The UK was hit by two outbreaks linked to melon in 2021, in accordance with a just lately launched examine.
It was already recognized that the UK was a part of a multi-country Salmonella Braenderup outbreak with 350 instances attributable to melons from Honduras. 4 folks have been sick in the USA and two in Canada. There have been additionally ailing folks from Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Eire, Luxembourg, and Norway.
Nonetheless, there was one other outbreak because of E. coli O157 which was additionally linked to imported melons, in accordance with a examine revealed within the Journal of Food Protection.
STEC melon incident
In July and August 2021, there have been 17 instances of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7 within the UK. Reviewing STEC surveillance questionnaire information and evaluation of responses from a modified hypothesis-generating questionnaire, implicated consuming precut watermelon from a retailer sourced from Europe because the automobile of an infection.
9 sufferers have been feminine and ages ranged from lower than 1 to 65. Sufferers lived throughout Nice Britain, with 10 in England, six in Wales, and one in Scotland. 13 folks reported bloody diarrhea and stomach ache, eight had nausea, 5 reported vomiting, and three reported fever. Six folks have been hospitalized however none developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and nobody died.
Of eight sufferers that reported consumption of precut watermelon, 5 bought it from the identical retailer. Researchers mentioned modified hypothesis-generating questionnaires must be used early in investigations to seize detailed publicity histories whereas the affected person continues to be keen to take part, and to cut back recall bias. Additionally they proposed a evaluate of the STEC customary questionnaire, to offer extra element on contemporary produce, together with the range, retailer, model, and product line.
The watermelon distributor mentioned it carried out E. coli counts as an indicator of contamination, on one pattern per manufacturing. No samples had above 100 colony-forming models per gram (cfu/g). Testing for E. coli O157 was solely achieved for samples with greater than 100 cfu/g. Two retailers examined 209 and 359 merchandise containing precut watermelon and reported no samples above 100 cfu/g.
Watermelons got here from three companies in Spain. Melon was minimize at a producing facility in England and had a shelf life of 5 to 6 days. No complete or pre-cut watermelon samples in manufacturing within the days previous to symptom onset in instances have been obtainable for testing.
Salmonella melon outbreak
Between March and July 2021, there have been 113 instances of Salmonella Braenderup within the UK. Analytical epidemiological research recognized Galia melons because the automobile of an infection. The outbreak pressure was later remoted from two samples of Galia melon imported from Latin America.
Greater than 100 sufferers lived in England however eight have been in Scotland and two every from Wales and Northern Eire. A complete of 70 instances have been feminine and sufferers ranged from 6 months to 101 years outdated. Fifteen have been hospitalized and three folks have been already hospital inpatients when signs started.
In the course of the outbreak investigation, 200 samples of melon together with Galia, cantaloupe, or honeydew varieties from one provider in Honduras have been examined on the UKHSA Meals, Water, and Surroundings (FW&E) laboratories in York, London, and Porton and two Galia melon optimistic.
Cantaloupe melons have been additionally recognized as potential autos of an infection and couldn’t be dominated out primarily based on the examine findings and comparable nature of the rising, transport, provide, and distribution patterns. It was attainable that similarities within the look of Galia and cantaloupe melons led to instances incorrectly figuring out which sort they consumed.
Authorities in Honduras did an onsite inspection of the rising farm in June 2021. A danger administration plan was developed. There had been heavy rain for 3 days in the course of the harvest. Salmonella Braenderup matching the outbreak pressure was discovered on the floor of a washing tank in one of many Honduran amenities the place Galia melons have been packed.
“Quite a lot of sources of contamination have been attainable; the most certainly being that unusually excessive rainfall in Honduras in the course of the harvest interval resulted in sewage overflow and run-off contaminated the water used to irrigate the melon crops,” mentioned scientists.
Postharvest contamination from an contaminated handler or cross-contamination from different merchandise in the course of the transportation course of may even have occurred.
“Given the issue in eradicating pathogens from the flesh of ready-to-eat fruit and greens, public well being interventions ought to goal all steps of the meals chain previous to consumption, from cultivation on the farm to processing, packing and distribution,” mentioned researchers.
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