Norovirus strikes hundreds at obstacle race in France

In June 2015, near Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes department, an acute gastroenteritis (AG) outbreak occurred among participants of an obstacle race. An investigation in 2 phases was conducted to identify the source of infection and document the extent of the outbreak.

tough_mudder_16-340x227During phase 1, a message on Facebook asked the racers to report by email any symptoms. In phase 2, a retrospective study was conducted through an interactive questionnaire for all participants. Cross-sectional descriptive studies were conducted, completed by an analytical study of the potential risks factors. Microbiological and environmental investigations were conducted in order to identify the responsible agent. An analysis of antidiarrhoeal drugs reimbursements was conducted with data from the French national health insurance to confirm the epidemiological investigation.

During phase 1, on 8229 registered participants, at least 1001 adults reported an AG, which was resolved in 48H.

In phase 2, the risks factors of AG identified were due to: younger participants, first hour of departure time and ingestion of mud. Twenty stool specimens traced were negative for bacteriological research. Only 4 stool specimens were sent to the CNR of enteric viruses. They were all positive for Norovirus genogroup1 and genotype 2 (GI.2), strain of human origin.

Indicator bacteria were negative in the drinking water and positive in the muddy water. Outbreak origin was due to human transmission: a norovirus possibly introduced by stools or vomiting from one or more persons infected, transmitted through contaminated muddy water.

For the future, recommendations for the organisation of such events should be proposed. The risks related to these races should be assessed to guide health authorities and to guide organizers in their awareness of potential risks factors.

Investigation of an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis among participants of an Obstacle Adventure Race Alpes-Maritimes

S Giron, C Six

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/Publications-et-outils/Rapports-et-syntheses/Maladies-infectieuses/2016/Investigation-d-une-epidemie-de-gastro-enterites-virales-survenues-apres-une-course-a-obstacles

23 years late, Chipotle gets food safety religion (or so they lecture)

I just registered for an Ice Hockey Australia Level 2 coaching course.

The course is rarely offered, and there’s only a couple of level 2 coaches in Queensland. It will take 25 hours of training to complete.

dp-sorenne-becThat’s on top of the 16 hours I put in for Coach 1 in Australia, and recertification every two years.

It’s similar to the Intermediate Level Coach status I had in Canada back in 2001, which was required to coach a rep or travel team.

It’s a lot of time, sitting in a classroom, and on the ice.

I view it as my church, my community service.

So when Chipotle makes a big deal saying all of its managers will be trained in food safety the ServSafe way, I shrug, and ask, why weren’t they before?

How far was Chipotle’s head up its own moralistic ass that it paid more attention to food porn – like hormones and GE foods – than to food safety, the things that make people barf?

Great, you’re going to require training. Anyone ask if the training is any good? Third-party audits? Nice soundbite but they’re just a paycheck. Handwashing every thirty minutes? McDonald’s have been doing that for decades (you’d think Chipotle would have picked that up when they were partnered with McDonald’s, but no, there was food porn to peddle).

The Chipotle announcement reads like a moralistic lecture, and that no one had discovered food safety before.

A year after the outbreaks, Chipotle is now getting into standard PR – which it should have done months ago (Chipotle, your communication advisors absolutely suck). The full page ad, the video, the push for food safety.

Guacamole, for instance, now takes advantages of the cleansing properties of the lemon and lime juices in the recipe. Before getting mixed, the chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapeños are laid on top of avocados and drizzled with citrus juices in one last effort to ensure food safety.

Some scientists may question such tactics, saying they have been supplanted by newer methods. But Dr. James Marsden, Chipotle’s new executive director of food safety, who had recently retired from teaching at Kansas State University (and the father of the actor James Marsden, best known as Cyclops in the “X Men” film series) said he was confident in them.

“We’re doing research and are going to publish papers on what we’re doing, so people can see for themselves that it works,” he said.

That’s all good, but they’re still moralistic assholes who expect people to pay a premium for their food sermons (journos, contact me for Marsden stories).

Chipotle founder and Co-CEO stepped in front of a camera in a bid to win over weary diners that still aren’t hankering for the chain’s once-popular tacos and burritos.

In a video that the Mexican burrito chain unveiled on Wednesday, a contrite Ells admits that last year, the fast-casual restaurant chain “failed to live up to our own food safety standards, and in so doing, we let our customers down. At that time, I made a promise to all of our customers that we would elevate our food safety program.”

chipotleadContrite is not the word I would use.

Looking to revalue Chipotle’s share price is more accurate.

Chipotle initially blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Australian beef for its woes. Today, it blamed social media.

“No one has ever had this kind of a food safety crisis in the era of social media,” Mr. Ells said.

I could list hundreds, beginning with E. coli O157 in spinach in 2006, you arrogant poser.

“Jack In The Box,” — a burger chain where more than 700 people got sick in 1993 after eating E. coli contaminated meat — “never had to deal with Facebook and Twitter,” he said.

When I coach, I’m always telling kids, and adults, stop blaming the refs, go score a goal, stop whinging.

What is fresh? Australian beef in the U.S.?

Is this guy stealing from Trump’s playbook?

It’s slogans and hucksterism.

Which Americans seem to go for.

And Mr. Ells, since you seem content on lecturing Americans about food safety, while blaming others, here’s a history lesson.

In the Fall of 1994, Intel computer chips became scrutinized by the computer geeks, and then the public.

Intel had delayed responding to allegations, and Wall Street analysts at the time said it was the result of a corporate culture accustomed to handling technical issues rather than addressing customers’ hopes and fears.

On Monday, Nov. 12, 1994, the International Business Machines Corp. abruptly announced that its own researchers had determined that the Pentium flaw would lead to division errors much more frequently than Intel said. IBM said it was suspending shipments of personal computers containing the Pentium chip

Mr. Grove was stunned. The head of IBM’s PC division, Richard Thoman, had given no advance warning. A fax from Thoman arrived at Intel’s HQ on Monday morning after the IBM announcement, saying he had been unable to find Grove’s number during the weekend. Mr. Grove, whose number is listed, called directory assistance twice to ask for his own number to ensure he was listed.

After the IBM announcement, the number of calls to Santa Clara overwhelmed the capacity of AT&T’s West Coast long-distance telephone switching centres, blocking calls. Intel stock fell 6.5 per cent

Only then, Mr. Grove said, did he begin to realize that an engineer’s approach was inappropriate for a consumer problem.

Intel took out full-page ads, apologized, and did better.

That was in months, not a year.

Mr. Ells, you can claim you’re in uncharted territory, that no one has experienced the woes like you have, that fresh is a meaningful term.

But it’s just a repeat.

Customers may expect you to have the humility to admit such failings when driven by the hubris of your own beliefs.

But hey, anyone who can get Americans to believe that 1,000 calorie burritos are healthy can do anything you damn well please.

And customers will bow down.

Investors. I wouldn’t touch it. But I said that in 2007.

 

Blame Australia: 3 new noroviruses cause gastro outbreaks across Australia

University of New South Wales scientists have identified three new strains of highly contagious norovirus that are responsible for a major new epidemic of viral gastroenteritis that has affected hundreds of thousands of Australians over winter.

keep-calm-and-blame-it-on-australiaScores of outbreaks of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea have occurred in Sydney, the Hunter region and the ACT, mainly in closed settings including aged care facilities, hospitals, childcare centres and cruise ships. More cases are expected.

In 2012, Professor Peter White and his team in the UNSW Faculty of Science discovered a new strain of norovirus named Sydney 2012, which caused a worldwide pandemic of gastro, including major outbreaks in Australia.

This strain dominated cases of norovirus infection until this year, when it declined from 75 per cent of cases to 18 per cent of cases in Australia. Similar trends have also been seen in the US and New Zealand.

“Now that Sydney 2012 has declined, three new strains of norovirus have emerged as a new major health concern,” says Professor White.

“They are responsible for a big increase in the number of gastro cases in Australia in the past two months, and this new spate of infection is likely to continue to cause a wave of sick leave that will affect businesses and schools already reeling from the effects of the current influenza epidemic.”

UNSW PhD student and molecular virologist Jennifer Lun worked out the genetic typing of the new viral strains.

“I was surprised to find three new viruses, rather than a single one,” she says.

“Two of the viruses are hybrid strains that evolved from the previous pandemic Sydney 2012 strain, while the other new strain is likely to have come from Asia. It occurred to me immediately that there was a potential for them to cause an increase in outbreaks this winter, because people have not been exposed to them before.”

norovirus-2Each year, norovirus infects about two million Australians and kills about 220,000 people worldwide. The nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea usually last for two to three days.

“Norovirus is highly infectious and can spread through aerosol particles when people vomit,” says Professor White, of the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences.

“During the past 20 years there have been six global epidemics of norovirus, in 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012. Only time will tell how widely these three new strains will spread.”

The research on the new strains was carried out in collaboration with researchers at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Westmead Hospital, Canberra Hospital, the NSW Public Health Unit and medical testing service Douglass Hanly Moir.

Professor White established the Australian and New Zealand Norovirus Surveillance Network of testing laboratories in 2006, which has links with two similar organisations in Europe and North America to form a global surveillance network.

Probe launched after second ill pensioner dies after Scots staff send her on 450 mile taxi ride home

As Scotland grapples with 150 children sick from Norovirus at two schools, it has emerged that a second ill pensioner has died after being sent home hundreds of miles in a taxi from a Scottish hotel.

norovirus-elderly-womanThe Herald Scotland reports the Loch Achray Hotel in Callander, Stirlingshire, sent ill 79-year-old Norma Francis home on a 350-mile taxi journey to her home in Gnosall, Stafford, after showing symptoms of gastric illness. 

Norma fell unconscious during the journey and later died in hospital after paramedics were unable to waken her. 

Three weeks after Norma died on April 6, the hotel sent guest Carol Whymark, 70, and her husband, 73, home to Suffolk 450 miles in a taxi after it was suspected she was suffering from norovirus. 

The pensioner died of a heart attack in hospital the next day. 

Her daughter Sharone says the family have instructed lawyers to investigate Carol’s stay at the hotel, booked through Lochs and Glens Holidays Limited. 
Sharone, 47, said: “I just think it is terrible that this could have happened once, let alone twice. It’s disgusting. 

“I’ve lost my mum, my dad lost his wife and my daughter her nanny. I’m disgusted and this needs investigating. 

“I’m still numb really. I still feel angry.” 

Carol, who was on a coach tour of Scotland, woke up feeling unwell at the hotel on April 28. 

Her daughter said staff told husband Desmond that his wife had norovirus and offered him rubber gloves to clean the room and left food and water outside. 

The family claim no appropriate medical advice was given and the hotel simply offered a taxi home. 

A post mortem revealed she did not have norovirus in her system and died of the heart attack. 

Sharone said: “Mum said she didn’t feel 100 per cent – but there was no evidence of vomiting or loose stools. There was no medical attention at all. 

“They said to my dad there was a 90 per cent chance he will catch the virus. 

“Half an hour later they said she was fit to travel nine hours home. It’s so wrong. 
“When they came and said they would pay for a taxi, she said, ‘Yes, let’s go home’. 

“The poor lady who passed away three weeks before, she actually did have norovirus. 

“But my mum didn’t have it. 

“The hotel thought she had norovirus because the other lady did. 

Tragically Chipotle: Freebies, settlements, falling stock and drones

It’s about having a voice.

Chipotle can hire all the food safety bigshots it likes, but it has no story, no narrative, to get past its five outbreaks in six months; and no amount of freebies are going to fix that.

kenny-diarrheaChipotle news is playing on the background of Mr. Robot. That’s prophetic.

Google parent company Alphabet is teaming up with Chipotle to test drone delivery for Virginia Tech students, according to a report from Bloomberg. The pilot program marks a turning point for Alphabet’s Project Wing division, giving the team ample room to experiment with airborne burrito deliveries in one of the first commercial programs of its kind to be greenlit by the US Federal Aviation Authority. The drones, which will be hybrid aircraft that can both fly and hover in place, will make deliveries coordinated by a Chipotle food truck on campus.

The news Chipotle probably wanted highlighted was that it has reportedly quietly settled nearly 100 claims over the last six months out of court, probably so the company won’t remind the public that they were so recently plagued by rampant food poisoning. The terms of the settlements are all confidential, but the claims were all filed by people whose ailments were verified by medical professionals. An attorney representing some of the plaintiffs called Chipotle’s move “textbook appropriate,” adding, “They’ve taken responsibility.”

“In 25 years of doing foodborne illness cases, I’ve never had a client ask for coupons for the restaurant they had gotten sick at,” said William Marler, an attorney with Seattle-based Marler Clark who represented 97 Chipotle customers. “In fact, some (clients) had gone back to the restaurant and they would call me and say, ‘Do you think it’s bad that I went back and got a burrito?’”

The company’s stock traded at $430.70 on Friday, down 1.3 percent, and lower than its 52-week high of $757 last October.

“They have a following of especially 20-somethings that other restaurants don’t have,” Marler said. “It’s a little odd, but it probably says something positive about Chipotle.

No, it says there’s a generation so much dumber than its parents.

But who am I to debunk an American myth.

Ironical that this video about American mythology was shot outside Melbourne. Chipotle blamed its E. coli outbreaks on Australian beef. Chipotle: local, fresh hypocrites.

 

32,000 hospitalized over contaminated water in Turkey

The number of people hospitalized due to contaminated water in the Elbistan district of the Mediterranean province of Kahramanmaraş has risen from 5,000 to some 32,000, while a group of officials announced a norovirus infection in caisson wells within the water supply network from Ceyhan River was the cause of the contamination. 

norovirus-2“We needed to find what the microorganism causing diarrhea was and the source of it. In light of the samples we took from the patients, we determined that what caused their diarrhea was a norovirus, which means bacteria and viruses together,” Health Ministry Health Services Department General Manager İrfan Şencan told journalists at a press briefing on Aug. 29, adding it can spread very easily.

“It’s a type of virus that can cause stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. It can spread very easily and affects a lot of people. I need to stress that in addition to the infection occurring through drinking water directly, one can be infected through several other ways including kissing, washing hands, preparing meals, shaking hands and so on,” he added. 

Şencan noted there was no issue concerning the chemical quality of the water.

 

Minneapolis sees rise in foodborne illness from nororvirus, Vibrio in oysters

When I think Minnesota, I think raw oysters.

No, I never think that about anywhere.

raw.oysters.minnJeremy Olson of the Star Tribune reports that city health inspectors in Minneapolis are investigating a summer increase in foodborne illnesses related to norovirus and Vibrio, a bacteria found in raw oysters.

The increases were highlighted in the city’s “food establishment” newsletter, released Thursday.

“The reason for the spike in norovirus outbreaks is not known,” the advisory stated. “The Vibrio outbreaks are due to higher concentrations of bacteria in some oyster beds during the summer.”

Cases of norovirus, a highly contagious bug that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, are not required to be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, but the state agency has received reports of a slight uptick that is unusual for this time of year.

Over 100 sickened at Kansas dinner theatre in Jan.

Beginning with the Jan. 17, 2016 performance at the Overland Park New Theatre dinner theatre, people began complaining of illness. Hundreds of people say they got sick after attending a Johnson County dinner theater in January. Now months later, Abby Eden of FOX 4 has obtained the final report detailing the investigation by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment into what happened.

New-Theater-Restaurant-in-Overland-Park-The report shows the norovirus could have been spread by employees who were already sick- and handling food like the bread, salad, and ranch dressing. The C. perfrigens was found to be associated with the poppyseed dressing and burnt ends- improper temperature settings may have led to that bacteria spreading.

However, the report doesn`t rule out the possibility that a patron brought in the norovirus and spread it through going through the buffet line.

Water cooler common source in Norovirus outbreak in China

Noroviruses are a common cause of acute gastroenteritis around the world; however, reports of outbreaks caused by GII.17 norovirus are rare. An outbreak caused by GII.17 norovirus in a senior high school in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China is reported here.

WatercoolerAn epidemiological investigation, pathogen detection, and case–control study were performed. Epidemiological data combined with the epidemic curve indicated that this outbreak was a point source type initially, followed by secondary transmission. The first case was identified as most likely the source of the outbreak.

Risk analysis showed exposure to patients and sharing a communal water cooler to be associated with the spread of infection. Sequence analysis of GII-positive samples confirmed that the norovirus GII.17 variant was the etiological agent of this outbreak.

An acute gastroenteritis outbreak caused by GII.17 norovirus in Jiangsu Province, China

Chao Shi1, Wei-Hong Feng1, Ping Shi1, Jing Ai, Hong-Xia Guan, Dan Sha, Qian Geng, Jun Mei, Shan-hui Chen, Yong Xiao, Yan-Hua Qian

1Chao Shi, Ping Shi, and Wei-Hong Feng contributed equally to this study.

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, August 2016, Volume 49, Pages 30-32, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2016.05.004

http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(16)31047-5/fulltext

Headline of the week: Chipotle’s decision to open a burger joint is ridiculously stupid

Chipotle has fooled so many people for so long it can say and do almost anything.

But when investors sour, shit gets real.

chipotleBrian Sozzi  of The Street wonders what Chipotle is thinking.

The bruised and battered better burrito joint confirmed Thursday that the first Tasty Made burger restaurant will open this fall in Lancaster, Ohio. Chipotle said the Tasty Made menu will be limited to burger, fries and milkshakes.

Here is why Chipotle’s decision to try and play the role of a bootleg Shake Shack is ill-conceived.

The core Chipotle brand is far from fixed.

Chipotle’s well-paid management team should be 1,000% focused on returning its namesake brand to full health in the wake of several high-profile food safety incidents last year. Judging by Chipotle’s second quarter results, efforts to restore large amounts of goodwill among consumers via free food giveaways, intensified marketing and a new rewards program are not working to a sizable degree.

The company’s second quarter earnings nosedived 80% from the prior year to 87 cents a share. Wall Street estimated earnings of 93 cents a share. Revenue fell 16.6% to $998.4 million, missing Wall Street’s $1.05 billion estimate. Same-store sales plunged 23.6% in the quarter, and are down about 21% so far in July.

Hadley Malcolm of USA Today writes the company’s first burger joint, Tasty Made, is set to open in the fall in Lancaster, Ohio. With it, Chipotle will draw on the game plan it’s banked on for years: a simple menu featuring fresh ingredients. The only items diners can order will be hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes. Burgers will be made from fresh, not frozen beef; the buns will be preservative-free.

Adam Chandler of The Atlantic writes that last week, analysts at the financial-services firm Stifel downgraded its recommendation on Chipotle to “sell” and warned that the company could lose half of its value in the coming months.

“Chipotle was really vulnerable because of their heavy reliance on their claims about their food,” Chris Malone, the co-author of The Human Brand, a book on consumers’ connections to companies, told Business Insider last week. The steady refrain of purity and the constant trill of its motto, “Food With Integrity,” left little room for a contaminated supply chain.