15 still sick with E. coli O157 linked to UK butcher

Fifteen cases of E. coli O157 have emerged as a result of an outbreak. Health officials say many of those affected fell ill after eating pre-cooked meats or savoury products purchased or supplied by the Robinsons Butchers site in Billingham.

butchers1.jpg-pwrt3-300x2251-300x225Investigations into the source of the outbreak are continuing. Anyone who bought products from the Billingham shop between June 25 and July 15 has been advised to dispose of the items.

No cases have been associated with the Robinson’s Wingate premises since control measures were introduced on Wednesday, July 15

Amandeep Dhillon, an Irwin Mitchell partner and specialist public health lawyer, said the firm had now heard first-hand accounts regarding the outbreak linked to Robinson’s Butchers in Billingham and “are beginning to make our own enquiries in relation to the problems.”

E. coli O157 gets a boost from downy mildew in lettuce

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is more likely to contaminate lettuce when downy mildew is already present, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

downeymildew150723Downy mildew, a lettuce disease caused by the fungus-like water mold Bremia lactucae, is one of the biggest problems that lettuce growers must deal with.

But microbiologist Maria Brandl, with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit in Albany, California, has been investigating why so many E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks can be traced back to lettuce fields when E. coli O157:H7 sources are as diverse as undercooked beef, sprouts, raw dairy, shelled walnuts, fruits and vegetables. ARS is USDA’s chief in-house research agency.

Lettuce leaves are actually a harsh place for microbes to survive. But the epidemiological evidence is indisputable about how often lettuce is the source of E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

In earlier research, Brandl found that E. coli O157:H7 preferred cut, injured and younger leaves to undamaged and older ones. Then, she collaborated with ARS geneticist and lettuce breeder Ivan Simko from the Crop Improvement and Protection Research Unit in Salinas, California.

They found that under warm temperature and on wet leaves, E. coli O157:H7 multiplied 1,000-fold more in downy mildew lesions than on healthy lettuce leaf tissue. Even on dry lettuce leaves, where most bacteria struggle to survive, E. coli O157:H7 persisted in greater numbers when downy mildew disease was present.

The researchers also found that E. coli O157:H7 did not grow as well in downy mildew lesions on the lettuce line RH08-0464, bred by Simko and a colleague to be less susceptible to the lettuce disease, as the bacteria did on Triple Threat, a commercial variety that is highly susceptible to downy mildew.

The exact factors that caused less growth of E. coli O157:H7 in the more resistant line still need to be carefully explored. But if a genetic hurdle to E. coli O157:H7 colonization could be bred into commercial lettuce varieties along with downy mildew resistance, it would add a new defensive line to contamination of lettuce, helping farmers to improve the microbial safety of their crop as well as control their number-one plant disease problem.

Flies as a source of dangerous bacteria

Around the house, I’m known as the fly slayer, because in Brisbane at this time of year, we leave our balconies open.

FlyBut I can’t stand flies in my kitchen.

The mechanical transmission of pathogenic bacteria by synanthropic filth flies is widely recognized. While many studies report the fate and the temporospatial distribution of ingested foodborne bacteria by filth flies, there is little evidence about the transmission dynamics of ingested foodborne bacteria by adult house flies (Musca domestica) to their progeny.

In this study, we fed parental house fly adults with food contaminated with low, medium, and high concentrations of Salmonella enterica, Cronobacter sakazakii, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes and evaluated the probability of transmission of these pathogens to house fly eggs and the surface and the alimentary canal of their first filial (F 1 ) generation adults.

Results: All foodborne pathogens were present in samples containing pooled house fly eggs. The probability of transmission was higher after parental house flies ingested food containing medium bacterial loads.

Cronobacter sakazakii was 16, 6, and 3 times more likely to be transmitted to house fly eggs than S. enterica, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes, respectively.

Only S. enterica and C. sakazakii were transmitted to F 1 generation adults and their presence was 2.4 times more likely on their body surfaces than in their alimentary canals. The highest probabilities of finding S. enterica (60Â %) and C. sakazakii (28Â %) on newly emerged F 1 adults were observed after parental house flies ingested food containing medium and high levels of these pathogens, respectively.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that adult house flies that fed from food contaminated with various levels of foodborne bacteria were able to transmit those pathogens to their eggs and some were further transmitted to newly emerged F 1 generation adults, enhancing the vector potential of these insects.

Understanding the type of associations that synanthropic filth flies establish with foodborne pathogens will help to elucidate transmission mechanisms and possible ways to mitigate the spread of foodborne pathogens.

Ingested Salmonella enterica, Cronobacter sakazakii, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes: transmission dynamics from adult house flies to their eggs and first filial (F 1 ) generation adults

7th Space Interactive, BMC Microbiology 2015

Monica Pava-Ripoll Rachel Pearson Amy Miller Ben Tall Christine Keys George Ziobro


Shiga toxin producing E. coli in raw milk cheese in Ireland

Corleggy Cheeses is recalling all batches of its raw milk cheeses due to the detection of verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) in two batches of its cow’s milk cheese.  The cheeses are supplied to some restaurants and retail shops.  They are also sold directly at food markets.  Consumers are advised not to eat the affected cheeses.

Corleggy CheesesVTEC may cause severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, although sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhoea or no symptoms. In some groups, particularly children under 5 years of age and the elderly, the infection can also cause a complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in which the kidneys fail.


15 sick in UK E. coli O157 outbreak

Public Health England confirmed today that the owners of Robinsons butcher’s on Neasham Avenue have agreed to a voluntary closure.

butchers.jpg-pwrt3-300x225It comes amid reports of a new case of the E.coli O157 infection in a person who may have eaten ready-to-eat products from the shop is investigated.

The latest case brings the total number of people affected by the outbreak to 15.

A previous case reported to Public Health England has since tested negative.

Of these cases, two children and two adults remain in hospital. Two other children previously in hospital have been discharged and are recovering at home.

The children are aged between eight and 14 and two of them are known to be pupils at Northfield School and Sports College.

No one from Robinsons butcher’s was available for comment.

90 sick after swimming at Pennsylvania park

I don’t know what it is about Cowans Gap State Park’s beach and lake.

cowan_gap_state_park_lake(3)In 2011, at least 18 people were sickened with E. coli O157.

Now, the beach and lake is closed again as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to investigate what sickened people the weekend of July 18.

The latest information from the state said more than 90 people might have fallen ill after swimming in the lake in Fulton County. The estimate in an initial news release was “more than two dozen cases.

Department of Health spokeswoman Amy Worden said Monday she did not have an update on what caused the sickness. Epidemiologists and lab technicians are studying stool samples.

7-year-old sickened with E. coli

A Rochester, Minn. family is asking for support as their young daughter battles an E. coli infection and a potentially life-threatening complication.

charlotte-vossAccording to a Gofundme page, Charlotte Voss contracted the O157-H7 strain of E. coli while visiting her grandmother in Nebraska earlier this month. Charlotte was first treated at a clinic in Nebraska before being transferred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She was admitted to Mayo’s Eugenio Litta’s Children’s Hospital July 23.

Charlotte’s condition continued to worsen and she developed HUS, a very serious and potentially life-threatening complication known as Hemolytic uremic syndrome. According to Mayo Clinic, it affects only 5%-10% of those who are diagnosed with STEC infection. HUS is “a condition that results from the abnormal premature destruction of red blood cells. Once this process begins, the damaged red blood cells start to clog the filtering system in the kidneys, which may eventually cause the life-threatening kidney failure associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome.”

15 sick from E. coli O157 outbreak linked to UK butcher

Three more reports of E. coli O157 infection possibly linked to this outbreak have been received by health officials, one of whom is in hospital.

butchers.jpg-pwrt3The latest cases are known to have eaten products bought or supplied by Robinson’s butchers before control measures were introduced at the premises on 15 July.

This brings the total number of people affected to 15, of which six are in hospital.

Four of the people in hospital are children aged between 8 – 14 years. The other two people in hospital are adults.

Although a definite source has not yet been identified, many of the affected people are known to have eaten pre-cooked meats or savoury products bought or supplied by Robinson’s butcher and caterer who has shops in Wingate and Billingham.


Aerosolization of pathogens? Petting zoo returns to Minn. fair after 2014 E. coli outbreak

Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo, is returning to the 2015 Rice County Fair, a year after it was suspected to be the source of an E. coli outbreak.

courtlynn.petting.zooIn 2014, the Minnesota Department of Health identified 13 people from four different events who developed E. coli after visiting the Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo.

 But Rice County Fair officials say fair goers shouldn’t be worried. Rice County Fair Executive Director John Dvorak said they were comfortable bringing Zerebko Zoo Tran back.

“The biggest factor is that they were extremely cooperative in working with the department of health, and others with the investigation,” Dvorak said.

Dvorak said the fair has also made changes to the facilities fair goers can use to clean up after visiting the zoo. In the past, the fair supplied hand-washing stations that used a chemical to sanitize hands. This year, the fair is bringing running-water hand washing stations with soap.

“E. coli is best cleaned away by friction, so by bringing the running water hand washing stations, that will help get rid of anything that could be spread,” Dvorak said.

Operational changes have been made in the fairground’s barns, like keeping an extra eye to keep walkways clear of waste and making layout changes within the barns so animals never have to step outside to go to a different part of the barn, he said.

Wally Zerebko, owner of Zerebko Zoo Tran, said after the incident in 2014, he contacted several experts and had all of his animals tested. He also had the company’s vet mention the problem at a conference, which led to them finding a vaccine they could give the animals.

Settlement reached in XL Foods beef recall

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit over the largest meat recall in Canadian history.

XL.fine.foodsThe lawsuit was launched against XL Foods based in Brooks, Alberta after 18 people got sick with E. coli after eating tainted meat in 2012.

The majority of the $4 million settlement will go to those poisoned by the meat, health care providers and claims will also be paid out to consumers who had to throw out the tainted products.

The settlement still has to be approved by the courts.