NEWS SCAN: Campylobacter linked to raw milk, ground beef consumption, ESBL E coli exposure, H5N1 in India

Jan 30, 2012

Six raw-milk–associated Campylobacter infections reported in 2 states
Three lab-confirmed campylobacteriosis cases in Pennsylvania and three in Maryland have been linked to raw (unpasteurized) milk from the Family Cow dairy store in Chambersburg, Pa., according to releases from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). While a formal recall has not yet been announced, according to the PDH, both departments recommend that consumers discard any recently bought products from the dairy. The PDH said the farm has voluntary suspended raw milk production while the state's Department of Agriculture tests milk samples. The Family Cow sells raw milk in gallon, half-gallon, quart, and pint containers in an on-farm store as well as at stores and drop-off locations in these Pennsylvania counties: Bucks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Lebanon, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York. Maryland law forbids the sale of unpasteurized milk, according to the DHMH.
Jan 27 PDH news release
Jan 27 Maryland DHMH press release

Study finds rise in undercooked beef patty consumption
A phone survey of ground beef eating patterns found that 18% of respondents consumed pink ground beef patties, almost twice the 10% found in an early survey, researchers reported in the Journal of Food Protection. Their study was based on a survey of 8,543 residents of 10 FoodNet sites from July 2006 through June 2007. FoodNet is a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance system that gathers data on foodborne illnesses from 10 states and parts of states. Pink hamburger is an imperfect measure for measuring undercooked meat but is useful as a general marker, the study authors said. The last such survey was conducted 10 years earlier. The current study found that about 75% of respondents ate ground beef at home the previous week. Men and people with graduate-level educations were most likely to eat pink ground beef in the home, and patterns did not vary by season. Researchers speculated that those groups might be less familiar with safe food preparation practices, prefer pink ground beef, or perceive themselves at less risk. They concluded that although human illnesses with Escherichia coli O157:H7 have decreased, many people still eat undercooked beef and are at risk for complications from E coli infections.
February J Food Prot abstract

Study suggests ESBL E coli exposure patterns
A study of patients in 10 Paris hospitals has identified factors associated with CTX-M–producing E coli, a relatively new extended-spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL), a mechanism linked with drug resistance. Investigators compared 152 inpatients who had a positive clinical sample for CTX-M–producing E coli with two different control groups: those positive for non-ESBL E coli and those with negative samples. Researchers found three independent risk factors when they compared the ESBL-positive patients with the two control groups: birth outside Europe, chronic infections, and antibiotic treatment after hospital admission. The patients with the ESBL infections were also more likely to have needed help with daily functions and been living in group homes before hospitalization. Most of the patients who had a positive ESBL test were from Africa or Asia and were older adults who had not visited their home countries recently. Researchers speculated that they may have been in contact with recent immigrants or relatives from countries with high ESBL prevalence. They also suggested that the need for living assistance might pose a risk of bacterial transmission. Also, the link to chronic infections might suggest repeated use of antibiotics. Though some factors could be related to the healthcare setting, they suggested that other locations such as nursing homes could serve as reservoirs for CTX-M–producing E coli.
Jan 27 PLoS One study

Officials cull poultry in India after H5N1 confirmed
Officials in the West Tripura district of India have culled chicks and ducks after H5N1 was confirmed in the region, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) story. The culling began after the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal confirmed H5N1 following the deaths of 4,229 poultry from the disease, according to a report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Twelve rapid response teams culled poultry within 3 kilometers of the government-owned Lembucherra poultry farm in the district, which borders Bangladesh, PTI reported. Neither the PTI nor the OIE report specified the number of birds culled, but the OIE report said the farm housed 12,385 poultry.
Jan 27 PTI story
Jan 28 OIE report

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