Epidemiology, just trying to do this jigsaw puzzle: Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with lettuce served at fast food chains in the Maritimes and Ontario, Canada, Dec 2012

Background: Identification and control of multi-jurisdictional foodborne illness outbreaks can be complex because of their multidisciplinary nature and the number of investigative partners involved.

spongebob.oil.colbert.may3.10Objective: To describe the multi-jurisdictional outbreak response to an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada that highlights the importance of early notification and collaboration and the value of centralized interviewing.

Methods: Investigators from local, provincial and federal jurisdictions, using a national outbreak response protocol to clarify roles and responsibilities and facilitate collaboration, conducted a rapid investigation that included centralized re-interview of cases, descriptive methods, binomial probability, and traceback findings to identify the source of the outbreak.

Results: There were 31 laboratory confirmed cases identified in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. Thirteen cases (42%) were hospitalized and one case (3%) developed hemolytic uremic syndrome; there were no deaths. Due to early notification a coordinated investigation was initiated before laboratory subtyping was available. Re-interview of cases identified 10 cases who had not initially reported exposure to the source of the outbreak. Less than one week after the Outbreak Investigation Coordinating Committee was formed, consumption of shredded lettuce from a fast food chain was identified as the likely source of the illnesses and the implicated importer/processor initiated a precautionary recall the same day.

Conclusion: This outbreak investigation highlights the importance of early notification, prompt re-interviewing and collaboration to rapidly identify the source of an outbreak.

Canada Communicable Disease Report CCDR

Tataryn J, Morton V, Cutler J, McDonald L, Whitfield Y, Billard B, Gad RR and Hexemer A

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/14vol40/dr-rm40s-1/dr-rm40s-1-ecoli-eng.php

2 sick with E.coli O157 in UK linked to raw milk

The UK Food Standards Agency reports Barton Farm Dairy (Kentisbury, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4NQ) is recalling its raw cow’s drinking milk due to a potential link to two cases of E.coli O157 infection. If you have bought this product, do not consume it. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

baton.farm.dairyProduct details

The product being recalled is:

Barton Farm Dairy raw cow’s drinking milk

Size: All sizes

Barton Farm Dairy is recalling the above product. Product recall notices will be issued to the business’s customers and on the website, explaining why the recall is happening and what they can do if they have bought an affected product.

If you have bought any of the above products, do not consume them. Instead, contact the Barton Farm Dairy by calling 01271 882283 or emailing info@bartonfarmdairy.co.uk for further advice.

Boy, 4, makes miraculous recovery at New York hospital after complications from E. coli O157

Jacob LaRose almost didn’t make it to pre-K.

ecoli11n-1-webJake’s mother, Kimberly LaRose, is still unsure just how her 4-year-old son, as well as 2-year-old daughter Hayden, came into contact with E. coli O157.

Both Hayden and Jake fell ill with diarrhea in March, but when their pediatrician noted how sick Jake looked, the family took him straight to the ER.

They didn’t leave until Memorial Day weekend.

He stayed in the hospital three more weeks to recover. Kimberly and her husband, Brian, traded visiting hours, but one parent was always with Jake, and the other could Skype to say hello or goodnight. His little sister wasn’t able to visit him for six weeks.

E. coli O157 in pork? Food safety officials pull more pork from stores as investigation expands

Raw pork from two more city retailers is being pulled from store shelves as food safety officials continue investigating where tainted meat that sickened scores of Albertans was shipped to and sold around the province.

hi-nb-e-coli-fredericton-8colThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency said pork sold at Trimming Fresh Meats Ltd. in the third week of July and Hiep Hoa Asian Food in the last half of July and a few days the middle of August may be contaminated with potentially-fatal bacteria.

At least one person is reported to have fallen sick after eating meat from the pair of outlets that were supplied with product from V&T Meat Wholesale.

All the pork produced by V&T since mid-July was recalled last week after investigators found meat at the 17th Ave SE facility was tainted with E. coli O157:H7.

Frozen spring rolls, pork buns and wontons made and sold at Vinh Fat Food Products in Edmonton have also been implicated in the expanding recall.

Testing has found that at least 100 people have fallen ill from bacteria with the identical genetic fingerprint after eating pork from V&T or Edmonton’s Hiep Thanh Trading that was mostly served up at Asian eateries.

At least 19 of those victims were sick enough to require hospitalization and five have been left with chronic kidney disease due to their infection.

While the list of implicated end products grows, CFIA officials did not reply Monday to Herald questions about whether a pair of small meat distributors in two different cities that appear to have shipped meat tainted with identical bacteria received shipments from the same abattoir or slaughter facility.

When clusters of Albertans began falling sick in late July after eating at different Asian restaurants in the province’s two largest cities, investigators were certain a common ingredient used at all the establishments was to blame.

But Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s chief medical officer, said officials didn’t begin to focus on pork as the potential culprit until nearly a month later, after beef, bean sprouts and green onions had been eliminated from the list of suspects.

While investigators took a while to identify the source of the illnesses, a 2011 study by provincial government scientists of products produced at Alberta abattoirs and slaughter houses found that pork was nearly as likely to be tainted with the types of E.coli that make people sick as beef.

“We determined that 5.4 per cent of beef and 4.8 per cent of pork samples were positive for Shiga-toxin producing E.coli,” the study said.

Alberta E. coli recall now includes frozen pork spring rolls, pork buns and pork wontons

But what is E. coli O157:H7 doing in pork?

Vinh Fat Food Products is voluntarily recalling frozen pork spring rolls, pork buns and pork wontons as part of larger recall of Alberta pork products.

Vinh Fat Food ProductsThe recall was prompted by concerns of E. coli contamination and comes after other raw pork products from two other Alberta companies were pulled from the marketplace.

​​The following frozen pork products have been sold exclusively from Vinh Fat Food Products, which is located at 10630 97th Street in Edmonton.

  • Pork spring rolls sold between July 10 and Sept. 5 inclusively.
  • Pork buns sold between July 10 and Sept. 5 inclusively.
  • Pork wontons sold between July 10 and Sept. 5 inclusively.

This recall was triggered by the E. coli outbreak investigation led by Alberta Health Services and supported by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Tracking an Escherichia coli O157:H7–contaminated batch of leafy greens through a pilot-scale fresh-cut processing line

Cross-contamination of fresh-cut leafy greens with residual Escherichia coli O157:H7–contaminated product during commercial processing was likely a contributing factor in several recent multistate outbreaks.

lettuceConsequently, radicchio was used as a visual marker to track the spread of the contaminated product to iceberg lettuce in a pilot-scale processing line that included a commercial shredder, step conveyor, flume tank, shaker table, and centrifugal dryer. Uninoculated iceberg lettuce (45 kg) was processed, followed by 9.1 kg of radicchio (dip inoculated to contain a four-strain, green fluorescent protein–labeled nontoxigenic E. coli O157:H7 cocktail at 106 CFU/g) and 907 kg (2,000 lb) of uninoculated iceberg lettuce. After collecting the lettuce and radicchio in about 40 bags (∼22.7 kg per bag) along with water and equipment surface samples, all visible shreds of radicchio were retrieved from the bags of shredded product, the equipment, and the floor. E. coli O157:H7 populations were quantified in the lettuce, water, and equipment samples by direct plating with or without prior membrane filtration on Trypticase soy agar containing 0.6% yeast extract and 100 ppm of ampicillin. Based on triplicate experiments, the weight of radicchio in the shredded lettuce averaged 614.9 g (93.6%), 6.9 g (1.3%), 5.0 g (0.8%), and 2.8 g (0.5%) for bags 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 30, and 31 to 40, respectively, with mean E. coli O157:H7 populations of 1.7, 1.2, 1.1, and 1.1 log CFU/g in radicchio-free lettuce. After processing, more radicchio remained on the conveyor (9.8 g; P < 0.05), compared with the shredder (8.3 g), flume tank (3.5 g), and shaker table (0.1 g), with similar E. coli O157:H7 populations (P > 0.05) recovered from all equipment surfaces after processing.

These findings clearly demonstrate both the potential for the continuous spread of contaminated lettuce to multiple batches of product during processing and the need for improved equipment designs that minimize the buildup of residual product during processing.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 9, September 2014, pp. 1448-1648, pp. 1487-1494(8)

Buchholz, Annemarie L.1; Davidson, Gordon R.1; Marks, Bradley P.2; Todd, Ewen C.D.3; Ryser, Elliot T.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2014/00000077/00000009/art00005

E. coli O157 in Alberta linked to pork?

Nine days ago, Alberta Health Services said there was confirmed 130 cases of E.coli O157  infection in Alberta and urged people to wash their hands with hot, soapy water — especially after using the bathroom.

UnknownBureaucratic BS.

Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency cryptically stated that raw pork products sold by V&T Meat and Food, Calgary, Alberta and Hiep Thanh Trading, Edmonton, Alberta were being recalled due to E. coli O157:H7, and that further analysis is underway to determine if these affected products are linked to some of the E. Coli O157:H7 illnesses in Alberta.

Canadian tax dollars at work.

Survival of Escherichia coli on strawberries grown under greenhouse conditions

One of the benefits of living in Brisbane is the four seasons of strawberries, unlike the three weeks in Canada.

sorenne.strawberry.13We eat endless amounts.

There has been the occasional outbreak, usually due to ruminant contamination with shiga-toxin producing E. coli.

Strawberries are soft fruit that are not recommended to have a post-harvest wash due to quality concerns. Escherichia coli O157:H7 has been linked to outbreaks with strawberries but little is known about the survival of E. coli during the growth cycle of strawberries.

The survival of E. coli on strawberry plants during growing under greenhouses conditions was evaluated. Soil, leaves, and strawberries (if present) were artificially contaminated with an E. coli surrogate either at the time of planting, first runner removal (4 wk), second runner removal (8 wk), or one week prior to harvest. At harvest E. coli was recovered from the leaves, soil, and strawberries regardless of the contamination time. Time of contamination influenced (P < 0.05) numbers of viable E. coli on the plant. The highest survival of E. coli (P < 0.0001) was detected in soil that was contaminated at planting (4.27 log10 CFU g soil−1), whereas, the survival of E. coli was maximal at later contamination times (8 wk and 1 wk prior to harvest) for the leaves (4.40 and 4.68 log10 CFU g leaves−1) and strawberries (3.37 and 3.53 log10 CFU strawberry−1). Cross contamination from leaves to fruit was observed during this study, with the presence of E. coli on strawberries which had not been present at the time of contamination.

These results indicate that good agricultural best practices to avoid contamination are necessary to minimize the risk of contamination of these popular fruit with enteric pathogens. Practices should include soil testing prior to harvest and avoiding contamination of the leaves.

Food Microbiology, Volume 46, April 2015, Pages 200–203

Angela Laury Shawa, Amanda Svobodaa, Beatrice Jiea, Gail Nonneckeb, Aubrey Mendoncaa

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002014001658

e.coli.O157.strawberry

Sheep as an important source of E. coli O157:H7 in Turkey

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a globally important foodborne pathogen and has been mainly associated with cattle as the reservoir. However, accumulating data shows the importance of sheep as an E. coli O157:H7 vehicle.

sheep.shit.aug.12The presence of E. coli O157/O157:H7 in recto-anal mucosal swap and carcass sponge samples of 100 sheep brought to the slaughterhouse in Kirikkale were analyzed over a year. Molecular characteristics (stx1, stx2, eaeA, hly, lpfA1-3, espA, eae-α1, eae-α2, eae-β, eae-β1, eae-β2, eae-γ1, eae-γ2/θ, stx1c, stx1d, stx2c, stx2d, stx2e, stx2f, stx2g, blaampC, tet(A), tet(B), tet(C), tet(D), tet(E), tet(G), sul1, sul2, floR, cmlA, strA, strB and aadA) of 79 isolates were determined and minimum inhibitory concentrations of 20 different antibiotics were investigated. E. coli O157/O157:H7 was found in 18% of sheep included in the study and was more prevalent in yearlings than lambs and mature sheep, and male than female sheep, though none of the categories (season, sex or age range) had significant effect on prevalence. Furthermore, Shiga-toxigenic E. coli (STEC) O157:H7 was determined in 2% and 8% of sheep feces and carcasses, respectively. Additionally, lpfA1-3 and eae-γ1 were detected in all isolates. None of the isolates showed resistance against investigated antibiotics, even though 4 sorbitol fermenting E. coli O157 isolates were positive for tet(A), sul1 and aadA. This is the first study in Turkey that reveals the potential public health risk due to the contamination of sheep carcasses with potentially highly pathogenic STEC O157:H7 strains.

Yilmaz Emre Gencay

https://www.mysciencework.com/publication/show/7322026/sheep-as-an-important-source-of-e-coli-o157-o157-h7-in-turkey

Quantitative risk assessment of hemolytic and uremic syndrome linked to O157:H7 and non-O157:H7 shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli strains in raw milk soft cheeses

Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains may cause human infections ranging from simple diarrhea to Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). The five main pathogenic serotypes of STEC (MPS-STEC) identified thus far in Europe are O157:H7, O26:H11, O103:H2, O111:H8, and O145:H28.

raw.milk.cheeseBecause STEC strains can survive or grow during cheese making, particularly in soft cheeses, a stochastic quantitative microbial risk assessment model was developed to assess the risk of HUS associated with the five MPS-STEC in raw milk soft cheeses. A baseline scenario represents a theoretical worst-case scenario where no intervention was considered throughout the farm-to-fork continuum. The risk level assessed with this baseline scenario is the risk-based level. The impact of seven preharvest scenarios (vaccines, probiotic, milk farm sorting) on the risk-based level was expressed in terms of risk reduction. Impact of the preharvest intervention ranges from 76% to 98% of risk reduction with highest values predicted with scenarios combining a decrease of the number of cow shedding STEC and of the STEC concentration in feces. The impact of postharvest interventions on the risk-based level was also tested by applying five microbiological criteria (MC) at the end of ripening.

The five MCs differ in terms of sample size, the number of samples that may yield a value larger than the microbiological limit, and the analysis methods. The risk reduction predicted varies from 25% to 96% by applying MCs without preharvest interventions and from 1% to 96% with combination of pre- and postharvest interventions.

Risk Analysis
Frédérique Perrin, Fanny Tenenhaus-Aziza, Valérie Michel, Stéphane Miszczycha, Nadège Bel, and Moez Sanaa

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/risa.12267/abstract;jsessionid=74BD9124E68BA3CAA0FCD6112D55BB0C.f02t01