Pools or animal farms: 223 sick UK crypto could be anywhere

Janet Hughes of Gloucestershire Live writes that scientists are checking to see if summer holiday visits to animal attractions are behind a massive spike in the number of toddlers with cryptosporidium.

crypto.petting.farmPublic health chiefs are asking affected families to fill in questionnaires about where they have been and what they have eaten in an effort to trace the source of the outbreak which is particularly bad in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Children aged between one and five years are most at risk from the parasite cryptosporidium which is three or four times more prevalent than normal this summer.

Doctors believe a small number of cases could be linked Oasis leisure centre in Swindon, which has been closed as a precautionary measure, and say swimming in contaminated lakes, rivers or swimming pools can cause the disease to strike.

But many of those struck down are young toddlers so other possible theories include the prospect that children might not have washed their hands after petting animals at attractions during the summer holidays.

Hand washing is never enough.


Nosestretcher alert: Australian food safety type talks shit

Food poisoning and gastroenteritis affect 4.1 million Australians a year.

y a t il un pilote dans l'avion ? airplane flying high 1980 réal : Jim Abrahams David et Jerry Zucker Leslie Nielsen Collection Christophel Collection Christophel

If you do find yourself stricken with something nasty, it might be tempting to put a big, black mark against the last restaurant you ate in. But, according to Dr Vincent Ho, clinical gastroenterologist and lecturer in medicine at the University of Western Sydney, eating out isn’t always to blame. “It’s more common to get food poisoning with home meals, and that’s because people eat at home more often than they go out,” he tells Time Out. “Generally speaking, in Australia, and other developed countries where we have good sanitation, the vast majority of the time when we go out, there isn’t any food poisoning or gastroenteritis.”

Another so-called expert talking shit.

For instance there was an outbreak caused by contaminated lettuce in NSW recently. They were able to trace that back by looking at the people affected, asking about what they were eating and looking for common elements.”

Some would call it epidemiology.

Poultry products and meat are the most common sources of food poisoning, but most cases of gastroenteritis can be traced back to inadequate hand washing.

Nosestretcher alert.

Can’t image a more factually incorrect and condescending statement.

Fresh produce is the leading source of foodborne illness in Western countries and has been for over a decade.

But it’s still 1978 here in Australia.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002In Australia and other developed countries, “we’ve taken special preparations to reduce the incidences of food-borne infections.” We have health inspections, food safety laws and signs everywhere that say “all staff must wash hands” when we’re eating out.

Seriously, you think those signs work?

How did you get to be a professor of anything?

At home, we have to rely on ourselves, and it turns out, many people are not that reliable. It only takes 10 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water to seriously reduce your chance of passing around a stomach bug, and yet, most people aren’t doing it properly.

That’s the reason you’re more likely to pick up an illness at home, or in a closed-off environment like a cruise ship, day care or nursing home, where you’re exposed to lots of people’s germs, than you are from a restaurant. At a restaurant, “although there are always occasions where food isn’t prepared optimally” there are structures in place to ensure caution. At home, you’re on your own.

Dr. Ho, I’ll gladly go to your home and watch you prepare a meal.

Most people don’t invite me to dinner because they know who I am.

But I’ll give you a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Parents hate my food safety stories, so just a face palm: 611 sick with Salmonella from backyard chicks

Sorenne rode her bike to school on Friday for the first time.

After months of angst, probably because she saw daddy wipe out and get 23 stiches a couple of years ago when she was on training wheels, she rode her bike.

Today (Wed) they had a bike-to-school day to play-bicycle-polo-on-the-tennis courts, and the number of kids and bikes was a bit much to handle.

But that’s a good problem.

picard.face.palmI was chatting with a parent after school, while the kids retrieved their bikes that were stored at the swimming pool due to overload, and I said it was a nice problem to have, and then we chatted about the weather – depths of winter, 24C in Brisbane – and he said I guess spring has sprung, our backyard chickens laid two eggs yesterday, so I guess spring is here.

I smiled but inside I was doing my best Jean-Luc.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are now eight multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

In the eight outbreaks, 611 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 45 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2016 to June 25, 2016.

138 ill people were hospitalized, and one death was reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a cause of death.

195 (32%) ill people were children 5 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings have linked the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings sourced from multiple hatcheries.

Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean.

These outbreaks are a reminder to follow steps to enjoy your backyard flock and keep your family healthy.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.

baby.chickDo not let live poultry inside the house.

Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without adult supervision.

These outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since flock owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry or participate in risky behaviors that can result in infection.

Ill people reported purchasing live baby poultry from several suppliers, including feed supply stores, Internet sites, hatcheries, and friends in multiple states. Ill people reported purchasing live poultry to produce eggs, learn about agriculture, have as a hobby, enjoy for fun, keep as pets, or to give as Easter gifts. Some of the places ill people reported contact with live poultry include their home, someone else’s home, work, or school settings.

Public health officials collected samples from live poultry and the environments where the poultry live and roam from the homes of ill people in several states. Laboratory testing isolated four of the outbreak strains of Salmonella.

Handwashing rarely observed by Yellowknife restaurant inspectors

Seems like Larry has taken up the throne of food safety dude in Canada.

see.no.evil.monkeysI remember the days when I taught Larry and Kevin Allen – who’s been sidelined by a concussion but is still a hockey goon at heart – the basics of risk analysis at the University of Guelph.

I have other NSFV Larry stories, but will leave those for another day.

Priscilla Hwang of CBC News reports Yellowknife’s restaurant inspectors have been checking off the “not-observed” box on their inspection sheets, indicating they’re not seeing handwashing in over a quarter of all city restaurants and food-handling locations.

That means workers in one in four food locations in Yellowknife are not checked by inspectors to see if they’re complying with one of the critical inspection items — “hands clean and properly washed,” according to a CBC News analysis of the territory’s most recent restaurant inspection data.

“It seems like not only are those critical things not followed by the restaurant, but the inspectors themselves are not necessarily looking for them or spending long enough time to observe them,” says Lawrence Goodridge, a food safety professor at McGill University.

“And in my opinion, handwashing is probably the most important part of food safety.”

Goodridge says workers generally need to wash their hands frequently, especially after touching something that may contaminate them, or after using the washrooms.

He cites one U.S. study that suggests restaurant employees should wash their hands 29 times per hour. “So, you tell me,” he chuckles.  

Goodridge admits the critical things, like handwashing, are more difficult to observe and “are the ones that tend to be missed.” But he says that handwashing is right at the top of the critical list.

“They should stay long enough to see all the critical points in the inspection are being met, at the least,” says Goodridge.

More than a quarter of the city’s restaurants also received “not observed” status for proper sanitizing and storing of cloths used for wiping tables and dirty dishes, a non-critical item on the list.


‘It’s a good thing the standard greeting in Japan is bowing not shaking hands’ Handwashing in Japan

Surveys suck, but can be entertaining.

japan.handwashingCasey Baseel of Rocket News 24 reports Creative Survey recently polled a group of 600 Japanese men and women (75 of each gender in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s) about their bathroom habits, and came away with some pretty gross statistics regarding how many of them properly wash their hands after going to the bathroom

Almost one in five people polled said that they occasionally skip washing their hands after dropping a deuce or unleashing an uno. Things get more cringe-provoking still when examining the breakdown of how the respondents “wash” their hands.

Only slightly more than 40 percent of those polled seemed to understand that the use of soap is really the deciding factor in whether or not you’re “washing” something (which is why walking around in the rain for five minutes doesn’t count as taking a shower). Also disturbing is the one percent of respondents who gave “other” as their answer.

It’s probably a good thing that the standard greeting in Japan is bowing, not shaking hands.

Do they work? Do they really work? FDA says prove those hand sanitizers work

Maggie Fox of NBC News writes that hand sanitizers are everywhere – at supermarket entrances, in public rest rooms, in schools and cafeterias. People believe they work and give them to their kids. Now U.S. the Food and Drug Administration says makers of the products need to show they’re safe and hand.sanitizerwork as well as people believe they do.

It’s the latest stage in FDA’s ongoing review of cleaning and hygiene products, forced in part by pressure from Congress and a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

It’s not that there is any indication the products are not safe or do not work, the FDA stresses. But there are some very vague hints from just a few studies that suggest some of the ingredients might be absorbed through the skin. And since they are so heavily used by pregnant women and small children, it’s best to check out even the most unlikely risks.

“Today, consumers are using antiseptic rubs more frequently at home, work, school and in other public settings where the risk of infection is relatively low,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“These products provide a convenient alternative when hand washing with plain soap and water is unavailable, but it’s our responsibility to determine whether these products are safe and effective so that consumers can be confident when using them on themselves and their families multiple times a day. To do that, we must fill the gaps in scientific data on certain active ingredients.”

FDA wants manufacturers to provide data for ethanol or ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol and benzalkonium chloride. “Since 2009, 90 percent of all consumer antiseptic rubs use ethanol or ethyl alcohol as their active ingredient,” the FDA said.

“New safety information also suggests that widespread antiseptic use could have an impact on the development of bacterial resistance,” the agency says in its proposal.

Music festivals are great; for pathogens too

I was at a kids birthday party recently when a parent familiar with my Canadian heritage mentioned to me that the Tragically Hip’s 2016 tour would be a string of depressing events.

Maybe, I dunno.the_tragically_hip___gord_downie_iii_by_basseca-d5grhdt

Gord Downie, the Hip’s lead singer, has terminal brain cancer and their 10 city tour is a farewell, according to the band’s website.

So after 30-some years together as The Tragically Hip, thousands of shows, and hundreds of tours…

We’ve decided to do another one.

This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us.

I’ve seen the Hip a handful of times, a few at outdoor festivals; each time it’s been more of a community gathering than a concert. Sorta like Canada’s version of the Grateful Dead or Jimmy Buffet experiences. Except with hockey, the Group of Seven and loons.

Doug’s post yesterday reminded me of the excitement at these festivals:

Heavy drinking; lots of other substances; the pit where sweaty bodies are smashed up against each other; and, folks using bushes and other places to poop and pee to avoid the lines at the port-a-potties.

And maybe it’ll rain and move the excrement around.

Here’s a great review of outdoor festival-linked outbreaks over the past couple of decades. Spoiler alert – there are well over 10,000 illnesses reported.Gautret_tab2

Hawthorne Effect hinders accurate hand hygiene observation, study says

Yeah, we used to have students loitering around bathrooms, but figured out fairly quick that didn’t work.

So we would train co-workers to be the spies of shit (on people’s hands).

Guess others have figured that out too.

handwashing.loadsAlthough there is a cultural factor. Amy don’t care much if I fart in Kansas or Australia, but in France, that’s a no-no, and I must button my shirt up appropriately and take showers so I don’t look like a homeless person, even though snotty French types would walk over children to get to wherever they were going that was so important.

To them, I fart in your general direction.

When healthcare providers know they are being watched, they are twice as likely to comply with hand hygiene guidelines. This is in comparison to when healthcare providers do not know someone is watching, according to a new study being presented at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). This phenomenon—called The Hawthorne Effect—impacts the ability to capture accurate human behavior because individuals modify their actions when they know they are being observed.

The infection prevention department at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California measured the differences in hand hygiene compliance rates when healthcare workers recognized the observers and when they did not. The study found a difference of more than 30 percent in hand hygiene compliance depending on whether or not they recognized the auditors. “This was not a result that we expected to see,” said Nancy Johnson, MSN, CIC, infection prevention manager, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Infection preventionists validated the audits conducted by hospital volunteers, which showed no difference in the group’s observations.

“The level of hand hygiene compliance when staff did not know they were being watched was surprising,” said Maricris Niles, MA, infection prevention analyst, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, California. “This study demonstrated to us that hand hygiene observations are influenced by the Hawthorne Effect and that unknown observers should be used to get the most accurate hand hygiene data.”

Five infection prevention nurses (known to staff) and 15 hospital volunteers (unknown to staff) collected 4,640 observations between July 2015 and December 2015. The volunteers were trained in a two-hour course on the importance, identification and reporting of hand hygiene compliance.

Nancy Johnson stated that this data was recognized by our leadership. “We have rolled out many changes as a result, including an organization-wide, hand hygiene improvement plan that is actively supported by our leadership team. Moving forward, the medical center’s monitoring will be conducted by unknown observers.”

With all the dirt and the grease and the gunk: Handwashing better than sanitizers in food service

Hands can be a vector for transmitting pathogenic microorganisms to foodstuffs and drinks, and to the mouths of susceptible hosts.

handwashing.loadsHand washing is the primary barrier to prevent transmission of enteric pathogens via cross-contamination from infected persons. Conventional hand washing involves the use of water, soap, and friction to remove dirt and microorganisms. The availability of hand sanitizing products for use when water and soap are unavailable has increased in recent years. The aim of this systematic review was to collate scientific information on the efficacy of hand sanitizers compared with washing hands with soap and water for the removal of foodborne pathogens from the hands of food handlers.

An extensive literature search was carried out using three electronic databases: Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed. Twenty-eight scientific publications were ultimately included in the review. Analysis of this literature revealed various limitations in the scientific information owing to the absence of a standardized protocol for evaluating the efficacy of hand products and variation in experimental conditions. However, despite conflicting results, scientific evidence seems to support the historical skepticism about the use of waterless hand sanitizers in food preparation settings.

Water and soap appear to be more effective than waterless products for removal of soil and microorganisms from hands. Alcohol-based products achieve rapid and effective inactivation of various bacteria, but their efficacy is generally lower against nonenveloped viruses. The presence of food debris significantly affects the microbial inactivation rate of hand sanitizers.

Efficacy of instant hand sanitizers against foodborne pathogens compared with hand washing with soap and water in food preparation settings: A systematic review

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 6, June 2016, pp. 896-1055, pp. 1040-1054(15)

Foddai, Antonio C. G.; Grant, Irene R.; Dean, Moira


Handwashing compliance: Going beyond ‘monitor and forget’

New research from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis shows that motivating compliance with standard processes via electronic monitoring can be a highly effective approach, despite concerns about employee backlash.

handwash_south_park(2)However, the research also highlights that managers cannot simply “monitor and forget,” and that a long-term plan for supporting the retention of monitoring is critical. The findings were published online May 5 in Management Science.

Hengchen Dai, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Olin, along with co-authors Bradley A. Staats and David Hofmann from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Katherine L. Milkman from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, studied compliance with hand-hygiene guidelines among more than 5,200 caregivers at 42 hospitals for more than three years.

They collaborated with Proventix, a company that uses a radio frequency-based system to track whether health-care workers wash their hands. More than 20 million hand-hygiene opportunities — incidents when hand hygiene is expected — were captured; each with the potential to prevent, or spread, a hospital-borne illness or infection.

“Maintaining high compliance with standard processes is a challenge for many industries,” Dai said. “We examined hand-hygiene compliance in hospitals because this is a setting where consistent compliance is extremely important in an effort to eliminate hospital-acquired infections. This is an area where improvements can, and should, be made.”

Dai and her co-authors found that on average, electronic monitoring resulted in a large increase in hand-hygiene compliance during their study period. Interestingly, compliance initially increased, and then gradually declined, after approximately two years. When electronic monitoring was stopped, hand-washing rates dropped, suggesting that hand-hygiene habits weren’t formed.

In fact, researchers discovered that compliance rates for hand-washing dropped to below the levels seen before the monitoring began, a finding that is surprising to both the researchers and health-care practitioners.

“While we thought decreased compliance after the monitoring could perhaps be a possible outcome, we were still somewhat surprised to see the result,” Dai said. “We based our prediction on past research about ‘crowding out,’ whereby caregivers’ internal motivation for compliance may have been replaced by external forces associated with monitoring, such as the fear of penalties or punishments for not washing their hands.

“When the external stimulus of monitoring was removed, their compliance behavior declined below the initial level as both the external forces and internal motivations were gone,” she said. “We do not have the data to get into the underlying psychology, but it is certainly worth examining in future research.”

While the findings focused on the health-care profession, Dai said all managers should take note, no matter their field. While electronic monitoring is an important motivation and compliance tool, it’s a single piece of a larger strategy.

“Individual electronic monitoring is one tool managers can use to dramatically improve standardized process compliance, but that it is not a panacea,” Dai said. “Managers looking to build process compliance must think about how electronic monitoring fits within a broader system encompassing not only technology, but also norms, culture and leadership.

“Managers should not ‘monitor and forget,’ ” Dai said.