Bacteriophage treatment decontaminates infant formula

A phage showed strong antimicrobial activity against a type of foodborne bacterium that often kills infants after infecting them via infant formula. The research was published Oct. 23 online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

750px-PhageExterior.svgIn the study, the phage, called “CR5,” showed high antimicrobial activity against the bacterium, Cronobacter sakazakii, as well as against several other species of Cronobacter, which can also cause dangerous illness, says coauthor Sangryeol Ryu, professor in the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology at the Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences based at Seoul National University in Korea.

The research was conducted using infant formula that had been contaminated with C. sakazakii. “Interestingly, CR5 killed C. sakazakii quickly, and no C. sakazakii was detected in the infant formula after 10 hours had passed,” said Ryu.

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The interesting fact about – Norovirus !

Did you know?

The Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Norovirus results in 19-21 million illness, 56-71,000 hospitalizations and 57-800 deaths each year.

What is Norovirus?

Single stranded RNA virus that have recently been classified in the family Caliciviridae, genus Norovirus. These highly infectious enteric virus are a major cause of acute gastroenteritis in human (The infection is often called viral gastroenteritis)

Possible causes of Norovirus Infection:

In spite of the fact that many cases of Norovirus infection caused by person to person spread, the infestation of contaminated food or water also plays a significant part in their transmission

Identification of Norovirus:

The prototype norovirus was first identified as the cause of gastroenteritis outbreak in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1968. But, the epidemiology of noroviruses remained poorly characterized until relatively recently because of the lack of widespread availability sensitive diagnostic methods

The trend and outbreaks:

Norovirus associated deaths

Death tool

Source: CDC

The number of U.S Hospitalization for norovirus illness is consistently higher in winter months. Hospitalizations for norovirus were higher in winder 2002-2003 and 2006-2007, when a pandemic virus strain emerged

Norovirus associated hospitalizations


The number of U.S hospitalizations for norovirus illness is consistently higher in winter months. Hospitalizations for norovirus were higher in winder 2002-2003 and 2006-2007, when a pandemic virus strain emerged

Norovirus associated emergency department visits

Emergency visit

The number of visit to a U.S urgent care or emergency department for norovirus illness is consistently higher in winter months. Emergency department visits for norovirus were higher in winter 2002-2003 and 2006-2007, when a pandemic virus strain emerged

Norovirus associated outpatient visit:

outpatient visit

The number of visits to a U.S medical office or clinic for norovirus illness is consistently higher in winter months. Outpatient visits for norovirus were higher in winter 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 when a pandemic virus strain emerged

NoroStat data table:

Suspected and confirmed Norovirus Outbreaks Reported by state health departments in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennesse, and Wisconsin to the National Outbreak Reporting system by week of illness onset .2009-20015

Week Min Range, 2009-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
01-Aug 2 1 4 4 2
08-Aug 0 2 7 2 5
15-Aug 0 4 2 3 4
22-Aug 0 3 5 3 6
29-Aug 1 3 3 0 3
05-Sep 1 2 2 5 3
12-Sep 1 2 7 1 2
19-Sep 1 3 6 2 5
26-Sep 1 5 4 1 4
03-Oct 1 3 3 3 3
10-Oct 1 6 3 3 9
17-Oct 1 6 7 4 7
24-Oct 1 7 12 6 4
31-Oct 6 5 13 7 13
07-Nov 2 15 17 4 10
14-Nov 5 5 12 9 16
21-Nov 3 16 20 7 10
28-Nov 7 15 27 21 27
05-Dec 6 27 28 18 22
12-Dec 9 17 17 26 30
19-Dec 4 20 26 16 12
26-Dec 13 20 31 21 19
02-Jan 7 26 20 27 16
09-Jan 8 22 32 18 24
16-Jan 15 11 24 25 18
23-Jan 18 11 34 17 25
30-Jan 10 24 34 23 25
06-Feb 11 14 17 23 25
13-Feb 11 24 30 28 30
20-Feb 8 14 29 32 39
27-Feb 8 21 29 32 42
06-Mar 11 7 26 36 26
13-Mar 4 8 15 31 29
20-Mar 4 7 18 29 25
27-Mar 3 8 24 38 36
03-Apr 6 2 21 29 20
10-Apr 3 9 11 22 11
17-Apr 4 4 9 16 14
24-Apr 2 8 6 13 12
01-May 6 3 7 7 12
08-May 2 11 13 15
15-May 2 4 6 16
22-May 1 4 6 4
29-May 2 1 2 5
05-Jun 1 2 2 9
12-Jun 3 1 3 4
19-Jun 1 2 1 7
26-Jun 2 4 4 4
03-Jul 3 4 3 3
10-Jul 1 4 5 11
17-Jul 0 4 4 7
24-Jul 0 2 5 4

Source: CDC


Produce, shellfish, Ready –to-eat foods touched by infected foods workers (Salads, Sandwiches, Ice cookies, Fruit), or any other foods contaminated with vomit or feces from an infected person

Signs and Symptoms of Norovirus:

The typical signs and symptoms of Norovirus infection are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain /cramps
  • Low-grade fever
  • Muscle pain

The symptoms normally beings 24-48 hours after exposure and usually last one to three days. Kindly note that some people with norovirus show no signs or symptoms but are still contagious & may spread it to others

How to prevent Norovirus:

One of the interesting fact is that norovirus doesn’t multiply in food, since it is a virus and not a bacterium.  At the same time the only way to assure you don’t get norovirus from foods like shelf life is to cook them thoroughly.

Here some of the tips to prevent Norovirus infections:

  • Wash hands
    • Proper hand washing is an absolute best way to prevent norovirus. Remember, always wash your hands before and after using bathroom, changing diapers.
    • Before preparing/ eating/ handling food, any whenever you are in contact with common surfaces that carry germs
  • When you are sick, don’t prepare food for others:
    • Don’t prepare food for other while you are sick and for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover.
    • Did you know? About 50 % of all outbreaks of food related illness are cause by norovirus. In many of these cases, sick food handlers were involved in spreading the virus
  • Wash produce
    • Wash fruits and vegetable thoroughly before eating them. Fresh produce, primarily leafy vegetables like spinach, are most often involved in norovirus foodborne illness outbreak
  • Cooking thoroughly
    • Food product like oysters and shellfish must be cooked thoroughly before eating. Noroviruses are relatively resistant and able to survive quick steaking processes that are often used for cooking shellfish as well as temperature as high as 60 Degree Celsius
  • Clean contaminated surface after throwing up or having diarrhea:
    • Use a chlorine bleach solution with concentration of 1000-5000ppm ( 5-25 tablespoons bleach per 3.7 litre of water ) or an EPA registered norovirus disinfectant
  • Wash laundry thoroughly:
    • For any clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool, remove and wash them immediately. Remember to wear gloves when handling soiled laundry

infographic_970px- Norovirus

Reference and source:


Scientists synthesise sound of single bacterium swimming

To try and understand how bacteria can move so quickly, scientists have synthesised the sound of a single bacterium swimming.

Click the below link to listen


The 5 Most Dangerous Foodborne Pathogens

BY LYDIA ZURAW | SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 can be tricky business to say that one foodborne pathogen is more dangerous than another. Are the criteria the number of illnesses, number of deaths, or percentage of victims who die? Do the severity of an illness or chronic side effects factor into the ranking?

The first three pathogens on this list are fairly obvious dangers and ones on which federal agencies, such the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focus most of their attention. The other two are much rarer, but they’re still important pathogens to watch out for.


Apart from some diarrhea or minor gastrointestinal problems, most people don’t get sick when they’re exposed to Listeria. It’s estimated that it sickens only about 1,600 people in the U.S. each year, but, if the pathogen gets into their bloodstream, one in five people die, giving it the highest mortality rate of foodborne pathogens.

At least 90 percent of people who get Listeria infections are pregnant women and their newborns, people 65 or older, or people with weakened immune systems.

Listeria can contaminate foods we don’t usually cook, such deli meats, sprouts, and soft cheeses. In 1985,Listeria-contaminated queso fresco sickened 142 people, killed 10 newborns and 18 adults, and caused 20 miscarriages. In 2011, 147 people were infected with Listeria from cantaloupes and 33 people died. Within the past year, there have been outbreaks linked to new food vehicles — caramel apples and ice cream.


Approximately 1 million people are sickened by Salmonella in the U.S. each year and approximately 380 of them die from the infection.

Children are at the highest risk for Salmonella infection. Children younger than 5 have higher rates of Salmonella infection than any other age group. Young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections.

Salmonella illnesses are commonly associated with poultry and eggs, along with meat, unpasteurized milk or juice, cheese, contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, spices, and nuts. In 2009, 714 people were infected with Salmonella Typhimurium linked to peanut butter. Approximately 1,939 Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses associated with shell eggs were reported in 2010, and 634 people were sickened by Salmonella Heidelberg linked to Foster Farms chicken in 2013 and 2014.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)

Most Escherichia coli are harmless and an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract, but some are pathogenic. There are six pathotypes of E. coli that are associated with diarrhea and the one we hear about most often is Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) – also referred to as Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) or enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). The most commonly identified STEC in North America is E. coli O157:H7 (often shortened to E. coli O157).

STEC is estimated to cause 265,000 illnesses and 30 deaths each year. It infects people of any age, but young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication in which red blood cells are damaged and can cause kidney damage and kidney failure.

Undercooked ground beef, raw milk and juice, soft cheeses made from raw milk, and raw fruits and vegetables have been commonly linked to E. coli infections.

In 1992-1993, an E. coli O157 outbreak that sickened more than 700 people was linked to Jack in the Box hamburgers. In 2006, 199 people were sickened by contaminated spinach. And in 2009, raw refrigerated, prepackaged cookie dough sickened 72 people.

Vibrio vulnificus

The number of Vibrio illnesses and subsequent deaths may much lower than those for Salmonella, Listeria or E. coli, but it is still be a troubling pathogen.

An average of 50 culture-confirmed cases, 45 hospitalizations, and 16 deaths are reported each year from the Gulf Coast region (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas). As of Sept. 11, Florida has reported 30 confirmed Vibrio vulnificus infections this year, including 11 deaths.

While not potentially life-threatening to most healthy people, Vibrio vulnificus can be very dangerous to immunocompromised people, especially those with chronic liver disease, cancer or diabetes. In these people, the bacterium can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness that is fatal about half the time.

Vibrio vulnificus lives in warm seawater, such as the Gulf of Mexico, and is found in higher concentrations in the summer months as water temperatures rise. It can cause disease in those who eat contaminated shellfish raw or undercooked — particularly raw oysters. Contrary to what some people believe, eating raw oysters with hot sauce or while drinking alcohol does not kill the bacteria.

Since 2006-2008, the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) has detected a 52-percent increase in Vibrio infections, including V. parahaemolyticus, V. alginolyticus and V. vulnificus.

The increases may be the result of higher water temperatures lasting more months of the year and reaching further north due to climate change.

Clostridium botulinum

Botulism is another rare but serious foodborne illness. It’s a paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

In the U.S., an average of 145 cases are reported each year. Of these, approximately 15 percent are foodborne, 65 percent are infant botulism and 20 percent are wound-related.

Botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure. However, in the past 50 years, the proportion of patients with botulism who die has fallen from about 50 percent to 3-5 percent.

A patient with severe botulism may require a breathing machine, as well as intensive medical and nursing care, for several months, and some patients die from infections or other problems related to remaining paralyzed for weeks or months. Patients who survive an episode of botulism poisoning may have fatigue and shortness of breath for years, and long-term therapy may be needed to aid recovery.

Foodborne botulism has often been linked to home-canned foods with low acid content, such as asparagus, green beans, beets and corn, and is caused by failure to follow proper canning methods. Outbreaks of foodborne botulism involving two or more people occur most years and are usually caused by home-canned foods.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

© Food Safety News


How not to Die from Botulism !



Food Poisoning bacteria sources and its onset time !

Food Poisoning Bacteria and Onset time


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