Flyslayer: Flies transport Campylobacter in the kitchen

I hate flies.

As a kid I would occupy myself for hours in my grandfather’s barn, swatting to death as many flies as I could. Sure it was futile, and a good indicator of life-long neuroses, but I sure like killing them.

fly.slayer.may.16Many of the houses in Brisbane don’t have screens. We paid extra to have screens installed in our new townhome. But the neurotic cats have to hang out on the balcony so the screens sometimes stay open and flies swoop in to soil my lovingly prepared meals.

My daughter calls me Flyslayer.

My partner bought me this battery-charged, tennis-racquet sized flyswatter so I can zap flies mid-flight.

Here’s why:

The house fly, Musca domestica, has been implicated as a vector of Campylobacter spp., a major cause of human disease. Little is known whether house flies serve as biological amplifying hosts or mechanical vectors for the.flyCampylobacter jejuni.

We investigated the period after C. jejuni had been ingested by house flies in which viable C. jejuni colonies could be isolated from whole bodies, the vomitus and the excreta of adult M. domestica and evaluated the activation of innate immune responses of house flies to ingested C. jejuni over time. C. jejuni could be cultured from infected houseflies soon after ingestion but no countable C. jejuni colonies were observed > 24 hours post-ingestion. We detected viable C. jejuni in house fly vomitus and excreta up to 4 hours after ingestion, but no viable bacteria were detected ≥ 8 hours. Suppression subtractive hybridization identified pathogen-induced gene expression in the intestinal tracts of adult house flies 4-24 hours after ingesting C. jejuni. We measured the expression of immune regulatory (thor, JNK, and spheroide) and effector (cecropin, diptericin, attacin, defensin and lysozyme) genes in C. jejuni-infected and -uninfected house flies using quantitative real time PCR. Some house fly factor, or combination of factors, eliminates C. jejuni within 24 hours post-ingestion.

Because C. jejuni is not amplified within the body of the housefly, this insect likely serves as a mechanical vector rather than as a true biological, amplifying vector for C. jejuni, and adds to our understanding of insect-pathogen interactions. 

Campylobacter jejuni in Musca domestica: An examination of survival and transmission potential in light of the innate immune responses of the house flies

Insect Science. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12353.

Gill, S. Bahrndorff, and C. Lowenberger

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27134186

Yes, even people on Disney cruises sometimes barf

CBS News reports the CDC is investigating an outbreak of a stomach bug aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship last week.

cruise.barfThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 92 passengers and 5 crew members reported falling ill.

The ship had almost 2,700 passengers and almost 1,000 crew members. It left Miami last Wednesday and returned Sunday after going to the Bahamas.

A spokeswoman says Disney Cruise Line implemented added sanitation measures such as continuous cleaning of handrails. Self-service stations at buffets and ice cream stations also were discontinued to limit passenger contact with food.

“Our primary focus was on taking care of our guests and crew. We have a comprehensive plan that outlines protocols for managing this kind of situation and closely follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of common stomach-related illnesses,” a Disney spokesperson said to CBS affiliate WKMG.

The last time a Disney ship had a significant illness outbreak was in 2002.

Crypto in the US

Cryptosporidium is the leading aetiology of waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States. This report briefly describes the temporal and geographical distribution of US cryptosporidiosis cases and presents analyses of cryptosporidiosis case data reported in the United States for 1995–2012.

cryptoThe Cochran–Armitage test was used to assess changes in the proportions of cases by case status (confirmed vs. non-confirmed), sex, race, and ethnicity over the study period. Negative binomial regression models were used to estimate rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for comparing rates across three time periods (1995–2004, 2005–2008, 2009–2012). The proportion of confirmed cases significantly decreased (P < 0·0001), and a crossover from male to female predominance in case-patients occurred (P < 0·0001). Overall, compared to 1995–2004, rates were higher in 2005–2008 (RR 2·92, 95% CI 2·08–4·09) and 2009–2012 (RR 2·66, 95% CI 1·90–3·73). However, rate changes from 2005–2008 to 2009–2012 varied by age group (Pinteraction < 0·0001): 0–14 years (RR 0·55, 95% CI 0·42–0·71), 15–44 years (RR 0·99, 95% CI 0·82–1·19), 45–64 years (RR 1·47, 95% CI 1·21–1·79) and ≥65 years (RR 2·18, 95% CI 1·46–3·25).

The evolving epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis necessitates further identification of risk factors in population subgroups. Adding systematic molecular typing of Cryptosporidium specimens to US national cryptosporidiosis surveillance would help further identify risk factors and markedly expand understanding of cryptosporidiosis epidemiology in the United States.

Evolving epidemiology of reported cryptosporidiosis cases in the United States, 1995–2012

E. Paintera1 c1, J. W. Garganoa2, J. S. Yodera2, s. A. Colliera2 and M. C. Hlavsaa2

a1 Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a2 Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 8, June 2016, pages 1792-1802, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268815003131

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10299145&utm_source=Issue_Alert&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=HYG

Prions in plants

Prions, the misfolded proteins that are known for causing degenerative illnesses in animals and humans, may have been spotted for the first time in plants.

Prion%20ProteinsResearchers led by Susan Lindquist, a biologist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, report that they have found a section of protein in thale cress (Arabidopsis) that behaves like a prion when it is inserted into yeast.

In plants, the protein is called Luminidependens (LD), and it is normally involved in responding to daylight and controlling flowering time. When a part of the LD gene is inserted into yeast, it produces a protein that does not fold up normally, and which spreads this misfolded state to proteins around it in a domino effect that causes aggregates or clumps. Later generations of yeast cells inherit the effect: their versions of the protein also misfold.

This does not mean that plants definitely have prion-like proteins, adds Lindquist — but she thinks that it is likely. “I’d be surprised if they weren’t there,” she says. To prove it, researchers would need to grind up a plant and see whether they could find a protein such as LD in several different folded states, as well as show that any potential prion caused a misfolding cascade when added to a test-tube of protein. Lindquist adds that because she’s not a plant scientist — her focus is on using yeast to investigate prions — she hasn’t tried these experiments. The study is reported on 25 April in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Air New Zealand plane on lockdown after passengers fall ill

Doctors in masks and white gowns boarded an Air New Zealand plane grounded in Auckland after passengers and crew on board fell ill, a woman who was on the flight says.

airplane.vomitFive passengers and one crew member became ill on board flight NZ281 from Singapore, which landed at Auckland International Airport on Friday night.

A spokeswoman for Air New Zealand said one of the people on board was taken to Middlemore Hospital, as a precautionary measure.

The plane landed at 10.35pm and passengers were not allowed to disembark until 11.50pm.

Passenger Aivy Kurian was travelling with her two young children, Emma, 4, and Noeline, 1.

She said while passengers were waiting to board the plane in Singapore, she saw a teenage boy vomiting, and he later boarded the plane.

During the flight, she could hear someone being ill but could see who it was.

About half an hour after the plane landed in Auckland, a group of doctors with “masks and white gowns” boarded the plane.

Kurian said she saw the same teenage boy being assessed by doctors.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline was in direct contact with the regional health authority, which confirmed there was insufficient information to know what may have caused the passengers and crew member to become ill.

‘Tropical’ parasite emerges in Canadian Artic

An outbreak of an intestinal parasite common in the tropics, known as Cryptosporidium, has been identified for the first time in the Arctic. The discovery was made in Nunavik, Quebec, by a team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), in collaboration with the Nunavik Department of Public Health, Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec and Health Canada. The discovery, which was documented in the journalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, could have long-term implications for the health of children in Nunavik and Nunavut’s communities. 

crypto.hominis“We were very surprised to discover this strain of Cryptosporidium in the Artic, which is more typically seen in low-income countries than elsewhere in North-America,” says the study’s senior author, Dr. Cédric Yansouni, who is Associate Director of the J.D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at the MUHC and Professor of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medical Microbiology at McGill University. 

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestine of mammals, including humans, and is transmitted by the fecal-oral route from ingestion of contaminated food or water or contact with infected individuals.

The researchers examined an outbreak of Cryptosporidium that occurred between April 2013 and April 2014 across 10 villages in Nunavik. In close collaboration with the clinical teams on site, the researchers were able to identify that the strain was Cryptosporidium hominis, which is spread from human to human and usually found in tropical countries.

“We are being particularly vigilant because it is known in low-income countries that repeated Cryptosporidium infections can cause growth delays and difficulty at school in children.  In the Nunavik outbreak, children under the age of five were the group most affected by the infection,” explains Dr. Yansouni.

There is a treatment for Cryptosporidiosis in the United States and in other countries where the disease is found, but at present the treatment is only available in Canada under a special access program.

“What we observe in the Arctic, as in any other remote region, reminds us about the limitations of the healthcare system in terms of access to diagnosis facilities,” says Dr. Yansouni, who suspects that there are many unreported cases of infection. 

The study Cryptosporidium hominis Is a Newly Recognized Pathogen in the Arctic Region of Nunavik, Canada: Molecular Characterization of an Outbreak was co-written by Karine Thivierge (first author), Asma Iqbal, Brent Dixon, Réjean Dion, Benoît Levesque, Philippe Cantin, Lyne Cédilotte, Momar Ndao, Jean-François Proulx and Cedric P. Yansouni (main author). 

Canned potato outbreak linked to two deaths in 2015

I really am scared of botulism. Not in an irrational way – I get the risk calculation stuff.

Prevalence is low but consequence is way high. Like months of health problems. Which might lead to death before recovery.ChBGKI-WgAAoAh7

Tragically, the 2015 Lancaster Ohio botulism outbreak claimed a second life (initial reports cited one, Kim Shaw) according to My Fox 28.

A second woman passed away from the botulism contamination that poisoned 21 other people at a church pot luck last year.

The family of Marcella Barbee, 65, said she died in November 2015.

Barbee was a member of Cross Pointe Church and had contracted botulism following the church potluck and suffered from a number of health issues as a result.

400 attendees at Indian model UN sickened: Box8 slapped with FDA notice over filthy kitchen

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent a notice to Box8 in connection with the stale food provided by them at the Indian International Model United Nations (IIMUN) event.

Box-8-foundersBox8 is currently in a soup after 300-400 attendees at the event fell ill after consuming the meal provided by them in mid-April.

The decision to issue a notice was taken after FDA inspectors raided the company’s Thane-based kitchen. The company has been given a period of 15 days to rectify the flaws in the kitchen pointed out to them by the agency.

‘We closely audit all resorts’ Campy ruins UK couple’s holiday

A Heanor holidaymaker is taking legal action against a travel company after he contracted food poisoning which turned birthday celebration into a “nightmare.”

traditional-food-stallJames Gratton, 51, and his wife Paula, 50 were staying in a four star hotel in Marrakech, Morocco when he ate incorrectly prepared poultry which gave him Campylobacter.

James, a HGV driver, said: “We booked this holiday as a way of celebrating my birthday and we’d been looking forward to it for a long time.

“But, in truth, it turned into a nightmare for both of us.

“I suffered terrible symptoms at the hotel, during our flight home and when I got back to the UK. The illness meant half the holiday was ruined for both of us.

“I had to take some extra time of work to recover from the symptoms and I still don’t feel completely right.

“We hope that by taking legal action we’ll find out what caused me to fall ill and how I came to test positive for Campylobacter.

“What was supposed to be an enjoyable and relaxing trip turned into a bit of a nightmare and spoilt what should have been a celebratory holiday.”

A First Choice spokesperson said: “First Choice is sorry to hear of Mr and Mrs Gratton’s experience.

“As this is now subject to legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

“We closely audit all resorts to which we operate to ensure that health, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained in line with industry standards.”

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Durian pastries sicken 76 in Singapore

Goodwood Park Hotel’s bakery has had its food establishment licence suspended after 76 cases of food poisoning were linked to its popular durian pastries.

T&Tdurianpuff-goodwoodThe Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) investigated after the first incident was reported on March 15.

The ministry inspected the bakery after a second incident was reported on April 4. Joint investigations were conducted by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), MOH and NEA on April 13 after more incidents were reported.

Though lapses in food handling were discovered, there were no hygiene lapses or pests found. The AVA also did not find lapses in safety from food suppliers.

Stool samples from the affected parties as well as food handlers are currently being screened by MOH, and only handlers who have been certified medically fit will resume work after the bakery reopens.

All food handlers will also be required to retake and pass the Basic Food Hygiene course.

The hotel is required to clean and sanitise the bakery, including equipment, utensils, work surfaces and toilets, as well as rectify the identified food preparation lapses.

Goodwood Park Hotel has apologised to its guests and said it is cooperating with the agencies. “We would like to assure the public and all our guests that we treat all matters relating to food safety standards very seriously,” it said in a Facebook post, adding that it is sourcing alternatives to the affected desserts from “reputable establishments”.

“Goodwood Park’s durian pastries, especially the puffs, are dependably good and the hotel comes up with new offerings every year, so this comes as a real surprise,” said Ms Tan Hsueh Yun, food editor for The Straits Times Life section.