Outbreaks of food-borne listeriosis have often involved strains of serotype 4b. Examination of multiple isolates from three different outbreaks revealed that ca. 11 to 29% of each epidemic population consisted of strains which were negative with the serotype-specific monoclonal antibody c74.22, lacked galactose from the teichoic acid of the cell wall, and were resistant to the serotype 4b-specific phage 2671.
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Indigenous yeasts can be detected at high populations in raw milk Cantal cheese, a French Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) hard cheese. To investigate their use as adjunct cultures to promote flavour development in Cantalet (small Cantal) cheese, three strains isolated from raw milk Cantal cheese, Kluyveromyces lactis, Yarrowia lipolytica, and Pichia fermentans were added at 3 (E3) and 5 (E5) log(10) colony-forming units (cfu)/mL to microfiltered milk at a ratio of 80/10/10 viable cells, respectively. The global microbial, compositional and biochemical changes induced by the presence of yeasts in cheese were determined. Adjunct yeasts did not grow but stayed at viable populations of approximately 4 and 6 log(10) cfu/g in E3 and E5 cheeses, respectively, throughout the ripening period. They were mainly constituted of K. lactis, while P. fermentans and Y. lipolytica were not detectable after 3 and 45 days of ripening, respectively. Several species of indigenous yeasts were also detected in E3 cheeses at the beginning of ripening only, and in the control cheeses without yeasts added. Lactoccoci survived for longer periods in the presence of yeast adjuncts, while, conversely, the viability of Streptococcus thermophilus decreased more rapidly. The addition of yeasts did not influence cheese composition and total free amino acid content. In contrast, it slightly increased lipolysis in both E3 and E5 cheeses and markedly enhanced the formation of some volatile aroma compounds. The concentrations of ethanol, ethyl esters and some branched-chain alcohols were 6 to 10 fold higher in E5 cheeses than in the control cheeses, and only slightly higher in E3 cheeses. This study shows that K. lactis has a potential as cheese adjunct culture in Cantalet cheese and that, added at populations of 4-5 log(10) cfu/g cheese, it enhances the formation of flavour compounds.
A cluster of E. coli O157:H7 hemorrhagic colitis was identified in metro Edmonton, Alberta through notifiable disease surveillance in late 2002.
Environmental health officers collected food histories and clinical information from cases in the cluster. The provincial public health laboratory conducted pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis on E. coli O157:H7 isolates from cluster cases. Public health and food regulatory agencies conducted an investigation when a food source (unpasteurized gouda cheese) was implicated.
PFGE analysis revealed an "outbreak" profile in 13 cases. Onset dates for the outbreak cases ranged between October 2002 and February 2003. Two cases, aged 22 months and 4 years, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome as a result of their infection. Consumption of unpasteurized gouda cheese produced at a local dairy farm was reported by 12 of 13 outbreak cases in the 2 to 8 days prior to illness. E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from 2 of 26 cheese samples manufactured by the implicated producer. The cheese isolates had indistinguishable PFGE profiles as compared with outbreak case isolates. Implicated cheese was found to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 104 days after production, despite having met regulated microbiological and aging requirements.
To our knowledge, this is the first confirmed outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection in Canada associated with raw milk hard cheese. A review of federal legislation vis-à-vis raw milk hard cheese may be in order.
Salmonella Chester infection has rarely been reported in the literature. In 2010, 33 case patients were reported in 2 months in four Canadian provinces. We conducted an outbreak investigation in collaboration with public health agencies, food safety specialists, regulatory agencies, grocery store chains, and the product distributor. We used case patient interviews, customer loyalty cards, and microbiological testing of clinical and food samples to identify nationally distributed head cheese as the food vehicle responsible for the outbreak. The rare serotype, a limited affected demographic group, and an uncommon exposure led to the rapid identification of the source. Control measures were implemented within 9 days of notification of the outbreak.
Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus is a rare infection in humans associated with contact with horses or consumption of unpasteurized milk products. On October 23, 2003, the National Public Health Institute was alerted that within one week three persons had been admitted to Tampere University Central Hospital (TaYS) because of S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus septicaemia. All had consumed fresh goat cheese produced in a small-scale dairy located on a farm. We conducted an investigation to determine the source and the extent of the outbreak.
Cases were identified from the National Infectious Disease Register. Cases were persons with S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus isolated from a normally sterile site who had illness onset 15.9-31.10.2003. All cases were telephone interviewed by using a standard questionnaire and clinical information was extracted from patient charts. Environmental and food specimens included throat swabs from two persons working in the dairy, milk from goats and raw milk tank, cheeses made of unpasteurized milk, vaginal samples of goats, and borehole well water. The isolates were characterized by ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
Seven persons met the case definition; six had septicaemia and one had purulent arthritis. Five were women; the median age was 70 years (range 54-93). None of the cases were immunocompromized and none died. Six cases were identified in TaYS, and one in another university hospital in southern Finland. All had eaten goat cheese produced on the implicated farm. S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus was isolated from throat swabs, fresh goat cheese, milk tank, and vaginal samples of one goat. All human and environmental strains were indistinguishable by ribotyping and PFGE.
The outbreak was caused by goat cheese produced from unpasteurized milk. Outbreaks caused by S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus may not be detected if streptococcal strains are only typed to the group level. S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus may be a re-emerging disease if unpasteurized milk is increasingly used for food production. Facilities using unpasteurized milk should be carefully monitored to prevent this type of outbreaks.
In September 1994, a complaint was registered at a public health unit concerning a cheese product. In addition, public health laboratories in Ontario reported an increase in the number of isolates of Salmonella berta from patients with diarrhoeal illness. A clinical, environmental and laboratory investigation was initiated to determine the nature of this outbreak. Isolates of Salmonella berta were compared using large fragment genomic fingerprinting by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). By late October, 82 clinical cases had been identified including 35 confirmed, 44 suspected and 3 secondary. The investigation linked illness to consumption of an unpasteurized soft cheese product produced on a farm and sold at farmers' markets. Subtyping results of patient, cheese and chicken isolates were indistinguishable, suggesting that the cheese was contaminated by chicken carcasses during production. The outbreak illustrates the potential role of uninspected home-based food producers and of cross-contamination in the transmission of foodborne bacterial pathogens.
A major Canada-wide outbreak of gastroenteritis due to Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis phage type (PT) 8 occurred in 1998, and this was traced to contaminated cheese in a commercial lunch pack product. Phage typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis linked the clinical and cheese isolates of serotype Enteritidis but failed to differentiate outbreak from nonoutbreak PT 8 strains. Further differentiation was made by biotyping based on melibiose fermentation.
Cites: Nucleic Acids Res. 1979 Nov 24;7(6):1513-23388356
The analytical studies used to investigate foodborne outbreak are mostly case-control or retrospective cohort studies. However, these studies can be complex to perform and susceptible to biases. This article addresses basic principles of epidemiology, probability, and the use of case-case design to identify the source of an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to raw milk cheese consumption in Quebec, Canada; a small number of cases with the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profile were involved. Between 4 December 2008 and 15 January 2009, a cumulative total of 16 E. coli O157:H7 cases with the same PFGE profile were reported to Quebec public health authorities. Among the first six cases reported, three had consumed raw milk cheese from the same producer (cheese A). Raw milk cheese is consumed by about 2 % of the Quebec population. By using the exact probability calculation, it was found that a significantly higher proportion of E. coli O157:H7 cases (with the specific PFGE profile) than expected had consumed cheese A (P
Fate of Listeria monocytogenes on fully ripened Greek Graviera cheese stored at 4, 12, or 25 degrees C in air or vacuum packages: in situ PCR detection of a cocktail of bacteriocins potentially contributing to pathogen inhibition.
The behavior of Listeria monocytogenes on fully ripened Greek Graviera cheese was evaluated. Three batches (A, B, and C) were tested. Batches A and C were prepared with a commercial starter culture, while in batch B the starter culture was combined with an enterocin-producing Enterococcus faecium Graviera isolate. Cheese pieces were surface inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes at ca. 3 log CFU/cm2, packed under air or vacuum conditions, stored at 4, 12, or 25 degrees C, and analyzed after 0, 3, 7, 15, 30, 60, and 90 days. L. monocytogenes did not grow on the cheese surface, regardless of storage conditions. However, long-term survival of the pathogen was noted in all treatments, being the highest (P
An outbreak of febrile gastroenteritis affected consumers of on-farm manufactured dairy products from a summer farm in Sweden. Symptoms included diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps and vomiting in 88, 60, 54 and 21% of cases identified. The median incubation period was 31 h. A cohort study with 33 consumers showed an attack rate of 52% and an association between the total amount of product eaten and illness (P=0.07). Twenty-seven of 32 (84%) stool samples cultured for Listeria monocytogenes tested positive, although there was no association between clinical disease and the isolation of L. monocytogenes. In addition, gene sequences for VTEC and ETEC were detected in 6 and 1 subjects, respectively. Bacteriological analysis of cheese samples revealed heavy contamination with L. monocytogenes and coagulase positive staphylococci in all of them and gene markers for VTEC in one of them. Molecular profiles for L. monocytogenes isolated from dairy products, stool samples and an abscess from 1 patient who developed septic arthritis were identical. Results of both microbiological and epidemiological analyses point to L. monocytogenes as the most likely cause of this outbreak. The finding of markers for VTEC in some humans and cheese samples means that a mixed aetiology at least in some cases cannot be conclusively ruled out.