6 dead, 99 suspected sick from E. coli O157 in pickled cabbage in Japan

Four people, including a 4-year-old girl, have been confirmed dead of food poisoning from pickled Chinese cabbage produced by a Sapporo food company.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports another two are suspected to have died due to the cabbage.

According to the city health care center, four people have died of poisoning caused by E. coli O157 after eating pickled Chinese cabbage produced in late July by Iwai Shokuhin. Three of the four victims were women in their 80s and 100s living in elderly care facilities in the city.

Mass food poisoning occurred at elderly care facilities in and around the city, with 99 patients likely connected to the suspect cabbage.

Four-year-old girl Ayana Matsumura of Sapporo suffered symptoms from Aug. 6 and died last Saturday.

The O157 strain discovered in her body was found to be the same strain detected in the cabbage. According to information relayed to the city by her family, she is very likely to have eaten cabbage bought at a supermarket near her house.

The food firm’s president, Norio Iwai, expressed deep regret. “I feel deeply about (the incident) and will do my best to help investigations. I can only say I’m truly sorry,” he said.

Mourners gather in bright pink for funeral of eight-year-old UK girl who died from E.c oli after holiday in US

Hundreds of mourners dressed in bright pink gathered today in Ayrshire for the funeral of tragic E.coli victim Rachel Shaw.

The Daily Mail reports Rachel’s family – including mother Louise Baillie, 38, and father Adam Shaw, 35 – asked mourners attending Dalrymple Parish Church, East Ayrshire, to dress in the eight-year-old’s favourite color rather than wearing black.

A packed Ayrshire church saw family, neighbours, school pals and teachers come to bid a final farewell to the schoolgirl, whose little white coffin was decorated with pink flowers and a framed photograph.

Rachel died in hospital on Saturday night after contracting E. coli at the end of July. An investigation is underway as to the exact source of the bug, but it is believed she may have contracted it in the U.S. as she had recently returned from visiting her father, who lives there.

Iowa town launches ‘pick up the poo’ campaign

They found my passport. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa. About six hours after I cancelled it via the nice folks at the Canadian consulate in Dallas.

Cedar Rapids is also finding a lot of E. coli in area streams and figure some of that is coming from doggie doo.

The City of Cedar Rapids claims the roughly two tons of pet waste produced in Cedar Rapids every day is contributing to water pollution in the city.

To fight the fecal problem, Cedar Rapids launched a ‘pick-up the poo pledge’ to encourage dog owners to clean up dog droppings. City employees passed out information on runoff to pet owners and asked them to sign a pledge to pick-up after their pooches.

To learn more about improving and protecting water quality visit www.CityofCR.com/stormwater.

40 sickened; Folklorama, site of 2010 E. coli outbreak, sued

One of the individuals hospitalized following an E. coli outbreak at Folklorama two years ago is suing the organization and the Russian Pavilion.

Trudy Andrew, 52, of Oakbank, is seeking damages for lost wages and pain and suffering she endured after eating contaminated food at the Russian Pavilion.

“If I hadn’t gone to the hospital when I did, I wouldn’t have made it,” Andrew told theWinnipeg Free Press. “I ended up seriously ill and in hospital.”

Andrew is suing Folklorama Inc., the Folk Arts Council of Winnipeg Inc., the umbrella organization that oversees the popular two-week Folklorama festival and the Russian Pavilion, which health authorities identified as the source of the outbreak.

There were 40 reported cases of E. coli between Aug. 9 and Aug. 30, 2010; 34 of those cases were individuals who ate at the pavilion, and three others were children at a daycare who were infected by a person who visited the pavilion and spread the germ.

Seventeen people went to emergency and five individuals were hospitalized, including a two-year-old boy who suffered acute renal failure and was put on dialysis in pediatric intensive care.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority concluded a locally made juice, known as kompot, was the source of the outbreak, speculating the juice had somehow come into contact with contaminated ground beef.

Health inspectors had found deficiencies in the pavilion’s kitchen on Aug. 1, the first day the venue opened, including improperly stored raw hamburger meat and a fridge with an operating temperature that was deemed too high.

Sofia Barklon, co-ordinator of the Russian Pavilion, maintains the pavilion was not the source of the outbreak — the position it took two years ago, despite the findings of the WRHA.

Debra Zoerb, executive director of Folklorama, said she would not comment on the legal action but said it was the only one stemming from the E. Coli outbreak two years ago.

UK girl, eight, dies from E. coli O157

An eight-year-old girl has died after contracting an E. coli infection but health officials have stressed it is not part of an outbreak.

The Daily Mail reports the child was from East Ayrshire in Scotland and had contracted the E. coli O157 strain.

She was treated in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow but sadly died.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran said it has not identified the source of the infection but it does not believe the case is part of an outbreak.

Dr Jane Cooper, consultant in public health medicine said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time.’

Risks involved with human-animal interaction can be reduced, but only if guidelines are followed

The same day I visited the Riley County Fair for the first time in the 8 years I’ve lived in Manhattan, Kansas, our paper, Observation of Public Health Risk Behaviors, Risk Communication and Hand Hygiene at Kansas and Missouri Petting Zoos – 2010–2011, gets published.

As we approached the fair, I noticed a big pavilion with lots of cows in it, being cared for by what I think were their owners. I had my 10-month-old in his stroller and a corn dog in hand. I decided to try to walk right through it and see if anybody stopped me. I even asked the person at the entrance if it was OK for me to walk through the pavilion with my corndog. To my surprise, she replied: “sure.” Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.K. Health and Service Executive  recommend against this.

Human food should not be allowed into animal areas (whether contact with animals is allowed or not). Personal items like strollers should not enter the animal area either, as they can become contaminated with animal bedding spilling over into the walkways. At this fair cattle were being walked in and out of the animal area through the same entrance/exit visitors were, which increases chances of cross-contamination. A few other things that could have been done to lower the risks are:

– Have hand hygiene stations at entrance and exits
– Have staff at entrance and exit encouraging hand hygiene and giving a few pointers on how to behave within the animal area
– Have signage easily visible by visitors as they enter and leave the area reinforcing what the staff is saying
– Don’t have the cattle water trough accessible to visitors
– Don’t use same entrance and exits for cattle and visitors due to risk of cross-contamination
– Don’t allow human food into the animal areas

These events can be fun and informative, and I can’t wait for my son to start actually understanding what’s going on, but the fun ends when a kid ends up with hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by E. coli O157:H7. Hand hygiene and risk awareness will go a long way when it comes to reducing the risk of zoonotic disease transmission at events that encourage human-animal interactions. If you think this can’t happen to you, check out our table with outbreaks related to petting zoos, available at  http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.