NEWS SCAN: Hypervirulent Salmonella, beef E coli sampling, EU foodborne disease, global clean water, antibiotics and distiller's grains

Apr 13, 2012

Study profiles hypervirulent Salmonella subtypes
An international research team based at the University of California Santa Barbara has identified hypervirulent Salmonella subtypes, a finding that could help prevent outbreaks, the team suggests in PLoS Pathogens. The researchers used a special medium that prompted the bacteria to reveal hypervirulence factors typically seen only during infection in the laboratory setting. Of 184 Salmonella clinical isolates obtained from humans and animals, they found 14 hypervirulent isolates. Michael Mahan, PhD, of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), one of the lead researchers, said in a UCSB press release that the key was detecting the factors during infection "before they switch back to a less-virulent state in the lab." The group said now that they know what to look for, the next step is to develop methods to rapidly detect the pathogens. They found that the hyperinfectious Salmonella strains were restricted to certain serotypes and were more able to kill vaccinated animals. The hypervirulent subtypes could switch rapidly between virulence states, didn't require vigorous bacterial cell growth, and responded to subtle differences in environmental signals. They wrote that their findings will help lead to a better understanding of the interplay between farm-management practices, environmental conditions, and Salmonella virulence.
Apr 12 PLoS Pathogens abstract
Apr 12 UCSB press release

FSIS beefs up Ecoli sampling for hamburger-bound trim
The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) yesterday announced new procedures for testing beef trim, a key ingredient of ground beef, for Escherichia coli O157:H7. The new sampling program begins on May 1 and will increase the frequency of testing at some facilities. The changes take into account risk factors in certain volume producers and in certain times of the year (May through October). The new rules will require more frequent sampling request in higher-volume operations and during high-prevalence seasons. The FSIS said the changes will allow it to better detect E coli O157:H7 in regulated products. The FSIS Office of Public Health Science will produce weekly reports on sample findings, along with an annual summary. The agency also said it would analyze the data to determine if any risk factor changes require alterations to the sampling system.
Apr 12 FSIS notice

Study: Europe sustains millions of Campylobacter, Salmonella cases each year
Europe experienced an estimated 9.2 million cases of Campylobacter illness and 6.2 million cases of Salmonella infection in 2009, according to a study to determine the true incidence, published today in Epidemiology and Infection. EU researchers looked at 2005-2009 data on returning Swedish travelers and from a Dutch population-based study on gastroenteritis. They estimated that for every reported case of campylobacteriosis reported in the European Union, 47 cases actually occurred (95% confidence interval [CI], 14-117), compared with 58 cases of salmonellosis for each one reported (95% CI, 9-172). From those estimates, they calculated 9.2 million campylobacteriosis cases (95% CI, 2.8 million to 23 million) and 6.2 million salmonellosis cases (95% CI, 1 million to19 million) in 2009. They also found that the rates of Campylobacter and Salmonella infections varied widely among EU member states and were significantly correlated with Campylobacter in broiler chickens and Salmonella Enteritidis in laying hens, respectively.
Apr 13 Epidemiol Infect abstract

Despite gains, many countries struggle to maintain water, sanitation systems
Although access to safe drinking water and sanitation has improved globally in recent years, the gains are at risk because many countries are short on resources to properly operate and maintain their water systems, according to an annual report from the World Health Organization and United Nations. The 2012 UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-water, or GLAAS, released yesterday, presents data from 74 developing countries and 24 agencies covering 90% of global development assistance funds. In a press release, UN-Water said countries report a chronic lack of technicians and skilled labor to operate and maintain sanitation and drinking-water infrastructure. "For example, one in three countries highlighted that revenues are insufficient to cover operating costs for urban utilities," the agency said. "Only 7% of external support is directed at maintaining services." Despite the financial crisis, total development aid for sanitation and drinking water increased by 3% from 2008 to 2010, to $7.8 billion, the statement said. But only half of the aid is directed to regions in which 70% of those in need live—sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Also, despite impressive global gains, most countries are falling short of meeting their own national access targets for sanitation and drinking water. The report calls for additional and more targeted resources, especially for operation and maintenance.
Apr 12 UN-Water press release

FDA details antibiotic residue in distiller's grains
A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study of distiller's grain, a byproduct of ethanol production that is frequently used as animal feed, found evidence of antibiotic residues in 4 of 46 samples, according to a report yesterday. The FDA ordered the study in 2009 to guide its policy development, and yesterday it said the findings won't be used for regulatory development. Ethanol producers use antibiotics to curb bacterial contamination, which can compete with ethanol-producing yeast for sugar and micronutrients in fermenters. The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine is concerned about the potential impact of antibiotic residues on human and animal health. The samples were tested for 12 different antibiotics. Of the 46 samples, 18 originated from outside of the United States, and 28 were domestically sourced. Of the 4 samples that tested positive, 3 were domestic.
Apr 12 FDA report

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