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.

Beaches closed after 29 swimmers sickened with Norovirus, at Pennsylvania park

State officials have closed the beaches at a central Pennsylvania state park after at least 29 swimmers were sickened with Norovirus, and possibly E. coli bacteria in the water.

Cowans Gap State ParkThe lake and beach at Cowans Gap State Park have been closed to swimmers, though fishing and boating are still permitted. The park straddles the border of Franklin and Fulton counties and is located about 60 miles west of Harrisburg.

Animals poop in water: Georgia’s rural landscapes pose potential risk for Salmonella infection

Researchers from the University of Georgia have determined that various freshwater sources in Georgia, such as rivers and lakes, could feature levels of salmonella that pose a risk to humans. The study is featured in the July edition of PLOS One.

raccoon3Faculty and students from four colleges and five departments at UGA partnered with colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health to establish whether or not strains of salmonella exhibit geographic trends that might help to explain differences in rates of human infection.

“In this study, salmonella isolated from water and wildlife were collected over a period of 10 years from distinct rural areas in Georgia, both geographically–north versus south–and in terms of prevalence of salmonellosis in humans–lower versus higher. Because Georgia has some of the highest case rates for reported salmonella infections in the nation, this was an ideal area to begin to examine the ecology of salmonella,” said study co-author Erin Lipp, a professor of environmental health sciences in the UGA College of Public Health.

Salmonella infections are one of the top causes of gastrointestinal disease in the U.S., and while regulatory agencies have made progress in reducing foodborne transmission of the pathogen, other infection sources, including exposure to water, have not been as thoroughly examined.

To complete this research, the scholars collected samples from two different geographic regions of Georgia–the low-lying coastal plain and the piedmont, which is higher in elevation. Data was collected from six stations in the Little River watershed near Tifton, which has one of the highest case rates for salmonellosis in the state, and along the North Oconee River in Jackson County, a lower case rate area in Georgia. Water samples from all sites were gathered from December 2010 to November 2011. Samples from surrounding wildlife were also collected, and archived samples from these areas dating back to 2005 were also included.

Most significantly, the research team found that water sources could be an underestimated source of salmonella exposure to humans. Though the frequency that salmonella was found in north and south Georgia was similar, salmonella strains with DNA fingerprints matching those found in humans were more commonly found in south Georgia.

Specifically, rural areas of south Georgia had matches between the environment and humans at the 90 percent rate for salmonella Muenchen, a strain commonly associated with human cases. The researchers also found that wildlife, especially small mammals like raccoons and opossums frequenting these freshwater sources, could be carriers of the salmonella pathogen.

“Salmonella is a highly diverse and apparently well-adapted bacterium in the Southeastern U.S., and environmental exposures may be important in understanding and eventually mitigating risk from this agent,” Lipp said.

By studying how salmonella interacts with its environment, the UGA team hopes to gain a better understanding of how it can be controlled. They are interested in continuing their work on this issue by further examining the linkage between animals, humans and their shared environments to determine how the bacteria moves through various host organisms. The researchers also hope to explore the impact of different variables in salmonella’s physical environment, such as the role of climate and weather.

The study is available online at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0128937.

Crypto and giardia take $5 billion bite out of NYC

Two tiny organisms present a big problem for New York City’s water department: cryptosporidium and giardia.

crypto.waterThe city has spent $5 billion over the last five years combatting these organisms, which can cause fatal illnesses in the sick and elderly and gastrointestinal problems for those with healthy immune systems.

“In the city’s east-of-Hudson Croton watershed, where development has encroached on watershed land, federal regulators forced the city to filter the water; hence the $3 billion Croton filtration plant that recently opened,” City Limits reported.

The plant itself was a giant, politically fraught project.

86,000 sickened: Waterborne outbreaks in Nordic Countries, 1998 To 2012

Water.

We love it, take it for granted, and yet water can be the source of horrific outbreaks, like E. coli O157 in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada.

walkertonA total of 175 waterborne outbreaks affecting 85,995 individuals were notified to the national outbreak surveillance systems in Denmark, Finland and Norway from 1998 to 2012, and in Sweden from 1998 to 2011. Between 4 and 18 outbreaks were reported each year during this period.

Outbreaks occurred throughout the countries in all seasons, but were most common (n = 75/169, 44%) between June and August. Viruses belonging to the Caliciviridae family and Campylobacter were the pathogens most frequently involved, comprising n = 51 (41%) and n = 36 (29%) of all 123 outbreaks with known aetiology respectively.

Although only a few outbreaks were caused by parasites (Giardia and/or Cryptosporidium), they accounted for the largest outbreaks reported during the study period, affecting up to 53,000 persons. Most outbreaks, 124 (76%) of those with a known water source (n = 163) were linked to groundwater. A large proportion of the outbreaks (n = 130/170, 76%) affected a small number of people (less than 100 per outbreak) and were linked to single-household water supplies. However, in 11 (6%) of the outbreaks, more than 1,000 people became ill.

Although outbreaks of this size are rare, they highlight the need for increased awareness, particularly of parasites, correct water treatment regimens, and vigilant management and maintenance of the water supply and distribution systems.

Waterborne Outbreaks in the Nordic Countries, 1998 To 2012

Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 24, 18 June 2015

B Guzman-Herrador, A Carlander, S Ethelberg, B Freiesleben de Blasio, M Kuusi, V Lund6, M Löfdahl, E MacDonald, G Nichols, C Schönning, B Sudre, L Trönnberg, L Vold, J C Semenza, K Nygård

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=21160

Finland marketing: Please don’t go to the toilet in the water

And you thought Canadians were polite (we’re not, we swear a lot, fornicate and play hockey, what else to do in cold weather; sorta like Finland).

la-et-mn-russell-crowe-career-in-pictures-2015-045Finland’s health authorities have been issuing advice in an attempt to prevent the spread of Norovirus among swimmers this summer, following last year’s outbreak when hundreds of beachgoers caught the contagious vomiting bug.

Authorities are now keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s numerous beach closures.

Senior inspector Jaana Kilponen, from the health and safety executive Valvira, said that changing rooms and toilet facilities at bathing spots were also responsible for the spread.

“When you’ve got ideal swimming conditions, such as warm water and lots of people, then it’s important that authorities make sure the facilities are cleaned more frequently, and kept well stocked with soap and hand towels,” she told Yle.

Kilponen also implored swimmers to avoid being sick or going to the toilet in the water – and not to drink it. Anyone with Norovirus should wait two weeks before going swimming. Kilponen admits that in theory it’s possible that a single infected swimmer could contaminate the water.

Irrigation water and produce safety

Back before there was youtube, we started videoing my friend, Jeff Wilson, about farming stuff.

boog.powell.mesquite.cookingWe knew irrigation water was an issue, but it was one most didn’t want to talk about.

Researchers at Cornell have reported that environmental (i.e., meteorological and landscape) factors and management practices can affect the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in produce production environments.

This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria species (including L. monocytogenes), Salmonella, and Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in produce production environments and to identify environmental factors and management practices associated with their isolation.

Ten produce farms in New York State were sampled during a 6-week period in 2010, and 124 georeferenced samples (80 terrestrial, 33 water, and 11 fecal) were collected. L. monocytogenes, Listeria spp., Salmonella, and STEC were detected in 16, 44, 4, and 5% of terrestrial samples, 30, 58, 12, and 3% of water samples, and 45, 45, 27, and 9% of fecal samples, respectively. Environmental factors and management practices were evaluated for their association with terrestrial samples positive for L. monocytogenes or other Listeria species by univariate logistic regression; analysis was not conducted for Salmonella or STEC because the number of samples positive for these pathogens was low. Although univariate analysis identified associations between isolation of L. monocytogenes or Listeria spp. from terrestrial samples and various water-related factors (e.g., proximity to wetlands and precipitation), multivariate analysis revealed that only irrigation within 3 days of sample collection was significantly associated with isolation of L. monocytogenes (odds ratio = 39) and Listeria spp. (odds ratio = 5) from terrestrial samples.

These findings suggest that intervention at the irrigation level may reduce the risk of produce contamination.

Irrigation is significantly associated with an increased prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in produce production environments in New York State

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 6, June 2015, pp. 1064-1243, pp. 1132-1141(10), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-584

Weller, Daniel; Wiedmann, Martin; Strawn, Laura K.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2015/00000078/00000006/art00010

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.