There was lots of barfing at the Australian Open yesterday but it wasn’t food – the temperature reached 42C. It doesn’t even get that hot in Brisbane, the Tampa of Australia. But other parts of the country are prone to huge temperature fluctuations.
Good Morning America airs on TV here about 3:30 a.m., and I’m usually up so have it on in background, not for any content, but because the hosts and guests are all so attractive and tight, and it makes we want to be better – or not care.
Britney Spears – she of the it’s-OK-to-change-my-kid’s-diaper-on-a-restaurant table –flew by helicopter to the Nevada desert to announce her Las Vegas shtick – and apparently barfed.
According to TMZ, Britney didn’t say if “sick” meant hurled … but it’s a reasonable conclusion. She wore gigantic sunglasses in the dark night as “GMA’s” Sam Champion tried to get her animated.
When I get sick, my heaves get pretty violent. I’ve thrown up through my nose multiple times. Not fun. I usually have the benefit of gravity though – so I have a pretty decent idea where the vomit is going to end up. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who has become an international space singing star, discusses what space folks do with their barf bags. According to NBC news, astronauts get sick even in the weightlessness of space and thanks to astronaut Chris Hadfield, folks now know how.
“When we first get to space, we feel sick,” Hadfield said to a group of students back on the planet. “Your body is really confused. You’re dizzy. Your lunch is floating around in your belly because you’re floating. What you see doesn’t match what you feel, and you want to throw up.”
The space station commander then opened up a “barf bag” and showed the students the proper method for up-chucking in space.”Think about what happens on Earth when you throw up,” Hadfield said. “You throw up and you have a bag of something horrible and then you throw it away, but if I have this bag, what am I going to do with it? This bag is going to stay with me in space for months, so we want a really good barf bag.”
Astronaut barf bags have liners that can be used to clean a spaceflyer’s face post-puke, added Hadfield. There is also a very durable zip-lock bag that prevents the waste from floating around the $100 billion orbiting laboratory.
Solano et al. report in Food Control that an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis due to staphylococcal food poisoning occurred in July 2011 at a summer school held by a sports club in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). Of the 42 cases involved, 20 were hospitalised. To identify the outbreak source, a retrospective cohort study was performed on the group at risk, which included 73 summer school students and 18 staff members. Food exposure at the sports club restaurant was identified as the most relevant common link among the study cohort.
Although the preliminary microbiological investigation suggested that enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) infections were the possible source, enterotoxin types A and D were identified, quantified and confirmed in the different biological samples collected. A descriptive, in-depth epidemiological and clinical investigation subsequently pointed to food intoxication rather than bacterial infection as being the cause of the outbreak. Molecular investigation of the strain isolates, using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing, revealed that all eight strains of S. aureus had the same profile and spa type (t008).
Samples of the incriminated foods, i.e., boiled macaroni, tuna and fresh tomatoes, specimens of vomit of those affected, and bilateral fingernail scrapings and nasal swabs of food handlers were shown to be the common source of transmission of the contamination. Following the outbreak, appropriate hygiene and control measures could be implemented to prevent any recurrence.
The Wyoming Department of Health has issued a complete report on the outbreak, and identified a number of potential environmental health concerns through both patron and employee interviews.
Investigators received several reports of dirty dishes being stacked for use in the buffet line, vomitus accidents in the dining area, raw or undercooked food being set out for consumption, employees working while ill with gastrointestinal symptoms, refilling food on buffets without replacing service bowl or service utensils, lack of glove use when handling ready-to-eat foods, cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, and other reports of general poor food-handling practices.
Both patrons and employees independently reported several vomitus accidents in the dining area and in the restaurant’s bathrooms. Investigators noted these events when the interviewee was able to provide a concise date of occurrence.
Recommendations were made for immediate control and as a result of the investigation.
The restaurant must follow all rules and regulations contained in the Wyoming Food Safety Rule.
The Wyoming Food Safety Rule currently states that any food-handling staff person who is known to be ill due to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting should be excluded from work until at least 48 hours has passed since that individual’s last bout of diarrhea or vomiting (whichever occurred last). The 48 hour recommendation is the minimum, as many foodborne pathogens, including norovirus, can be shed by previously-ill persons for longer than 48 hours.
The Wyoming Food Safety Rule also specifies that the restaurant shall require food-handling employees (i.e., kitchen staff, servers, etc.) to report to the person-in-charge information about their health and activities as they relate to diseases that are transmissible through food. A food-handling employee shall report the information in a manner that allows the person-in-charge to reduce the risk of foodborne disease transmission, including providing necessary additional information, such as date of onset of symptoms and illness, or of a diagnosis with symptoms if the food-handling employee has diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, sore throat with fever or lesions containing pus, an infected wound, has been diagnosed with Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Hepatitis, or norovirus.
Enhanced surface disinfection with a product effective against norovirus. A concentrated bleach solution was suggested.
To minimize bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as lettuce, the restaurant should consider requiring the use of gloves when employees are handling those food items. Please note that glove use does not negate the need for proper hand-washing.
All vomitus accidents should be treated as if they are highly contagious. Staff should use gloves and a concentrated bleach solution to disinfect affected areas. Staff should try to quarantine the area of the accident until the area is adequately disinfected. Staff should quarantine any rags, towels, or mops that were used to clean up the vomitus until they are adequately disinfected to prevent further transmission.
Report any suspected cases of foodborne illness to health officials. Public health officials provide important services to business owners which include an objective investigation of the problem and providing quick, accurate, and effective mitigation strategies.
Continue to consult with local environmental health specialists when questions arise about safe food-handling and consider ServSafe training for all kitchen staff.
“Norovirus is much more contagious than people think,” said Doug Powell, professor of food safety at Kansas State University. “In the past, we’ve seen multiple outbreaks in group settings like cruise ships, care facilities, university residences, schools, sporting teams and restaurants. It’s a massive amount of barf.”
Even those who clean up vomit have to be especially careful because viral particles are dispersed in the air, Powell said.
“Many people say they routinely wash their hands, but even in an outbreak situation, observational research shows they really don’t,” Powell said. “And it’s not enough to say, ‘Wash your hands.’ There needs to be access to proper hand-washing tools — vigorous running water, soap and paper towels — as well as compelling behavioral messages, like ‘Don’t make others barf,’ to get people to wash their hands.”
After arriving in Brisbane this morning with a large bag of hockey equipment, it warmed my cockles – which didn’t need warming in the 85F heat and 8,000% humidity – to discover that a minor league hockey promotion went horribly awry after college students began puking on the ice after chugging beers as part of the “College Olympics” during intermission at the Rapid City Rush game in South Dakota.
According to the Rapid City Journal, two male students vomited on the ice in front of 5,000 fans after chugging four beers while running on the ice, riding a cooler and spinning around a hockey stick.
“It was meant to be fun, but it went completely wrong,” Rush General Manager Tim Hill told the Journal. “I apologize on behalf the organization. Obviously it was in poor taste. The intermission game was not appropriate, and it’s just something we will never do again.”
Furious passengers today spoke out about their ‘holiday from hell’ on the ‘plague ship’ as they stumbled ashore today after a 10-day cruise ruined by an unprecedented outbreak of norovirus.
The Mail Online reports holidaymakers demanded refunds as they disembarked in Southampton, Hampshire - but shockingly, the P&O ship was preparing to take to the seas again within hours, at 8pm this evening.
Passengers are expected to start checking in from 3pm for a 23-night trip to Portugal, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Israel, Greece and Sicily.
Large parts of the ship were closed off to avoid the virus spreading further and passengers were quarantined as many were sick in corridors, theatres and restaurants.
Those who fell ill were ordered to stay in their cabins and miss stop offs as the crew battled to contain the highly contagious virus, which also causes diarrhea.
Angry cruise-trippers today spoke out about the nightmare journey on P&O’s Oriana and the foolishness of taking the boat back out again so soon.
Those on board said the epidemic spread quickly, with some travellers unable to report their sickness because staff reportedly stopped them from leaving the ship at its ports of call.
More crew were sent to join the ship to help with the containment and cleaning.
Passengers claim there was a lack of food and toilet paper following the outbreak of the vomiting bug, while others say they are still waiting for their laundry to be returned to them.
The virus engulfed the liner but crew tried to blame passengers for bringing it on board.
Chris Meadows, from Southampton, who attended a crisis meeting at the height of the outbreak, said the liner’s captain Thomas Lane admitted to passengers that the crew ‘could not cope’.
‘We had a show of hands of how many people were affected, which was filmed by many of the passengers that attended the meeting.’
The luxury liner’s owners Carnival UK have offered to waive fees for anyone who had to visit the on-board doctor.
After barfing for the sixth time, Sorenne has fallen back to sleep beside me on the couch, around 4 a.m.
For the second time this year, it appears like it’s classic foodborne illness, which means I’m wracked with guilt. I buy the food; I prepare the food; I make Sorenne’s lunch; I nag at the school about petting zoos and handwashing. And I got a PhD in this stuff.
So it’s probably my fault.
I still marvel that epidemiologists and public health types and are able to pinpoint the source of any foodborne illness, especially the obscure ones, and can apparently separate rigorous investigation from emotional tug strings.
Michéle Samarya-Timm, a registered environmental health specialist with the Somerset County Department of Health in New Jersey and one of those health types I’m thankful for, writes that Thanksgiving is more than eating. As noted in 1973 by Charlie Brown. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving.’
This is the time of year to reflect and appreciate life’s blessings. For some families, this holiday is anything but traditional. Nearly 4 weeks after Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction in the northeast, there’s a lot to think about, but there’s also much to be thankful for.
Thousands of folks were hit hard by this Frankenstorm, and still have challenges ahead. Despite the stereotypes promoted by television, folks in New York and New Jersey are among the most resilient around. among other things, they turned to MREs as a solution to food supply and food safety problems. Warm, safe food in an empty stomach truly fosters a feeling of thanks.
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat – commonly known as the MRE or heater meal – is a self-contained, individual buffet of food. Shelf stable, the packaging is required to maintain a minimum shelf life of three and a half years at 27 °C (81 °F), nine months at 38 °C (100 °F), and short durations from −51 °C (−60 °F) to 49 °C (120 °F). Unopened, they can be tossed around or dropped like a Bowl-Game football without damage — MREs are designed to withstand parachute drops from 1,250 ft, and non-parachute drops of 98 ft.
Spreading the warmth is made easy — MREs come packaged its own method of heating. The flameless heater uses a simple chemical reaction to provide sufficient energy to warm the food – 165ºF is the standard – in a nearly foolproof way (if you follow the easy directions, that is).
These culinary delights are a blessing when there is no power, no unspoiled fresh food, no [legally] open restaurants, and when the Doritos and canned beans have run out. Unlike the packaged rations of Grandpa’s day, these MREs have a reasonable menu selection – like roast beef, vegetable lasagna, and Ratatouille. And during natural disasters, anything that comes with a serving of chocolate is welcome.
Luckily, MREs are NOT on the menu here tomorrow. On a sheltering oversight call this morning, the American Red Cross assured that a traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing — will be provided on all their feeding routes tomorrow.
Much gratitude to them and all the folks who stepped up to supply, feed, and serve the victims, responders, and public health professionals. Everyone brought their A-game, and these folks continue to assure food is readily available and safe.
In the aftermath of disaster, and on a routine day, food safety is assured by many dedicated professionals, who truly deserve our thanks.
At the table this year, let’s echo Peppermint Patty — Are we going to have a prayer? It’s Thanksgiving, you know.
10. “Is there a janitor in the house?”
9. “Not my worst review.”
8. “I’ve never been a fan of audience participation.”
7. “I was hoping for a standing ovation; instead I got projectile vomiting.”
6. “Who says the golden age of theater is dead?”
5. “You got to be kidding me. Right before my big vomiting scene?”
4. “I’ll never complain about a cell phone ringing again.”
3. “Up till now, I’ve never elicited more than a loud belch.”
2. “What is this? The Ed Sullivan Theater?”
1. “Guess I’m not the only one who’s drunk.”