Posts

July 11, 2014

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1:05 AM | Till receipts – a new approach for investigating outbreaks?
Selecting suitable controls for outbreak investigations is often difficult and if done inappropriately will lead to biased inferences. Till receipts and other sales records are frequently available on food premises, but their applicability has not been fully explored. Using data … Continue reading →
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12:52 AM | UK owner counts cost of cockroach-infested takeaway
A takeaway owner whose shop was shut down by food safety inspectors after they found rodent droppings and cockroaches there has been ordered to pay almost £2,000. Erdem Sert, who ran Seven Sisters Kebabs + Pizza, in Seven Sisters Road, … Continue reading →
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12:48 AM | Hotel guests get sick at Orlando Marriott
An outbreak of gastrointestinal upset that affected several dozen guests who attended a conference at the Orlando World Center Marriott is under investigation by the Orange County Health Department, officials said Thursday. The guests stayed at the hotel between June … Continue reading →
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12:42 AM | Child dies from digestive infection at French camp
An 8-year-old child died at a camp in Ariège from “acute intestinal infection,” probably due to the ingestion of non-potable water. The center has closed until further notice, pending the results of analyzes of food served at holiday center and … Continue reading →
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12:21 AM | Is Foster Farms a food safety pioneer or a persistent offender?
Dan Charles of NPR reports that Foster Farms, a chicken producer in California, just can’t seem to stop bleeding bad news. An outbreak of Salmonella linked to Foster Farms poultry has sickened at least 621 people in 29 states and … Continue reading →

July 10, 2014

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11:59 PM | Weekly Weinersmith is back!
Zach and I are making an effort to get The Weekly Weinersmith back off the ground on a fortnightly or monthly […]
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11:10 PM | Health Canada’s quiet move to end use of antibiotics to fatten up animals
A cow can get penicillin without a prescription in most parts of Canada, unlike humans who have to see their doctors first. Farmers can simply go down to the local farm supply store and buy tetracycline and many other antibiotics … Continue reading →
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8:14 PM | Le Tour de Peat – Moorlands and the industrial revolution
The Tour de France this week traversed the peak of Holme Moss at 524 m as Stage 2 passed through the peatlands of the Southern Pennines from Yorkshire and into Derbyshire. As Blel Kadri led the other riders over the summit the quality of the soil could not have been further from their minds. …
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7:37 PM | Why Should We Trust Scientists?
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4:59 PM | WHO Clarifies A Media Report On MERS
Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL   # 8822   Earlier today a story filed by AFP and other media outlets apparently quoted a World Health Organization official in the Western Pacific as saying that MERS was `unlikely to spread in Asia’.   That story has been picked up, and rebroadcast, widely.  An excerpt from the AFP report follows:   MERS unlikely to spread in Asia: WHO expert July 10, 2014 1:50 pm MANILA - Asian countries should keep […]
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2:05 PM | Paper of interest: Whole genome and exome sequencing of monozygotic twins discordant for Crohn's disease
For those interested in microbiomes it is definitely worth looking at this paper: BMC Genomics | Abstract | Whole genome and exome sequencing of monozygotic twins discordant for Crohn's diseaseSimple summary - they have sets of identical twins where one twin has Crohn's and the other does not.  They looked for somatic mutations that could like the ones with Crohn's and did not find any.  Sure - a negative result.  Could be anything.  But the next obvious thing to do […]
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1:32 PM | Three Graphic Posts From Mackay
Credit VDU Blog # 8821   I’ve been remiss in not mentioning that Professor Ian Mackay is back after taking a short break, with several new posts utilizing some impressive presentation software to create interactive maps on Ebola and MERS. Follow the links below to view:   Ebolavirus disease (EVD) cases, clusters and outbreaks mapped out... Mucking about with MERS and maps... MERS-CoV in June/July...
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1:20 PM | The Tip of the Gutberg: The World’s First Map of the Patina of Feces
If one tells the story of the history of the Earth from the perspective of microbes, one of the great leaps forward was the evolution of animals with guts. From the microbial perspective, animals are wondrous contrivances that evolved for carrying their habitat, the gut, from one patch of food to another and keeping it safe. Guts are predictably full of food and, even when they are not, all one has to do is wait. They are also constant in their pH and other conditions. They are the perfect […]
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12:39 PM | Social media is a tool for food safety folks
The Internet is rife with examples of how to employ social media for food safety purposes. Good and bad. Folks that use Twitter or Facebook as a place to push messages out (like an old-fashioned brochure) haven’t quite figured it … Continue reading →
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11:43 AM | J. Virol: Continued Reassortment Of Swine Flu Viruses With Genes From pH1N1 In China
  # 8820   Big changes in influenza viruses – the kind that can create a novel, and potentially pandemic producing strain – come about through antigenic shift, also known as reassortment.  For shift to occur, two different flu strains must infect the same host simultaneously, and swap one or more gene segments.   Most reassortant viruses are evolutionary failures, but every once in awhile a more `fit’ virus emerges.   While seemingly an […]
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11:00 AM | Pictures Considered #18. Pictures of Shigella by Shiga
by Elio | The journal Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde u. Infektionskrankheiten was one of the leading publication in the early days of Microbiology. Many of the great discoveries of microbial pathogens were published therein. An example is the 1898 Japanese microbiologist Kiyoshi Shiga account of his discovery of his eponymous bacterium…
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5:09 AM | TWiM #82: Betrayal and compromise
Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, Elio Schaechter and Michele Swanson. Vincent, Michael, and Michele discuss how iron might disperse bacterial biofilms in carotid arterial plaques, and controlling Salmonella by modulating host iron homeostasis.   Subscribe to TWiM (free) on iTunes, via RSS feed, by email or listen on your mobile device with the Microbeworld app. Links for this episode Endosymbiont […]

July 09, 2014

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11:57 PM | ‘Natural’ helps sell $40 billion worth of food in the U.S. every year—and the label means nothing
Nothing makes Americans buy a food product quite like the fabulously ambiguous word “natural.” The top 35 health claims and food labels include words most anyone who has been to a supermarket in the past five years should recognize—ones like ”natural,” yes, but … Continue reading →
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11:49 PM | New Zealand fears over food regulation
Primary industry bosses fear New Zealand’s “world-class” food safety regulatory system is in danger of being swapped for a costly and inflexible set of rules, which do nothing to raise performance and will only dent competitiveness. An inquiry into food … Continue reading →
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10:58 PM | South Korea PM vows to improve food safety at school cafeterias
South Korea will prohibit food suppliers that fail to meet certain safety criteria from providing school meals, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said Wednesday. “Food suppliers that fail to meet standards set forth by the HACCP system will not be able … Continue reading →
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10:55 PM | India bakery closed after food safety raids
The production centre and outlets of a city-based bakery-chain were closed down following raids conducted by food safety inspectors here on Tuesday. According to officials, they organised the raid after they received a complaint from the Accountant-General’s Office. Here, sandwiches … Continue reading →
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10:30 PM | Sanitizers not enough says UK; wash hands after visiting the farm
The UK Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding families about the importance of washing hands after visiting the farm. All animals naturally carry a range of organisms, some of which can be transmitted to people. Some organisms which may be … Continue reading →
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10:23 PM | Hawthorne effect: hand hygiene rates increase three-fold when auditors visible
Hand hygiene rates were found to be three times higher when auditors were visible to healthcare workers than when there were no auditors present, according to a study in a major Canadian acute care hospital. The study, titled, “Quantification of … Continue reading →
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6:26 PM | Meeting the MIQE Guidelines by Full Wet-Lab Validation
Quantitative PCR (qPCR) is a powerful tool in life science research. However, the data it generates can only be trusted if sufficient attention is paid to quality control and quality assurance at every step of the experimental workflow. One particular example underlines how wrong conclusions can be drawn from qPCR experiments that are not validated […]
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4:47 PM | Florida: Miami Reports 1st Locally Acquired Dengue Case Of 2014
    # 8819   Although details are scant at this time, and a press conference is promised for 1:30 this afternoon, local media in Miami Florida (and now the local health department) are reporting the first locally acquired case of Dengue in Florida for 2014.  First the report, from the local NBC News affiliate, followed by a link to the health department announcment:   Miami-Dade Dengue Fever Case is 1st of 2014 Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014  |  […]
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3:06 PM | WHO Update On Recent (Fatal) Egyptian H5N1 Case
    # 8818   My thanks to Lisa Schnirring for tweeting the link to this latest WHO update, which provides some details on the Egyptian H5N1 case we first heard about nearly 2 weeks ago (see Egypt Reports H5N1 Case). Despite the marked drop in human cases reported out of Egypt over the past 12 months, we continue to see numerous reports of H5N1 in poultry in that region.    New case of avian influenza A(H5N1) in Egypt   8 […]
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2:23 PM | Abu Dhabi HAAD Statement On Two New Coronavirus Cases
UAE’s Proximity to Saudi Arabia   # 8817   My thanks to Crof for the head’s up on the announcement of two new coronavirus cases being reported by the the Abu Dhabi Health Authority.  Here is  the barebones statement that has been posted on the HADD website.     Health Ministry announces two new cases of Coronavirus ABU DHABI, 9th July, 2014 - The Ministry of Health, MoH, has announced two new cases of Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Abu […]
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2:07 PM | BMJ: The `Hawthorne Effect’ On Hospital Hand Hygiene Compliance
Credit WHO     # 8816   One hundred and sixty-six years ago, a Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweis published a controversial medical book called Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever.  Semmelweis demonstrated that infections could be greatly reduced by simply having doctors wash their hands before performing gynecological exams.   While that makes sense today, at the time his theories were considered radical (Pasteur wouldn’t come […]
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1:00 PM | Texas: Two Recent Hantavirus Cases
Credit CDC     # 8816   Two weeks ago, in Hantaviruses: Of Mice And Men, we looked at a recent Hantavirus fatality in Saskatchewan, and reviewed some of the history of the these rare – but often fatal – rodent borne diseases.  You may recall that in the fall of 2012, we followed an outbreak at Yosemite National Park (see MMWR: Yosemite Hantavirus) which resulted in 10 infections, and 3 deaths.   Hantavirus infections (aka HPS or Hantavirus […]
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12:12 PM | Out Of The Darkness
  # 8815   Five days after former hurricane Arthur (downgraded to a post-tropical storm) struck Nova Scotia, tens of thousands of customers are still without power, according to a report this morning by CBC News (see Storm Arthur leaves 45,000 still without power). And based on a phone call I received this morning from a friend in Quebec, there are substantial additional – unrelated – power outages overnight being reported by Quebec Hydro.   […]
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