Monday, December 18, 2006

Gastroenteritis in Boston

Via ProMED-mail: the Boston Public Health Commission advises Bostonians to wash their hands during the current outbreak of Norwalk-like illnesses.

In addition to the increases seen in emergency rooms, an outbreak of GI illness has occurred at Simmons College in Boston. As of December 15, eighty-one (81) students and staff have reported experiencing nausea, vomiting diarrhea and stomach cramps. Many of the affected individuals have reported being ill for approximately two days after symptoms began. The outbreak at the school appears to be on a downward trend with only a few new cases having been reported in the last several days. Early implementation of control measures including education on hand washing, availability and use of hand sanitizer, and increased frequency of restroom cleaning appears to have decreased the transmission of illness at Simmons.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Giant Microbes

GIANTmicrobes has some exciting new plushie microbes, including a cute curly Lyme disease and a red-eyed rabies virus.

Among their older products, E. coli is cute and timely, while TB is intriguingly horizontal.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Yo no quiero Taco Bell

Via ProMED-mail: The New York Times reports on the spreading Taco Bell E. coli outbreak.

Even as health officials and food distributors zeroed in yesterday on a California farm as the possible source of the contaminated green onions that have sickened Taco Bell customers, the E. coli outbreak widened considerably, with cases reported for the first time in New York City, Delaware, South Carolina and Utah.
In all, the number of cases that have been reported ballooned, to at least 169 yesterday, with most concentrated on Long Island and in New Jersey.
In New York, health officials said they were investigating 103 confirmed or suspected cases in 10 counties, up from 49 on Wednesday. Nearly three-quarters of the cases were found on Long Island, but cases were reported for the first time in New York City as well as Westchester, Rockland, St. Lawrence and Herkimer Counties.
In New Jersey, 12 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 55. There were no new cases reported in Pennsylvania, where seven people have been sickened thus far. In Delaware, one case was confirmed and another was suspected. According to federal health officials, “the vast majority of patients reported eating” at a Taco Bell.