32,000 hospitalized over contaminated water in Turkey

The number of people hospitalized due to contaminated water in the Elbistan district of the Mediterranean province of Kahramanmaraş has risen from 5,000 to some 32,000, while a group of officials announced a norovirus infection in caisson wells within the water supply network from Ceyhan River was the cause of the contamination. 

norovirus-2“We needed to find what the microorganism causing diarrhea was and the source of it. In light of the samples we took from the patients, we determined that what caused their diarrhea was a norovirus, which means bacteria and viruses together,” Health Ministry Health Services Department General Manager İrfan Şencan told journalists at a press briefing on Aug. 29, adding it can spread very easily.

“It’s a type of virus that can cause stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. It can spread very easily and affects a lot of people. I need to stress that in addition to the infection occurring through drinking water directly, one can be infected through several other ways including kissing, washing hands, preparing meals, shaking hands and so on,” he added. 

Şencan noted there was no issue concerning the chemical quality of the water.

 

Minneapolis sees rise in foodborne illness from nororvirus, Vibrio in oysters

When I think Minnesota, I think raw oysters.

No, I never think that about anywhere.

raw.oysters.minnJeremy Olson of the Star Tribune reports that city health inspectors in Minneapolis are investigating a summer increase in foodborne illnesses related to norovirus and Vibrio, a bacteria found in raw oysters.

The increases were highlighted in the city’s “food establishment” newsletter, released Thursday.

“The reason for the spike in norovirus outbreaks is not known,” the advisory stated. “The Vibrio outbreaks are due to higher concentrations of bacteria in some oyster beds during the summer.”

Cases of norovirus, a highly contagious bug that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, are not required to be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, but the state agency has received reports of a slight uptick that is unusual for this time of year.

Over 100 sickened at Kansas dinner theatre in Jan.

Beginning with the Jan. 17, 2016 performance at the Overland Park New Theatre dinner theatre, people began complaining of illness. Hundreds of people say they got sick after attending a Johnson County dinner theater in January. Now months later, Abby Eden of FOX 4 has obtained the final report detailing the investigation by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment into what happened.

New-Theater-Restaurant-in-Overland-Park-The report shows the norovirus could have been spread by employees who were already sick- and handling food like the bread, salad, and ranch dressing. The C. perfrigens was found to be associated with the poppyseed dressing and burnt ends- improper temperature settings may have led to that bacteria spreading.

However, the report doesn`t rule out the possibility that a patron brought in the norovirus and spread it through going through the buffet line.

Water cooler common source in Norovirus outbreak in China

Noroviruses are a common cause of acute gastroenteritis around the world; however, reports of outbreaks caused by GII.17 norovirus are rare. An outbreak caused by GII.17 norovirus in a senior high school in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China is reported here.

WatercoolerAn epidemiological investigation, pathogen detection, and case–control study were performed. Epidemiological data combined with the epidemic curve indicated that this outbreak was a point source type initially, followed by secondary transmission. The first case was identified as most likely the source of the outbreak.

Risk analysis showed exposure to patients and sharing a communal water cooler to be associated with the spread of infection. Sequence analysis of GII-positive samples confirmed that the norovirus GII.17 variant was the etiological agent of this outbreak.

An acute gastroenteritis outbreak caused by GII.17 norovirus in Jiangsu Province, China

Chao Shi1, Wei-Hong Feng1, Ping Shi1, Jing Ai, Hong-Xia Guan, Dan Sha, Qian Geng, Jun Mei, Shan-hui Chen, Yong Xiao, Yan-Hua Qian

1Chao Shi, Ping Shi, and Wei-Hong Feng contributed equally to this study.

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, August 2016, Volume 49, Pages 30-32, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2016.05.004

http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(16)31047-5/fulltext

‘It came with them’ Republican convention staffers test positive for Norovirus

Nearly a dozen Republican staffers who are in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention have tested positive for norovirus, public health officials said Wednesday.

norovirusOhio public health officials confirmed reports from Tuesday that a group of staffers from the California delegation had contracted the virus, according to Stat News.

Those infected with the norovirus were part of the advance team for the California delegation, leading to concerns that the bug may spread.

“It came with them,” Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade told Stat News.

But public health officials have taken precautions by quarantining those who were believed to be infected, while warning others who may feel under the weather to stay in their hotels.

Norovirus, you don’t want it: RNC edition

My neighbor told me over the weekend that he’s done with social media until the U.S. election is over, he said that the polarized debates on his Facebook timeline were making him sick.

Sorta like the at least 11 RNC attendees who have, according to Stat News, acquired some norovirus over the past couple of days.

A handful of Republican staff members in Cleveland for the GOP convention were reported to be suffering Tuesday from a possible norovirus infection.

And if there are a few people with norovirus, it’s likely there will be more.10849902_719581291471357_3442145704847569295_n1-300x3001-300x300

As many as 11 members of the California delegation’s advance team are showing symptoms that are consistent with the norovirus, according to Peter Schade, the Erie County health commissioner, who is investigating the outbreak. They are staying at a hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, about an hour from Cleveland.

“We’ve got about 11 who have been sick over the last few days, and we’ve been out there every day and working with them to eliminate the spread [between] the resort and the delegation from California,” Schade said.

The health department is running tests to confirm whether the Republican staff members have norovirus.

Jim Brulte, the California delegation chairman, told STAT in an email that the trouble started when one of the staff members who arrived ahead of the delegation came down with a virus and infected her husband.

Handwashing, excluding the ill folks from the festivities and cleaning and sanitizing with chlorine-based compounds are best management practices.

People say they go to work, even when they shouldn’t

Rae Ellen Bichell of NPR writes that a majority of working adults say they still go to work when they have a cold or the flu. There are some jobs where doing that can have a big effect on health.

sea-sickness1At least half of people who work in very public places, like hospitals and restaurants, report going to work when they have a cold or the flu. Those were among the findings of a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They are some of the last people you’d want to go to work sick, because they tend to have a lot of contact with people. And that helps spread disease.

“It’s one of the biggest food safety problems that there is, and we’ve known about it forever,” says Kirk Smith, who oversees foodborne outbreak investigations with the Minnesota Department of Health. But he says it’s really hard to get people to stop doing it.

When it comes to food handling, there’s one illness that’s particularly concerning: norovirus. “It is by far the most common cause of foodborne illness,” says Smith. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is responsible for 35 percent of them.

That’s because there are billions of virus particles per gram in stool and vomit. It only takes about 20 of those to get someone sick. And norovirus can hitchhike from surface to surface. It takes a high concentration of bleach to kill it.

“And so it just takes microcontamination of your hands, if you don’t do a perfect job washing, to be able to contaminate food with enough of the virus to infect lots and lots of people,” says Smith.

The same virus has plagued restaurant customers across the country. Last winter, 140 people — including much of the Boston College basketball team — got sick from eating at a Chipotle in Boston where one person had gone to work sick.

“It’s definitely the norm to go into work sick. That’s what I and most of my co-workers usually do,” says Anthony Peeples. He used to work at an Olive Garden restaurant. Now he’s a bartender at a casino in Michigan City, Ind.

The CDC has found that 1 in 5 food service workers has reported working while sick with vomiting and diarrhea.

Depends if you’re in the capital region or NSW: Norovirus outbreak in Australia

Alexandra Back of the Canberra Times reports an isolation ward has been set up at Calvary Hospital and visitors are being discouraged as the hospital works to contain a gastro outbreak.

norovirus-2An intensive care patient was diagnosed with the highly contagious norovirus – that causes fever, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea – Friday last week.

Calvary Hospital chief executive Karen Edwards said there were 16 suspected cases of the virus and the patients were isolated.

The general medical ward 5W has been closed to new admissions and staff movement across the hospital was being restricted.

But one man said his wife, who had a caesarean birth under general anaesthetic two days ago, was rushed out on Thursday, a day early. He was concerned because she was still in a lot of pain.

“My concern is the continuance of care. The whole thing is, there were no options provided, in essence, we’re told they are getting everyone out by 11.30.”

Neighboring NSW Health issued a public health warning after an above average number of people went to emergency with gastro.

ACT Health said viral gastro cases weren’t notifiable in the capital, but the government had not seen a recent spike in cases.

Looks like they picked the wrong week to go to camp: Norovirus outbreak at Christie Lake sends 120 campers home

At least one parent says there’s been a lack of communication between camp officials and parents after it was confirmed all 120 campers at Christie Lake Kids’ first session are being sent home (that’s in Canada).

Christie Lake Kids'A spokesperson confirmed Wednesday about 20 kids fell ill amid what the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says appears to be a norovirus outbreak.

Natalie Benson, director of fundraising and communications at Christie Lake, says some of the kids had to be hospitalized with what appeared to be severe gastrointestinal symptoms.

“It’s really been brought on, not entirely, by the heat,” she said. “When it’s weather like we’re seeing they really have not a lot of places to get cool and to drink lots of fluids so some of them have become dehydrated as well.”

Benson said the camp was working to contact parents and let them know their kids were coming home, but Robin Lacasse, whose daughter and niece are both at Christie Lake, says she only heard about the cancellation through the news and through word of mouth.

“I should’ve been told already,” she said. “If I didn’t have Facebook, or cell phones, and not everybody watches the news. How many kids are going to get off the bus tomorrow without their families?”

Lacasse’s niece was brought to an emergency room at around 3 a.m. Wednesday and had since been sent back to camp to rest.

Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says norovirus is unique because of how quickly it can spread.

“A very small amount can make an individual sick, which is why it can cause outbreaks,” she says, adding the virus can easily become airborne if one child is vomiting in the vicinity of other kids.

Dr. Stewart says the camp had to close to give staff time to do proper cleaning to have it ready in time for the next session.

Benson says the camp is now working on finding room for the affected children to make sure they can still go to camp this summer.

Surveys are never enough: U.K. Freezer habits edition

Ten years ago, as a bunch of University of Guelph students were barfing in their residence bathrooms with noro, Brae Surgeoner, Doug and I hatched plot to observe hand hygiene practices in situ. We wanted test whether students in the midst of an outbreak would report they were really good at washing their hands or using sanitizer. We guessed that what they said, and what we would see, would be drastically different.IMG_5317

In a self-reported survey, 83 of 100 students said they always followed proper hand hygiene but estimated that less than half of their peers did the same. When we watched them, we saw students following recommended hand hygiene procedures just 17 percent of the time.

Asking people what they know or do is a start. But it’s never enough. People lie, forget or don’t care.

Employing other methods to confirm what they say they do is necessary to confirm actions.

Like using a freezer, according to BBC.

Misconceptions about frozen food are contributing to the seven million tonnes of waste thrown out by UK households every year, the Food Standards Agency says.

Of the 1,500 people it surveyed, 43% wrongly thought food could only be frozen on the day it was bought, suggesting confusion over food safety.

According to the FSA’s research, 38% of people mistakenly thought it was dangerous to refreeze meat after it had been cooked.

Almost a quarter, 23%, said they would never freeze meat that was cooked after defrosting, with 73% of those citing worries about food poisoning.
More than two thirds, 68%, had thrown food away in the past month, mainly bread (36%), fruit (31%), vegetables (31%) and leftover meals (22%).

Households in the UK waste the equivalent of about six meals a week on average, the FSA said.