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Oyster-related illness linked to warming ocean

first_img The report says the levels of V parahaemolyticus found in oyster samples (MPN estimates) were “1500 times lower than the current National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines for harvested oysters (5000 MPN per gram) and 3000 times lower than the FDA’s level of concern (10,000 MPN per gram) for ready-to-eat seafood, including raw oysters.” They write that other V parahaemolyticus outbreaks have been linked with oysters gathered from waters at temperatures like those found near southern Alaska. They add, however, “Warming ocean waters may well have contributed to this outbreak, but changing patterns of animal migration and discharged ballast water may also have played a role.” The cruise ship passengers got sick after eating raw oysters, and tests in most cases pointed to Vibrio parahaemolyticus, says the report by Joseph B. McLaughlin, MD, MPH, and colleagues from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and several other health agencies. The sound where the oysters were harvested was warmer at the time of the outbreak than in any of the preceding six summers. Two samples of oysters harvested at farm A (17 oysters total) were found to contain V parahaemolyticus at low levels (2.1 to 3.5 most-probable-number [MPN] per gram). The researchers gathered 96 samples from 17 Alaska oyster farms and found the pathogen in 31 (32%). The samples containing V parahaemolyticus all came from Prince William Sound or elsewhere in southeastern Alaska. About three quarters of the isolates were positive for tdh. “The investigation extends by 1,000 km the northernmost documented source of oysters that caused illness due to V. parahaemolyticus,” the report says. “Rising temperatures of ocean water seem to have contributed to one of the largest known outbreaks of V. parahaemolyticus in the United States.” Temperature data showed that all oysters from farm A that were implicated in the outbreak were harvested when the water was warmer than 15.0°C (59° F). In mid-2004, the water in the area was almost 2°C warmer than it had been in any of the previous six summers, and the mean temperature stayed above 15.0°C much longer than it had in the preceding years. The authors interviewed 132 passengers from the four cruises, of whom 22 (17%) met the case definition for gastroenteritis related to raw oysters. Oysters and two other seafoods served on the ships were linked with illness in the initial analysis, but further statistical analysis showed that oysters were the only significant predictor of illness (adjusted odds ratio, 5.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.47 to 18.54). The affected passengers had eaten a median of only one oyster. V parahaemolyticus is the most common cause of seafood-related gastroenteritis in the United States, the article says. Strains that cause illness usually carry a virulence factor called thermostable direct hemolysin, or tdh. But before 2004, Alaskan waters were thought to be too cold to support pathogenic levels of V parahaemolyticus in oysters. In their broader search, the investigators found a total of 62 people who met their case definition, including 14 from the retrospective cohort study. Twelve people had sought medical treatment, but none were hospitalized. Stool samples were collected from 10 patients; all yielded V parahaemolyticus. Of eight isolates analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven were the same serotype, and all were positive for tdh.center_img The reports prompted Alaska health officials to launch a retrospective cohort study of passengers from four July 2004 cruises, along with a general search for people who had become sick after eating Alaskan oysters. The researchers also investigated the ship and the oyster farm that supplied it (farm A) and looked for the sources of oysters associated with other cases found. The probe included looking at water-temperature data from farm A, where temperatures had been recorded regularly since 1997. The report in last week’s New England Journal of Medicine also suggests that current national standards for bacterial contamination in raw oysters may be too high, because oysters linked with the outbreak had contamination levels far below the standards. The authors say their findings support the hypothesis that a water temperature above 15.0°C when oysters are harvested signals an increased risk of V parahaemolyticus infection from raw oysters. The outbreak surfaced in mid-July of 2004 when several passengers on a 78-passenger cruise ship on Prince William Sound in southeastern Alaska fell ill. A passenger from Nevada was diagnosed with a V parahaemolyticus infection after he returned home. Oct 12, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – An outbreak of illness among cruise ship passengers in Alaska in 2004 led to the detection of disease-causing oysters about 620 miles farther north than they had ever been found before, possibly as a result of warming ocean waters. In view of the findings, the authors recommend reconsideration of the current shellfish safety guidelines and suggest various precautions to prevent illness when water temperatures at oyster farms exceed 15°C. They also call for regional assessments of risks related to V parahaemolyticus. McLaughlin JB, DePaola A, Bopp CA, et al. Outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus gastroenteritis associated with Alaskan oysters. N Engl J Med 005 oct 6;353(14):1463-70 [Abstract]last_img read more

We can keep guns out of our schools

first_imgWe should not have to shoot our children to stop them from shooting others in our schools. The time of talking about this is over. We are a smart nation. We sent men to the moon and performed other space achievements that are amazing.No let’s keep guns out of our schools. If guns can’t get in, no one can be shot. We do a good job at airports, government buildings and military bases — one way in and one way out.This can be a start of a new industry in America and put multi-thousands of veterans, retired police officers and others to work.Our world has changed, We have to change with it. We know how to do this, it’s long overdue. This is only the beginning of changes in our country to keep us safe from many things. The time for talk is over; the time for action is now.Sid GordanSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Baseball beats LMU, falls in exhibition

first_imgThe Trojans split a pair of midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday, defeating Loyola Marymount 4-3 but being shut out 5-0 in an exhibition game by NC Dinos. On Wednesday, the incredibly loud and energetic Dinos fans danced, sang and chanted words of encouragement in their native Korean to the Dinos,  who outhit the Trojans 6-4. The Dinos were led by two home runs from former MLB player Eric Thames. The loss came a day after the Trojans defeated LMU for their first road victory of the season, where freshman Pitcher CJ Stubbs recorded his first collegiate win Tuesday as USC baseball escaped a 2-run ninth inning scare. Stubb shined in his six-inning USC debut, allowing one run on four hits and a strikeout. Head coach Dan Hubbs credited Stubbs’ ability to move to the ball in and out of the strike zone, which enabled him to get weak contact so that his defense can make a play. “For a freshman to come out in his outing and do that was big because winning is hard to do and there is so much parity in the game that you have to play extremely well,” Hubbs said, “That was big and great to see.” Sophomore infielder Frankie Rios’ turned a game-ending double play that sealed the game for the Trojans, who had been leading the contest 4-1 until the bottom of the ninth when senior reliever Marc Huberman allowed two runs on two hits with two walks. He was replaced by junior Jeff Pachke, who allowed one hit, loaded the bases and escaped by forcing LMU sophomore Jamey Smart to hit into a double play. Sophomore Adalberto Carrillo gave the Trojans the initial lead in the third inning with his first hit of the season, a solo home run, but LMU infielder Ted Boeke tied the game with a solo home run of his own in the fourth inning. Later in that inning, USC retook the lead when sophomore Angelo Armenta utilized a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. “We have got to get a big hit on that situation where we can put up a crooked number and really start to separate a game,” Hubbs said, “Because we have played four one-run games in four games now, but I think we will be better for it in the long run.” Senior Timmy Robinson, whose first hit of the season was a walk-off single against North Dakota in USC’s last game, continued to make an impact despite battling elbow tightness with a two-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Trojans a 4-1 cushion heading into the bottom of the ninth. Next up, the Trojans return to their regular season schedule, facing Wake Forest at home on Friday night to kick off a three-game set.last_img read more