of shellfish ­related illness occurred this summer with 35 cases reported in June and July. The majority of illnesses were due to raw oysters sourced in British Columbia and served in restaurants, but there have also been some cases associated with raw oysters bought at retail or self-­ harvested. Marsha Taylor.


sábado, 15 de agosto de 2015

Alto contenido de proteínas de la Cutícula del huevo lo protege de la Salmonellosis.

La edad de las gallinas influye directamente en la calidad de la cutícula.
Investigadores de la universidad de Granada han determinado que la composición química de la cutícula del huevo de gallina es un factor “determinante” contra la contaminación de este producto por Salmonella, patógeno bacteriano que con frecuencia produce gastroenteritis.  

Según ha informado investigadores de la Fundación Descubre, la eficacia de esta protección está determinada por la composición de la cutícula, rica en polisacáridos (azúcares), lípidos y proteínas. Estas últimas desempeñan un papel fundamental, ya que una mayor cantidad de proteínas aumenta la protección del huevo frente a la infección bacteriana.

Uno de los factores que influyen en la composición de la cutícula es la edad de las gallinas y los científicos han comprobado que los huevos de las más jóvenes – 25 semanas- tienen una cutícula de mejor calidad (mayor presencia de proteínas), que las mayores con una edad entre 35 y 52 semanas. Para esta investigación han sido utilizadas técnicas analíticas avanzadas como espectroscopia de infrarrojos o electrónica de barrido de las que se ha obtenido información detallada sobre las propiedades de la cutícula.

La madurez de la cutícula (capa formada por proteínas, lípidos y otros componentes que rodea la cascara), la edad de las gallinas o la fecha de la puesta de huevos son otros aspectos que influyen en el proceso de contaminación con la bacteria.
La cutícula, invisible al ojo humano, actúa como una pantalla protectora para el huevo. La cascara es una estructura permeable, con poros; a través de los cuales pueden pasar no solo el agua y oxigeno que el embrión necesita para crecer, sino también bacterias como Salmonella.

El investigador Alejandro Rodríguez, ha explicado que estas proteínas se encargan de regular la permeabilidad de la cutícula; de modo que a mayor proporción menos pasa a través de la cascara del huevo; y por tanto, menos riesgo de que las bacterias puedan proliferar al interior del alimento. Por el contrario una menor cantidad de proteínas significa que la cutícula es más permeable y el agua y las bacterias pueden entrar con más facilidad.

Según los expertos del Departamento de Mineralogía y Petrología, los resultados de este estudio, que aporta información detallada sobre las características de esta cubierta y las funciones de sus componentes, pueden tener aplicaciones relevantes en la industria avícola para empresas relacionadas con la producción de huevos o la selección de gallinas ponedoras.

Aporte: Claudia Soto Peña y Beatriz Villarreal

martes, 4 de agosto de 2015

Cyclospora cases pass 350 in US with some linked to Mexican cilantro

Conditions at multiple firms included human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities.
CDC reported more than 350 people in 26 states sickened by Cyclospora cayetanensis. The agency said 358 people are ill with most (199; 56%) reporting onset of illness on or after May 1, and no international travel. Clusters of illness linked to restaurants or events have been reported in Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Investigations in Wisconsin and Texas have preliminarily identified cilantro as a suspect vehicle.  Previous outbreaks of cyclosporiasis were linked to imported fresh produce, including cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico.
Annually recurring outbreaks (in 2013 and 2014) have been associated with fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla. Fresh cilantro checked at border by FDA issued an import alert to detain samples of fresh cilantro from Puebla from 1 April to 31 August. It comes after the FDA, the government of Mexico’s National Agro­Alimentary Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA) and Federal Commission for the Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), investigated farms and packinghouses. These agencies inspected 11 farms and packing houses that produce cilantro in Puebla from 2013 to 2015, five linked to past C. cayetanensis illnesses, and found objectionable conditions at eight of them, including all five linked through traceback to the illnesses.
Conditions at multiple firms included human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities; inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities or lack of them and water used for washing cilantro vulnerable to contamination from sewage/septic systems.
Shipments of fresh cilantro from other states in Mexico are accepted if they were harvested and packed outside of Puebla. Public Health England (PHE) has also warned of an outbreak linked to contaminated food in Mexico. 24 cases were reported in England and Scotland in June and July, of which 21 were associated with travel to Mexico, it said. Salmonella investigations.
Meanwhile, the outbreak of Salmonella linked to pork products has grown to 90 cases in Washington State. Health officials have asked the CDC to send a special team to help with the investigation. The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-­FSIS) issued a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella associated with pork products, specifically whole pigs used for pig roasts. FSIS was told of Salmonella I 4, [5],12:i­illness clusters on July 15 and suspects there is a link between the illnesses associated with whole pigs used for pig roasts and eight illness clusters based on information gathered with the Washington State Department of Health and the CDC.

Heavy rains increase the risk of food contamination by Salmonella

Study: Salmonella Infections Rise With Extreme Weather Events

Salmonella is the one of the most common pathogen causing gastroenteritis in humans. The disease can happen when people consume contaminated food such as meat, eggs, produce, among others. Salmonella infections proliferate during seasons characterized by elevated temperatures and precipitation which can amplify bacterial replication and transmission to surface water and food crops (potential sources of infection).

Heavy rains increase the risk of food contamination by Salmonella. For example,   rivers overflows and that excess of water is poured on crops. Sometimes, farmers use chicken manure as fertilizer, therefore, when the precipitation increase, the rain spread the pathogen. Researchers at the University of Maryland has shown that climate change may be causing more than just an increase in extreme weather events such as heat waves and storms. Those events also seem to be bringing a heightened risk of Salmonella outbreaks. The research, published in Environment International, concluded that the risk of salmonellosis can increase in 4,1% when the temperature increase in one unit. They observed that this risk increase was more pronounced in coastal versus non-coastal areas (5.1% vs 1.5%). 
Likewise, they observed a 5.6% increase in salmonellosis risk associated with a 1 unit increase in extreme precipitation events, with the impact disproportionately felt in coastal areas (7.1% vs 3.6%). It is important to considerate that bacteria tend to multiply and grow better in warmer and wetter environments.
In addition, Tirado et al. described that infection with Salmonella Enteritidis appears to be more sensitive to the effects of environmental temperature, at least as compared with infections caused by Salmonella Typhimurium. Inappropriate storage temperature and food handling would be important factors in disease transmission.

-       Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
-       Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.
-       Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
-       Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.

Aporte: Rosita Cabrera Tagle