Raw is risky: Canada reports 1st case this year of illness linked to eating raw oysters

CBC News reports British Columbia has recorded its first case this year of someone being sickened by eating raw oysters contaminated with Vibrio bacteria.

oysters.grillThe B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said the illness was reported June 30 in the Vancouver area.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria grow in seawater and can end up in shellfish like oysters and clams. When water temperatures rise in the summer, the accumulations of the naturally occurring bacteria increase to the point that eating undercooked shellfish can give people nausea, fever and diarrhea.

Last year’s outbreak of the Vibrio-caused illness was the biggest in Canadian history and sickened at least 73 British Columbians. Sixty of the illnesses were due to eating contaminated raw or undercooked B.C. oysters in restaurants. The other 13 illnesses were traced to exposure to seawater with high levels of the bacteria.

At the height of the outbreak last summer, Vancouver Coastal Health ordered restaurants not to serve raw oysters harvested from B.C. waters and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a food recall for B.C. oysters. 

“Eating raw shellfish increases your risk of Vibrio and other infections,” said Dr. Eleni Galanis, epidemiologist at the BCCDC, in a release.  

“It’s best to eat them cooked, but if you choose to eat raw shellfish like oysters, then understand the risks and take steps to reduce your likelihood of illness.”

Meanwhile, Florida health officials have reported 13 Vibrio vulnificus cases as of July 5, including four fatalities thus far in 2016.

Last year, Florida saw 45 cases and 14 deaths, the most since 2003.

Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however, Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish.  (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun)   [PNG Merlin Archive]

So don’t be a drunk and eat raw.

I BBQ them, and prefer scallops on the half-shell.

In other Virbrio news, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have uncovered a mechanism that a type of pathogenic bacteria found in shellfish use to sense when they are in the human gut, where they release toxins that cause food poisoning.

The researchers studied Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a globally spread, Gram-negative bacterium that contaminates shellfish in warm saltwater during the summer. The bacterium thrives in coastal waters and is the world’s leading cause of acute gastroenteritis.

“During recent years, rising temperatures in the ocean have contributed to this pathogen’s worldwide dissemination,” said Dr. Kim Orth, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, published today in the online journal eLife.

About a dozen Vibrio species cause infection in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus is one of the three most common culprits. Vibrio infections cause an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States every year.

The study found that two proteins made by Vibrio parahaemolyticus work together to detect and capture bile salts in the intestines of people who eat raw or undercooked seafood containing the bacteria.

“When a person eats, acids in the stomach help break down the meal, and bile salts in the intestine aid in the solubilization of fatty food. When humans eat raw or undercooked shellfish contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the bacteria use those same bile salts as a signal to release toxins,” said Dr. Orth, also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), holder of the Earl A. Forsythe Chair in Biomedical Science, and a W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research. Dr. Orth studies the strategies that bacterial pathogens use to outsmart their host cells.

Evidence is increasing that several bacterial pathogens that cause gastrointestinal illness, including the extremely toxic Vibrio cholerae, sense bile salts. But until now, the mechanism that those pathogens use for doing this has remained unknown, Dr. Orth said. In previous studies, only one bacterial gene had been implicated in receiving and transmitting the gut-sensing signal, Dr. Orth said.

“We discovered that not one, but two genes are required for Vibrio to receive the bile salt signal. These genes encode two proteins that form a complex on the surface of the bacterial membrane. Using X-ray crystallography, we found that these proteins create a barrel-like structure that binds bile salts and receives the signal to tell the bacterial cell to start making toxins,” she said.

Future experiments will aim to understand how binding of bile salt by this protein complex induces the release of toxins.

“Ultimately, we want to understand how other pathogenic bacteria sense environmental cues to produce toxins. With this knowledge, we might be able to design pharmaceuticals that could prevent toxin production, and ultimately avoid the damaging effects of infections,” she said.

The receptor pair could possibly act as a model to discover sensors in other bacteria where pharmaceuticals might be more applicable, Dr. Orth said, adding “we are in the early stages of this research.”

Co-lead authors were graduate student Peng Li and research scientist Dr. Giomar Rivera-Cancel, both in Molecular Biology. Other contributing authors included Dr. Lisa Kinch, an HHMI bioinformatics specialist; Dr. Dor Salomon, postdoctoral researcher; Dr. Diana Tomchick, Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry and Director of the Structural Biology Core Facility; and Dr. Nick Grishin, Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry, an HHMI Investigator, and a Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Biomedical Research.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the HHMI.

And finally, bacterial infections from various organisms including Vibrio sp. pose a serious hazard to humans in many forms from clinical infection to affecting the yield of agriculture and aquaculture via infection of livestock. Vibrio sp. is one of the main foodborne pathogens causing human infection and is also a common cause of losses in the aquaculture industry. Prophylactic and therapeutic usage of antibiotics has become the mainstay of managing this problem, however this in turn led to the emergence of multidrug resistant strains of bacteria in the environment; which has raised awareness of the critical need for alternative non antibiotic based methods of preventing and treating bacterial infections. Bacteriophages – viruses that infect and result in the death of bacteria – are currently of great interest as a highly viable alternative to antibiotics. This article provides an insight into bacteriophage application in controlling Vibrio species as well underlining the advantages and drawbacks of phage therapy.

Insights into bacteriophage application in controlling Vibrio species

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01114

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmicb.2016.01114/abstract

Vengadesh Letchumanan,  Kok Gan Chan,  Priyia Pusparajah,  Surasak Saokaew,  Acharaporn Duangjai,  Bey Hing Goh,  Nurul-Syakima Ab Mutalib and  Learn-Han Lee

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Oysters at Wimbledon edition

Oysters are no longer being served at Wimbledon after a bout of food poisoning at a luxury hospitality tent chefed by the Roux family.

novak djokovic-cropped_1e5jl4dpdlhai17s03p0ksxskiAccording to the Daily Mail, the Gatsby Club’s exclusive clientele pay up to £5,000 for corporate packages which include a champagne reception and a three-course meal prepared by Britain’ s first celebrity chef, Albert Roux, 80.

And with such steep prices, guests are also offered a complimentary bar and oysters upon arrival.

But customers may no longer be getting their money’s worth after organisers were forced to suspend serving the delicacy when a number of guests reported falling sick.

One customer, who did not want to be named, said he was warned about the bout of sickness after dining there this week.

He said: ‘A friend of mine who is a steward rang me up to find out if we were okay.

‘He said over 100 people had been poisoned and they reckoned it was the oysters.

‘We ate at the Gatsby Club last year and it was excellent, but people need to know if they’re spending this much money.’

A Wimbledon spokesperson would not confirm the exact number of people that were effected but said it was ‘less than half’ of 100.

WGS, Vibrio and traceback in oysters

In the summer of 2010, Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak in Maryland linked to the consumption of oysters. Strains isolated from both stool and oyster samples were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). However, the oysters contained other potentially pathogenic V. parahaemolyticusstrains exhibiting different PFGE patterns.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish.  (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun)   [PNG Merlin Archive]

In order to assess the identity, genetic makeup, relatedness, and potential pathogenicity of the V. parahaemolyticusstrains, we sequenced 11 such strains (2 clinical strains and 9 oyster strains). We analyzed these genomes by in silico multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and determined their phylogeny using a whole-genome MLST (wgMLST) analysis. Ourin silico MLST analysis identified six different sequence types (STs) (ST8, ST676, ST810, ST811, ST34, and ST768), with both of the clinical and four of the oyster strains being identified as belonging to ST8.

Using wgMLST, we showed that the ST8 strains from clinical and oyster samples were nearly indistinguishable and belonged to the same outbreak, confirming that local oysters were the source of the infections. The remaining oyster strains were genetically diverse, differing in >3,000 loci from the Maryland ST8 strains. eBURST analysis comparing these strains with strains of other STs available at the V. parahaemolyticus MLST website showed that the Maryland ST8 strains belonged to a clonal complex endemic to Asia. This indicates that the ST8 isolates from clinical and oyster sources were likely not endemic to Maryland. Finally, this study demonstrates the utility of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and associated analyses for source-tracking investigations.

A nonautochthonous U.S. strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolated from Chesapeake Bay oysters caused the outbreak in Maryland in 2010

Appl. Environ. Microbiol. June 2016 vol. 82 no. 11 3208-3216

Julie Haendiges, Jessica Jones, Robert A. Myers, Clifford S. Mitchell, Erin Butler, Magaly Toro and Narjol Gonzalez-Escalona

http://aem.asm.org/content/82/11/3208.abstract?etoc

Vibrio, from raw oysters, and cirrhosis aren’t a good combination

Vibrio is one of the nastier foodborne pathogens, one of the reasons why I don’t go near raw oysters (the other being that I just don’t like them).

It’s particularly a problem with folks with existing liver problems.

Nazir and colleagues provide an example in the British Medical Journal.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish. (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]

We present a case of a 40-year-old man with decompensated alcoholic liver cirrhosis presenting with atraumatic cellulitis of one extremity and severe sepsis that rapidly progressed to compartment syndrome despite broad-spectrum antibiotics. Local cultures following debridement revealed Vibrio vulnificus, and subsequent history revealed consumption of raw oysters 48 h before presentation. Our case points out the unique susceptibility of those with cirrhosis and elevated iron saturation to Vibrio septicaemia, as well as the rapidity and severity of the disease progression.

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Hong Kong edition: 6 sick with noro from raw oysters

The Excelsior has taken oysters off the menu due to several diners falling sick at the luxury hotel’s rooftop restaurant last week.

The Centre for Food Safety is investigating after at least six diners who ate imported Penn Cove oysters at the Causeway Bay hotel’s Tott’s and Roof Terrace restaurant on February 23 showed symptoms of food poisoning.

The CFS has also banned the import and sale of raw oysters from the same area.

A spokesman said the CFS had linked a case of food poisoning to the consumption of raw oysters.

“The stool specimen of one of the affected persons tested positive for norovirus upon laboratory testing,” the statement said.

“For the sake of prudence, the CFS has immediately banned the import into and sale within Hong Kong of all raw oysters harvested from the area,” it added.

The ban will affect Tott’s and Roof Terrace and one other restaurant that obtained the same rogue oysters. According to food safety inspectors, no remaining stock from the affected batch was found on their premises.

A spokeswoman for the Excelsior said: “As soon as we knew of these cases, we stopped all the supply of oysters throughout the hotel.

“We will ensure we maintain our due diligence and, keeping the high standards of our food supplies, maintain very high hygiene standards. We’ll continue to select the best possible suppliers.”

Uh-huh.

17 sick: Norovirus linked to Oregon oysters

I don’t eat raw oysters.

State and local public health officials are investigating an outbreak of norovirus that sickened 17 people who ate oysters from Yaquina Bay earlier this month.

Raw oystersAll 17 people, who were among three separate groups totaling 32 people who ate at restaurants throughout Lincoln County, have recovered. One person had been hospitalized. Those who fell ill reported having eaten the oysters between Feb. 12 and Feb. 14.

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division, Lincoln County Health & Human Services and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, teamed up on the investigation.

Oregon Oyster Farms Inc., of Newport says it sold the oysters to restaurants and retail stores in Oregon, to wholesalers in New York and Massachusetts, and at its on-site store. The company has issued a voluntary recall of raw, ready-to-eat shucked oysters sold in half-gallons, one-pint plastic tubs and 10-ounce plastic jars, with sell-by dates of Feb. 19 through March 8. It also is recalling product sold in mesh bags containing five dozen in-shell oysters with harvest dates of Feb. 5 through Feb. 15.

Consumers who have purchased those products from Oregon Oyster Farms Inc., are urged to discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 541-265-5078.

Public health officials are working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to determine the exact source of the contamination, including investigating whether the contamination was more likely to have occurred in the oyster beds or at some point after harvesting, said Emilio DeBess, DVM, state public health veterinarian with the Public Health Division’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section.

One unopened jug of oysters collected from a restaurant tested positive for the same strain of norovirus found in stool samples from three ill persons.

DeBess said that although consuming raw oysters is popular, there is a risk involved.

Over 100 sick from French oysters: Norovirus outbreak in Denmark and Sweden

I don’t eat raw oysters, I don’t eat much of raw anything.

french.guard.monty.pythonNorovirus in oysters from France has sickened more than 100 people in Denmark and Sweden.

Livsmedelsverket (The National Food Agency, Sweden) said there was a number of different outbreak clusters in early February in which a total of 70 people were suspected to be ill.

Fødevarestyrelsen (The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration) said there had many different notifications, some from restaurants, in which around 60 people has been sickened.

Both countries posted notifications via the RASFF portal.

A spokesman from Livsmedelsverket said there was a link to one wholesaler in Sweden which has received two batches of oysters from a company in France

More oyster woes: Frozen raw oysters recalled due to norovirus

According to MauiNow, 11 cases of norovirus have been linked to raw oyster consumption in Maui since September. And now some frozen raw oysters from Korea are being recalled.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health has issued a recall notice for frozen, raw oysters imported from Korea and sold in bulk to distributors and food establishments in Hawaiʻi.http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-plate-oysters-image2256260

The individually quick frozen raw oysters on the half shell are packaged under the Dai One Food Company label.

Health officials say the shellfish harvest dates are Feb. 10, 11, 12, and 13, 2015 and are listed on the required shellfish identification tags for all bulk shellfish cases.

The department has already conducted product trace-backs and embargoed all of the suspect product on Nov. 24 at various local shellfish distributors and restaurants,” said Peter Oshiro, “Although this product is not sold directly to the public, a recall has been issued as an additional safeguard to further notify anyone who may possess the product that it is unsafe and should be destroyed.”

Raw oyster-linked hep causes student to drop out of high school — 70 years ago

Like Almost Famous, it’s a coming of age story. One of challenges, persistence, legacy.

And hepatitis A.

According to HNGN, 89 year old Betty Reilly received a bachelor’s degree this week after having her academic career derailed by hepatitis A 70 years ago.http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-plate-oysters-image2256260

Reilly had to drop out of high school close to graduation when she became ill with Hepatitis A after eating raw oysters in Times Square as a teen. The year it took for her to recover from the debilitating illness squashed her dreams of not only getting that high school diploma, but also her college dreams.

So she went to work, met her husband and raised a family, like most people. It wasn’t until she applied for a job at a library in Sunrise, Fla. that this then 78-year-old self-processed bookworm realized her lack of degreed education can come back to hurt her. The librarian told Reilly at the time that she needed a high school diploma to work there.

So off went Betty Reilly to get an education, at the ripe old age of 78, according to the Jackson County Floridian.

College was not in her future, though, as Reilly had limited funds and no vehicle. However, she was advised to look into the Federal Pell Grant system, which took care of most of Reilly’s tuition, books and fees, and she took the public transportation’s hour-long bus to Broward Community College in Davie, Fla. to receive her Associate’s Degree.

According to a 1995 paper by Joseph Melnick in the Journal of Infectious Diseases goes through the history of hepatitis A virus; it wasn’t differentiated from other jaundice–causing illnesses until 1945, a little after when Reilly was in high school.

It’s vulnificus, dumbass: Florida reports most Vibrio cases in years

I did an almost one-hour radio interview this morning, and I messed up: I had a brain cramp and couldn’t remember the species of Vibrio that can cause problems, especially in raw oysters.

BC.oystersBut then I saw this story and was reminded that the number of Vibrio vulnificus cases reported in Florida in 2015 to date is the highest seen in the state in years, according to Florida Department of Health data. The 2015 tally, which has reached 42, is higher than any year from 2008 to 2014 (data available on DOH website).

Prior to this year, the high was reported in 2013 with 41 cases. Vulnificus cases have been reported in 25 counties with Hillsborough (5), Duval (4), Bay (3) and Polk (3) counties seeing the most.

In addition, the Vibrio death toll in Florida has reached 13, the most since 2011. Deaths have been reported from the following counties: Brevard (2), Duval (2), Escambia (1), Hillsborough (3), Lake (1), Marion (1), Pinellas (1), Polk (1) and Sarasota (1).

Vibrio vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to warm seawater containing the bacteria. Ingestion of Vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.

Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however, Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease.