Maybe something is lost in translation: 4-year-old’s death a misadventure

Kids dying from foodborne illness hits me like a punch in the gut. After following illnesses and outbreaks for 15 years I still take pause to think about my kids when I see a tragic story involving children.

Outbreaks rarely end with the classic smoking gun resolution (a genetically matched strain in the food/environment and stool). Epidemiology, in the absence of pathogen matches, is king and uncertainty is reduced with reliable data and statistics. Once a possible food/site match is made, investigators go out to the field and check the food handling out.broken-telephone

A conscientious investigator can talk about possible risk factors in a report – but the subsequent reporting and broken telephone game of sharing the information can bleed potential factors into must-have-happened fact.

A few years ago an environmental health officer shared her concerns about how the story gets changed between the field and the report interpretation. She had investigated a outbreak blamed on poor handwashing shared with me that her notes showed no soap at the time she was in the kitchen a week after the illnesses were reported – that was translated into poor handwashing by the staff at the time of the outbreak.

She felt that was an extrapolation wrought with assumptions.

Folks who used the example didn’t care.

Getting the risk factor story right really matters.

According to the Straits Times a four-year-old boy in Singapore tragically died from salmonellosis and court proceedings point to food handling practices a shopping center food court stall. Based on the coverage, I’m not sure it’s that simple. And I wouldn’t call it a misadventure.

Shayne Sujith Balasubraamaniam, together with his mother and two-year-old sister, came down with food poisoning on Jan 19 this year, a day after his mother had bought food, including tahu goreng and curry chicken, from a nasi padang stall at Kopitiam food court at Northpoint Shopping Centre.

All three were taken brought to Bukit Batok Polyclinic the next day. Shayne was assessed to be severely dehydrated and was prescribed medication.

He showed apparent signs of recovery, but deteriorated on Jan 22 when his mother found him unconscious at home. He died in hospital about two hours later from salmonella septicaemia.

On Thursday, State Coroner Marvin Bay said in his findings that the boy’s death underscores that careless food handling and inattention to proper hygienic practices can result in catastrophic consequences on young and vulnerable persons. He found the boy’s death to be one of misadventure.

The most significant lapse, the inquiry heard, was the practice of partial cooking and refreezing of chicken parts. The kitchen would receive 80 parts of chicken as a batch. After washing the batch, 60 chicken parts were refrozen for use the next day. They would be stored with plastic bags with other raw food at the freezer, a practice which would encourage cross-infection between the raw and partially cooked food. Swabs from the tongs used to handle food, and the blender found a high concentration of bacteria that exceeded safety limits.

While the post-outbreak investigation demonstrates serious issues with food handling at the business, I’m not sure what was presented is enough to link the salmonellosis. If the stored chicken was partially cooked it implies that it would be further cooked – which if temperatures exceeded 165F would result in a 5-log reduction of Salmonella. Maybe cross contamination between raw and sorta raw chicken is really a factor – especially if there weren’t other illnesses. Or maybe the washing step spread pathogens around the kitchen.

‘Children come to our schools to get support, not to leave in stretchers’ Third child dies in suspected food poisoning case in South Africa

Cake provided by a community member may have resulted in the deaths of three children in Winterveldt, north of Pretoria.
It was earlier reported that three children died after eating food provided through a state feeding scheme at the Ema Primary School.

140528soup-jpgBut Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says a preliminary report indicates that all three of the children had also eaten food from a non-feeding scheme source.

“From the feeding programme we provided yesterday, dough or bread was not part of the menu. It emerged that they ate cake, and we did not provide cake. Late last night a granny came forward to say she had provided the cake.” Police are now interrogating the woman.

The three girls, aged between 6 and 8, died at a local clinic shortly after falling ill at the primary school yesterday.

Lesufi has ordered an investigation into the incident and says other pupils who ate the government supplied food have been observed overnight and are in good health.

“I’m speechless. Children come to our schools to get support, not to leave our schools in stretchers. I’m saddened and don’t have words to describe this. I will investigate this.”

Not another: Washington 3-year-old girl dies after contracting E. coli

She was a fun-loving girl excited to start preschool. But instead, 3 1/2 year old Brooklyn Hoksbergen ended up in the hospital last week after contracting E. coli. Her family tells KING 5 she passed away Friday.

brooklynn.e.coliHer father, Rob Hoksbergen, says they do not know how or where Brooklyn became sick. She was admitted to Children’s Hospital Wednesday, and initially showed signs of improvement. But doctors tell the family she took a sudden turn for the worse and passed away.

Brooklyn was the youngest of four daughters. No one else in the family is ill. Her funeral is Friday.

Four-year-old Serena Profitt died Monday in Oregon from E. coli.

Chef in China killed by decapitated cobra

A chef preparing a dish made from cobra flesh died after the snake bit his hand – 20 minutes after he had severed it from its body.

five-head-cobra-3Peng Fan from Foshan, Guangdong province, southern China, had been preparing a special dish made from Indochinese spitting cobra, a rare delicacy.

It was as he went to chuck the cobra’s head in the bin that it bit him, injecting Mr Peng with its flesh-killing, neurotoxic venom.

The snake was being diced up to be made into snake soup, which is a delicacy in Guangdong and a much sought after dish in the province’s high-end restaurants.

Restaurant guest Lin Sun, 44, who was in the restaurant with his wife Su at the time said: “We were in the restaurant having a meal for my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a lot of commotion.

Victims of the Indochinese spitting cobra generally asphyxiate after the neurotoxin paralyses their respiratory system.

Concealing source of Listeria in Macedonia causes hysteria

Delaying the official announcement of the source of listeria, which affected eight people in Macedonia over the past month, four of whom died, causes panic among the citizens in Macedonia, Radio Free Europe writes.

listeriaAccording to experts, the lab results could have been announced few days ago, while the lack of information causes harms to the companies that work properly.

According to professor Ilija Karov, it is not right to keep the source of the disease secret.

Radio Free Europe recalls that initially it was announced that the bacteria was found in two types of homemade sausages, while the food safety agency issued an order for monitoring and control on the entire distribution chain.

Virginia newborn dies of Listeria

A Prince George couple is mourning the loss of their first child, just days after the little girl was born. Kennedy Grace Briggs died of Listeria at just six days old.

Listeria is listed on Kennedy’s death certificate as an immediate cause of her death. Her mother, Jenae Briggs, says that while she was pregnant, she ate food that was part of a recent, nation-wide Listeria recall.

However, it’s not clear if scientists will ever be able to trace the food source, in Kennedy’s case. The Virginia Department of Health hasn’t linked any Listeria cases to recent voluntary recalls. Regardless, Jenae wants other expecting couples to understand the risks associated with the illness, and how to guard against it.

“We have had to suffer the worst thing you could possibly ever imagine because of it. And so you want people to be aware of it,” said Jenae.
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Sad: E. coli O157 confirmed in death of Mass. child

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed the presence of E. coli in its investigation of the recent death of a child in Norfolk County.

e.coli.O157.death.jul.14Melissa Kaye of Braintree says her son Joshua Kaye, 8, died July 7 after a 12-day illness that began with a seemingly curable infection from E. coli bacteria, that turned into kidney failure and ended with a fatal stroke.

This strain of E. coli (0157:H7) often causes stomach problems, but in rare cases, it can cause a condition that attacks the kidneys.

The investigation remains ongoing.

In Braintree, two memorial fundraisers have already been established in Joshua Kaye’s name. His parents opened the Joshua Kaye Memorial Fund at Rockland Trust Bank, 405 Washington St. in Braintree, while family friend Michelle Livingston created the Joshua Kaye Foundation at the site GoFundMe.com.

Since January 1, 2013, there have been 142 cases of E. coli in Massachusetts residents.

Child dies from digestive infection at French camp

An 8-year-old child died at a camp in Ariège from “acute intestinal infection,” probably due to the ingestion of non-potable water.

Ariège .campThe center has closed until further notice, pending the results of analyzes of food served at holiday center and its water. The story notes camp water was contaminated since early July by coliform bacteria and leaders of the colony were instructed to drink only bottled water.

Three other children, who had been hospitalized for similar but less severe symptoms, were discharged from the hospital Thursday and joined the colony.

One hundred and forty children were staying in the cottage at the time of the tragedy, from four different groups – Villeneuve-le-Roi, Paris, Aubergenville (Yvelines) and La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rhône). A group of children of employees of Airbus in Toulouse, staying in a nearby cottage, had no problems.

Bad fish: Australian mother and daughter likely died of scombroid food poisoning in Bali

Autopsies have found scombroid food poisoning likely caused the deaths of Noelene and Yvana Bischoff in Bali last month.

Their family has been told forensic pathologists, who conducted autopsies on Noelene Bischoff, 54, and her 14-year-old daughter Yvana, had found they died from a scombroidcombination of food poisoning and existing medical conditions after they ate fish at a Bali restaurant in early January.

Malcolm Bischoff, Noelene’s brother, said it appeared they both suffered from food poisoning that, coupled with their asthma and, in Noelene’s case, migraine medication had formed a fatal cocktail. “We were happy it wasn’t foul play because that would be disgusting,” Mr Bischoff said.

Scombroid food poisoning can result from eating spoiled fish, meaning the restaurant’s preparation could have made no difference, Mr Bischoff said.