8 sick: Suspected outbreak of cryptosporidium hits thousands of homes in Ireland

Almost 6,500 homes in Westport have been placed on a boil water notice after a suspected outbreak of cryptosporidium.

crypto_enlargedThe precautionary notice was issued by Irish Water to a large number of customers in the town and to those on nearby group water schemes this evening.

It will affect thousands of homes and businesses in the busy tourist town.

Irish Water says the HSE has issued the precautionary boil notice, after eight people in the Westport area reported symptoms of crytosporidium.

They say no crytosporidium had been detected in ongoing water samples, however, as a precaution they are urging customers to boil water before using it for drinking, preparing food and baby food or brushing teeth.

Beaver fever: Giardiasis surveillance, US 2011–2012

Problem/Condition: Giardiasis is a nationally notifiable gastrointestinal illness caused by the protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis.

Reporting Period: 2011–2012.

beaver.feverDescription of System: Forty-four states, the District of Columbia, New York City, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Guam voluntarily reported cases of giardiasis to CDC through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).

Results: For 2011, a total of 16,868 giardiasis cases (98.8% confirmed and 1.2% nonconfirmed) were reported; for 2012, a total of 15,223 cases (98.8% confirmed and 1.3% nonconfirmed) were reported. In 2011 and 2012, 1.5% and 1.3% of cases, respectively, were associated with a detected outbreak. The incidence rates of all reported cases were 6.4 per 100,000 population in 2011 and 5.8 per 100,000 population in 2012. This represents a slight decline from the relatively steady rates observed during 2005–2010 (range: 7.1–7.9 cases per 100,000 population). In both 2011 and 2012, cases were most frequently reported in children aged 1–4 years, followed by those aged 5–9 years and adults aged 45–49 years. Incidence of giardiasis was highest in Northwest states. Peak onset of illness occurred annually during early summer through early fall.

Interpretation: For the first time since 2002, giardiasis rates appear to be decreasing. Possible reasons for the decrease in rates during 2011–2012 could include changes in transmission patterns, a recent change in surveillance case definition, increased uptake of strategies to reduce waterborne transmission, or a combination of these factors. Transmission of giardiasis occurs throughout the United States, with more frequent diagnosis or reporting occurring in northern states. Geographical differences might suggest actual regional differences in giardiasis transmission or variation in surveillance capacity across states. Six states did not report giardiasis cases in 2011–2012, representing the largest number of nonreporting states since giardiasis became nationally notifiable in 2002. Giardiasis is reported more frequently in young children, which might reflect increased contact with contaminated water or ill persons, or a lack of immunity.

Public Health Action: Educational efforts to decrease exposure to unsafe drinking and recreational water and prevent person-to-person transmission have the potential to reduce giardiasis transmission. The continual decrease in jurisdictions opting to report giardiasis cases could negatively impact the ability to interpret national surveillance data; thus, further investigation is needed to identify barriers to and facilitators of giardiasis case reporting. Existing state and local public health infrastructure supported through CDC (e.g., Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity grants and CDC-sponsored Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Applied Epidemiology Fellows) could provide resources to enhance understanding of giardiasis epidemiology.

Street food vendors in Hyderabad, India have some food safety issues

I’m a food truck kind of guy, but I prefer to eat from places that have to follow the basic rules of sanitation. In North Carolina mobile food vendors have to be linked up with a physical kitchen (for cooling and prepping food) and even then they are inspected. Keeping food safe in a truck can be done, but it takes vigilance and a sense of hazard identification.

And not using water from a toilet.1680787-poster-1280-water-reuse-graphic

Like what the Times of India reported about some street food vendors in Hyderabad, India.

Every sixth Hyderabadi taking street food is falling sick from food-borne infections (whoa, I’d like to see the data -ben), says a study that directly observed the hygienic practices followed by 500 food vendors and small restaurants in different parts of the city. 

The most common ailments reported by denizens after eating street food or ‘stale’ food served by some established restaurants are diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, reveals a study released to mark the ‘food safety’ theme on World Health Day. 

And here’s why: The majority of street food vendors (423 out of 500 surveyed) were found drawing untreated water for cooking from nearby apartments, while only seven were using protective head cover. None were using protective gloves and almost all used nearby shops to dump their raw material overnight. 

“Our team, which also communicated with customers, came across around 50 vendors with tobacco addiction, leaving the remnants of the ash on the food being served,” said Dr K Suresh, president of Osmania Medical College Doctors’ Forum, who led the study. 

Worse, 15 out of 500 vendors were found drawing water for cooking from toilets of nearby apartments, while almost all were found to skip hand washing after a visit to the toilet or lavatory. This is what the 30-member team of MBBS undergraduates led by Dr Suresh found after analyzing data gathered from street- vendors from December-2014 to February-2015.

Cryptosporidium: 22 years since Milwaukee outbreak killed 69 sickened 400K

Twenty-two years ago this month, residents of Milwaukee started falling ill with nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. At first, a highly contagious intestinal virus was blamed. But as symptoms struck tens of thousands of people – closing schools and businesses and nearly bringing the city to a standstill – health officials discovered the culprit: a tiny, pink-colored parasite.

crypto cystCryptosporidium, also known as crypto, had made its way through Milwaukee’s water treatment plant and into the city taps. Sickening more than 400,000 people and killing 69, it remains the largest waterborne outbreak in U.S. history. Since then, utilities nationwide have made improvements in water treatment and monitoring.

Public water technology to prevent crypto may have improved, but not the drugs to treat it, said Washington State University researcher Jennifer Zambriski of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health based in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Once the organism infects the small intestines, its onslaught on the body is just as toxic as it was 22 years ago, she said.

“Crypto is hardy and doesn’t die easily. When someone contracts it, there’s simply no drug to make it go away,” said Zambriski, whose research focuses on finding ways to disrupt the parasite’s pathway through the digestive tract – before it gains a stranglehold on its host.

Which is a big deal, because the parasite still lurks – in ponds, streams, day care centers and swimming pools. In developing countries like Kenya and industrial ones like the United States, it continues to make waves.

Cryptosporidiosis, the disease it causes, is one of the most frequently occurring waterborne diseases among humans in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in Asia and Africa, the parasite is a leading cause of diarrheal disease and death among infants. (See Lancet study, 2013: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673613608442).

These soft-pink colored pathogenic foes, appearing “almost cute” under a microscope, according to Zambriski, live in the intestines of infected humans and certain animals and are shed in the stool. Once outside the body, a tough outer shell allows them to survive in dirt, water and food for 18 months or longer.

“Bleach, chlorine, freezing backwater streams and water purifying tablets – they can’t kill crypto,” she said.

Whether through contaminated water or an infected person’s unclean hands, the parasites are easily transmitted to humans.

“Ingesting just a small amount can deliver a severe spell of diarrhea to those who are healthy and a grave illness and even death to infants or people with weakened immune systems,” Zambriski said.

Winnipeg water system investigated following January boil water advisory

Pathogens being pumped throughout a city into cups, food and showers make water system outbreaks scary in scope and outcome. In 1993 an estimated 400,000+ people in Milwaukee had cryptosporidiosis after oocysts made it through the city’s water treatment filtration system. In 2000, seven deaths and 2,300 illnesses were linked to a negligently-managed water system in Walkerton, Ontario (that’s in Canada).Price of Water Set To Rise

Winnipeg, Manitoba (that’s also in Canada) had a boil water advisory for a couple of days last month that was blamed on a set of samples that falsely showed the water was positive for E. coli. Canadian food micro guru Rick Holley said a couple of weeks ago questioned the water folk’s explanation saying,

“I still had concerns at that time and still do that the false positives might not be scientifically discredited,” said Holley. “It’s all too easy to continue testing until you get the results you want and any results you don’t want you discard as being false. That’s inappropriate.”

Holley said the only way to be sure Winnipeg water is safe is to understand what caused the positive results earlier this week.

“Why were those six samples positive? There has to be a reason why and that has to be established,” said Holley.

According to Global News, it sounds like the Manitoba Government agrees with Rick.

The Manitoba government has ordered an investigation into the susceptibility of Winnipeg’s drinking water after a false E. coli result prompted a boil-water advisory last month for the capital’s 700,000 residents.

City staff say they are confident the water system was not contaminated with bacteria, but the waste and water director says the province has ordered a further assessment.

“It’s a vulnerability assessment,” Diane Sacher told a city council committee Wednesday. “It’s to look at whether our system is vulnerable to possible contamination.”

The report is due at the end of April, Sacher said. The city is also waiting on an independent audit of how water samples are taken and analyzed so as to be sure last month’s results were due to a lab or sampling error.

The province has also amended the city’s licence so water samples are no longer all collected on the same day, but rather spread over a week, she added. It has also requested the city come up with a better plan to notify potentially vulnerable people rather than relying on the media.

69 sick: Water supply causes mass hepatitis A infection in Russia

Water supply companies in Russia’s republic of Dagestan are facing a criminal investigation after 69 people became infected with Hepatitis A from drinking water.

dangerous_face_waterAn online statement posted Thursday by Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said that cases were recorded in three different places in the North Caucasus republic: the towns of Derbent and Dagestanskiye Ogni and the village of Gedzhukh. Fifty-eight of those infected were children.

The victims all complained of feeling generally ill and noticing a yellow tint to the skin, the RGVK Dagestan television channel reported.

Laboratory testing indicated that the local water supply was to blame for the outbreak, according to the statement, noting that all the victims received their drinking water from the same water main.

Poop-in-water made me sick says CSIRO employee; nope says Tribunal

A CSIRO spin doctor who says she contracted a virus after drinking water contaminated with feces at a conference has lost her bid for compensation.

water.jug.feb.15The Administrative Appeals Tribunal found federal workplace insurer Comcare had no liability for her ill-health as it could not be certain the type of virus, where it had been contracted, or if it could cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

Sasha Hardcastle reported flu-like symptoms on the third day of the 2012 conference and was rushed to hospital a week later with chest pain.

Mrs Hardcastle saw a number of doctors when her health did not improve over the following months, and was diagnosed with post viral fatigue and CFS.

She claimed that she had contracted Coxsackie B virus at the conference after she drank water contaminated with feces due to the jug being filled from the hand basin in the ladies’ toilets.

The communications manager took her case to the tribunal after Comcare rejected her compensation claim.

There is no dispute Ms Hardcastle suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome.

simpsons.aust.toiletsBut Comcare did not accept that the illness had been caused by her employment or that she contracted Coxsackie B virus at the conference.

Medical experts agreed that the chances of catching Coxsackie B virus from a jug filled from the tap in a hand basin located in a toilet facility were so low that they would both be comfortable drinking the water.

Bill Gates and Jimmy Fallon face off in a poop water taste test on ‘The Tonight Show’

On a recent episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, host Jimmy Fallon was challenged to a poop water taste test by philanthropist Bill Gates. In a scene reminiscent of The Princess Bride, Gates presented Fallon with two glasses of water, one containing bottled water, and the other containing water processed from sewage by the Janicki Omniprocessor.

As we’ve written previously, the Janicki Omniprocessor was developed as a way to cheaply and cleanly process sewage in developing nations while also providing power and clean drinking water. Earlier this year, a video released by Gates featured a demonstration of the Janicki Omniprocessor which included Gates sampling the water.

Lagos vs. Wisconsin: E. coli in dinking water and stools

Since early detection of pathogens and their virulence factors contribute to intervention and control strategies, we assessed the enteropathogens in diarrhea disease and investigated the link between toxigenic strains of Escherichia coli from stool and drinking-water sources; and determined the expression of toxin genes by antibiotic-resistant E. coli in Lagos, Nigeria. This was compared with isolates from diarrhoeal stool and water from Wisconsin, USA.

 lagos.waterThe new Luminex xTAG GPP (Gastroplex) technique and conventional real-time PCR were used to profile enteric pathogens and E. coli toxin gene isolates, respectively. Results showed the pathogen profile of stool and indicated a relationship between E. coli toxin genes in water and stool from Lagos which was absent in Wisconsin isolates.

The Gastroplex technique was efficient for multiple enteric pathogens and toxin gene detection. The co-existence of antibiotic resistance with enteroinvasive E. coli toxin genes suggests an additional prognostic burden on patients.

Preponderance of toxigenic Escherichia coli in stool pathogens correlates with toxin detection in accessible drinking-water sources

Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 143 / Issue 03 / February 2015, pp 494-504

H. Igbokwe, S. Bhattacharyya, S. Gradus, M. Khubbar, D. Grisowld, J. Navidad, C. Igwilo, D. Masson-Meyers and A.A. Azenabor

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9527892&utm_source=Issue_Alert&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=HYG&utm_reader=feedly

7 sickened with E. coli and Campy from manure-in-wells in Wisconsin

A young family visiting Door County for a weekend in mid-September were the subject of a public health investigation when they returned to their Calumet County home and their four-month-old daughter came down with an illness that was identified as E. coli bacteria from a bovine source.

Garden_Decoration__Well_“The department of health got involved. They asked me where I was. That was several phone calls, to try to narrow it down,” said the infant’s mother (she asked that we not use their names).

It turns out the family had stayed that weekend at a West Jacksonport home now identified as in the area of concern for well contamination after a Sept. 8 manure spreading session that included spreading into a sinkhole. This was the Monday after torrential rains wreaked havoc and saturated the landscape.
“I used well water to make her bottles,” she said. “No odor or color to the water. There was no sign.”

And there was no sign in the baby that she was ill until the family returned to their Calumet County home. Then she started exhibiting signs of food poisoning and was brought in for a medical examination, where it was determined that she was infected with E. coli.

“The department of health nurse said since the E. coli was combined with a campylobacter bacteria, that’s really indicative of a bovine source. They were able to track it to the source based on the type of bacteria in the water.”

The mother said she does not understand why manure spreading is not more regulated.

“Especially with the fractured bedrock and shallow soil. It doesn’t take much for it to get in the groundwater.”

Reporting on the West Jacksonport well contamination at the Nov. 10 meeting of the Door County Board of Health, Door County Health Officer Rhonda Kolberg said drinking manure-contaminated well water in the area of concern after Sept. 8 sickened a total of seven people.

“They were spreading as they normally would. They spread into a sinkhole, which they should not have done,” Kolberg said. “We found out about it because the people with the affected well called DNR, and their water was brown and foamy.”

Mark Borchardt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist who helped track down the 2007 source of contamination at The Log Den when 211 customers and 18 employees were struck with gastro-intestinal illness from norovirus at the recently opened restaurant (the outbreak was eventually traced to the restaurant’s new septic system), did the viral testing of the West Jacksonport wells.

“He was trying to find a correlation between manure and the water,” Kolberg said. “He did determine it was bovine contamination.”