Posts

February 16, 2015

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11:31 AM | Welcome Lisa!
We're very pleased to welcome Professor Lisa Moore from the University of Southern Maine, who is visiting us on sabbatical for four months. Lisa's visit is supported by a prestigious Endeavour Foundation Fellowship. Lisa is an expert on the physiology of Prochlorococcus, a photosynthetic marine cyanobacterium that is one of the key primary producers underlying the entire marine food web.Fun fact- there are an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Prochlorococcus cells in the world's […]
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6:33 AM | Noncoding DNA and Bacterial Evolution
by S. Marvin Friedman | The rapid pace of bacterial evolution is thought to result from the ease with which these organisms acquire new genetic information. What is the source of the genetic variation behind these bits of razzle-dazzle? The primary basis of bacterial phenotypic plasticity has long been considered to be changes in gene content resulting from horizontal gene transfer (HGT) as well as...
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1:22 AM | The cost of an outbreak: hepatitis A edition
The folks who run food safety at big companies often talk about the challenges they face when it comes to asking for resources. It’s all about return on investment. I don’t know much about ROI, an 18% drop in stock isn’t good. According to … Continue reading →
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1:14 AM | Going public: Is this why companies incorporate in Conn? Food safety info, public in the dark
Rob Cribb of the Toronto Star points out failings in transparency at Health Canada, and repeats a phrase I’ve often used, that there is no way the U.S would tolerate the amount of public service hidings that go on in … Continue reading →

February 15, 2015

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10:08 PM | Duck blood? Major eateries in Taiwan using stuff with biotoxins
The Taichung Health Bureau yesterday stated that an investigation into several manufacturers of duck blood confirmed to be contaminated with metallic biotoxins indicated that major chain restaurants such as Tripod King, Wulao and Spicy Fans are supplied by these manufacturers. … Continue reading →
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9:48 PM | Food safety systems in India challenged by hygiene related problems
Indian food safety systems are challenged by the rapidly growing population, hygiene related problems, incidences of residues of antibiotics and heavy metals, foodborne pathogens, incidence of infectious diseases in food producing animals and anti- microbial resistance. These observations were made … Continue reading →
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9:40 PM | Diarrhea downs 200 at export processing firm in Philippines
Diarrhea downed 200 employees of an export processing company in Danao City on Thursday, with investigators looking at contaminated food or water as among the possible causes. Of the 200 affected employees of Mitsumi, two were confined at the Danao … Continue reading →
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9:00 PM | Popular Calif. deli dealing with aftermath of Salmonella cases
As of Feb. 3, Brent’s Deli on Townsgate Road had a clean bill of health, having passed a Ventura County Environmental Health Department inspection with no violations noted. “First and foremost, it is completely safe to dine at Brent’s Deli,” … Continue reading →
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8:23 PM | 7 dead, 28 sick including a ‘fetal loss’ Listeria in apples, who knew?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports, this outbreak appears to be over. However, recalled products may still be in people’s homes. Consumers unaware of the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick. On January 6, … Continue reading →
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8:10 PM | Don’t worry, exports won’t be harmed: Another mad cow case in Canada
Gotta wonder just how effective Canada’s ban on mammalian protein in ruminant feed is, given the number of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) cases there have been over the past decade. When there’s a BSE case, or a foodborne illness outbreak … Continue reading →
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7:45 PM | Happy Microbial Valentines Day---In Words of Living Light!
Well, time is flying, yet again!  I am beginning to get a better handle on my time, but still feel like I am swimming upstream.But blog posts are not going to happen unless I...um...write and post them.  There is a great deal that is going on for me professionally that I hope to announce soon, but in the meantime, here is a short post.Valentines Day is fun for many people.  I certainly have enjoyed it a great deal over the years.  So why not mix it up with microbiology?Most […]
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4:18 PM | TWiV 324: Viruses in the miR may appear more numerous
On episode #324 of the science show This Week in Virology, Lee joins the TWiV team to discuss the value of post-doctoral training, and how a cellular microRNA assists in the replication of hepatitis C virus. You can find TWiV #324 at www.twiv.tv.
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3:35 PM | Overselling the microbiome award: CBC Fresh Air & JA Tetro on kissing microbiomes
Well, so there I was, enjoying a relatively peaceful and quiet Valnetine's day.  When I noticed a Tweet directed to me from one of my favorite scientist's out there@phylogenomics Please help stop this "bacteria determine who we like" and "Germs Relational Expert"BS. https://t.co/70yDKM5Gf9— Elisabeth Bik (@MicrobiomDigest) February 14, 2015So I decided to check it out.  I clicked on the link and got to a CBC Fresh Air news story on Soundcloud:▶ Kissing and romance and […]
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2:49 PM | Saudi MOH: 3 Additional MERS Cases
    # 9716   Saudi Arabia reports 3 more MERS cases today, bringing their 5 day total to 29.    One case from Riyadh appears to be community acquired, while two cases from Bureedah appear to be nosocomial. While I don’t find any recent cases reported from Bureedah, it is possible one of the recent Riyadh cases was a transfer from there.     Hopefully the next WHO report will sort it out for us.   Since this recent uptick […]
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2:12 PM | Philippines: 10 MERS Contacts Negative – 1 HCW Under Investigation
    # 9715   As expected on Friday (see Philippines: 11 Contacts Of MERS Case Symptomatic, Undergoing Tests) most of the close contacts of the MERS infected Filipino nurse recently returned from Saudi Arabia have tested negative for the virus, although they will be required to stay under home quarantine with daily monitoring for another nine days.   One contact – a HCW at the hospital where the index patient was admitted – is showing symptoms and has […]
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1:06 PM | Approximate H5N1 Case Counts & A New Egyptian MOH Statement
  # 9714   Despite media reports that continue to announce new H5N1 cases (suspected & confirmed) almost daily across Egypt, their Ministry of Health has only posted a couple of brief statements on their website over the past two weeks, where they mention only a handful of cases.    If things weren’t confusing enough, these infrequent statements are undated and have occasionally appeared out of chronological order in the long list of announcements on the […]
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2:23 AM | Oldest person in Europe attributes three raw eggs a day to longevity
We all go, some later than others. I can’t imagine living to 115, or eating three raw eggs a day, but according to a New York Times profile of Emma Morano, she believes her age and egg diet are linked.   At 115 … Continue reading →
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1:49 AM | More cases expected in Australian frozen berry hepatitis A outbreak
Berries are a staple of my diet; I go through about 2 lbs a week of raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. When the fresh berries are too expensive (or don’t look good) I substitute with frozen ones – and often cook them before eating … Continue reading →

February 14, 2015

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9:15 PM | I prefer the 4 Rs for risk comm: Rapid reliable relevant repeated; big data in food safety and quality
What is big data? No matter what definition is used, the term “big data” is most simply and best described by the sheer volume of data involved, which can offer the opportunity for increased insight and better decision-making that could … Continue reading →
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8:21 PM | Modeling Listeria in leafy greens using micro and big data
I’m not sure what big data means, but it’s a catchy soundbite that is showing up more routinely. Prof. Martin Wiedmann, food science and technology, has combined the fields of microbiology and big data to better predict disease outbreaks and … Continue reading →
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8:06 PM | Residents spot rodents in restaurant at mall in Dubai
Everyone’s got a video camera these days, and they like to use them. Pictures have emerged of rodents running loose in a restaurant located right outside a popular mall in Dubai. Passersby have clicked pictures of rats running on food … Continue reading →
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8:00 PM | NZ woman fined $1125 over home-kill meat
A Whangarei bakery manager has been fined after being convicted of buying unregulated home-kill meat she intended to use in produce sold across the counter. In Whangarei District Court on Monday Sok Heng Chhiv, 30, pleaded guilty to a charge … Continue reading →
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5:53 PM | Saudi MOH Reports 6 New MERS Cases
# 9713   Saudi Arabia’s surge in MERS cases continues for the fourth straight day, with six additional cases reported, bringing the 4-day total to 26.  Two deaths (one from today’s group) and one recovery were also announced.   As we’ve seen the past few days, cases are widely scattered across the Kingdom, with four cities contributing to the 6 cases today; Khobar, Buraydah, Alras, and Najran.  Today’s case from Khobar is listed as a […]
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2:29 PM | Oregon Quarantines Another Backyard Flock Over HPAI
Major Global Migratory Flyways – Credit FAO   # 9712   Although they are but skirmishes at this point, the USDA, APHIS, and state and local agriculture officials – along with the poultry industry – continue to battle the recent importation (via migratory birds) of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the western United States.    First a statement on the latest find from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, after which I’ll be back […]
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1:34 PM | MERS: WHO Mission Invited To Saudi Arabia
2014 Spring MERS wave – Credit ECDC 11th Update   # 9711   A year ago - 18 months after the first known outbreak of MERS in a Jordanian hospital - the total number of cases worldwide was still under 190 (see VDU blog February 2014 Snapdate  chart below). By the following summer that number had more than quadrupled, and as we approach another spring `MERS season’, we are edging close to 1000 cases.    All have origins on the Arabian […]
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12:44 PM | Guangdong Notifies HK Of 1 New H7N9 Case
  # 9710     Although their Ministry of Health Website hasn’t updated with any cases since the 12th, Guangdong Province continues to notify Hong Kong’s CHP of new H7N9 cases, with their 53rd case of this 3rd wave announced today.   Other provinces are being far more circumspect in their reporting of cases, usually doing so only in batches -  every few weeks – instead of daily.   Meanwhile, the largest annual human migration on the […]
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9:42 AM | Organic garlic powder recalled because of Salmonella risk
Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc., a Lakewood, Colorado-based natural grocery chain, is recalling two lots of Natural Grocers brand Organic Garlic Powder as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Consumption of products containing Salmonella can … Continue reading →
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9:08 AM | Cluster of two cases of botulism due to Clostridium baratii type F in France, November 2014
The first two cases in France of botulism due to Clostridium baratii type F were identified in November 2014, in the same family. Both cases required prolonged respiratory assistance. One of the cases had extremely high toxin serum levels and … Continue reading →
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9:01 AM | 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. An online statement posted Thursday by Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said that cases were recorded in three different places in the North Caucasus republic: … Continue reading →
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8:55 AM | Infants and turtles don’t mix: Irish mom says ‘experience was torturous’
The mother of an 11-week-old baby who was left fighting for his life after contracting terrapin-related botulism said nobody knew what was happening at the time because “no one had seen anything like it.” Kris Edlund Gibson, the mother of … Continue reading →
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