Thursday, June 26, 2008

How Do Tomatoes Get Salmonella? From poop to produce.
By Ryan Hagen in Slate
Federal health officials are still trying to pinpoint the source of the salmonella-tainted tomatoes that sickened at least 167 people in 17 states since April and claimed the life of a Texas cancer patient. How can salmonella, a bacterium that normally lives inside animal intestines, get on your tomatoes?
Manure, runoff, and wild animals. Livestock animals, especially when kept in large numbers in confined spaces, can contract salmonella and carry the bug without showing any symptoms at all. Infected cows, pigs, and chickens shed the bacteria in their waste, which is sometimes used to fertilize nearby fields. The heat generated when manure is composted kills off most, but not all, disease-causing bacteria.
Contaminated water supplies can also put salmonella on your tomatoes. Runoff from livestock pastures, or from leaky or overtopped waste lagoons at industrial farming sites, can dirty streams, groundwater, and other bodies of water farmers draw on for irrigation. According to an FDA investigation, that was the likely cause of a 2002 salmonella outbreak in imported Mexican cantaloupes.
Since salmonella can infect anything with an intestinal tract, wild animals can spread the bacteria onto crops through their own droppings or from fecal matter they track in from elsewhere. The 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach, for example, was traced to a pack of wandering wild boars. The swine had picked up tainted cow manure on their hooves before breaking through the fence of a nearby spinach field to graze.
Producers do rinse their harvest with chlorinated water to remove most of the harmful bacteria, but enough can be left to make you sick. If the skin of a tomato is punctured when the fruit is picked from the vine or when presliced for sale in a supermarket or restaurant, then bacteria get inside, and no amount of washing will make it safe to eat. This is partly why on-the-vine tomatoes have been exempt from this most recent salmonella scare.
Salmonella and E. coli poisoning used to be primarily associated with the consumption of undercooked meat. But that's changing, as produce-related outbreaks become more common and more widely publicized. In 1999, produce was responsible for 40 separate food poisoning incidents in the United States. In 2004, that number climbed to 86. There have been 13 major outbreaks involving tomatoes alone since 1990.
Why the shift? One factor is a lack of inspections of farms and packing plants by the Food and Drug Administration, which means that more contaminated produce slips into the market undetected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects every meatpacking plant in the country each day, keeping close tabs on safety conditions. By contrast, the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with regulating produce, might inspect a vegetable packing facility once a year, and the number of inspections is shrinking. In 1972, the FDA inspected 50,000 farms and plants. By 2006, that number had dwindled to 10,000. Meanwhile, having increasingly centralized packing plants means that crops from a single contaminated field can mingle with clean produce and be shipped across a wider swath of the country than ever before.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Scientists 'on brink of cure' for superbug

Simple procedure of placing a gel inside the nose could provide 'major breakthrough' within three years in hospitals' battle against MRSA

National/regional guidelines for antibiotic resistance

Ameet Bhuvan from Vellore has informed about this article
Need for national/regional guidelines and policies in India to combat antibiotic resistance
Lakshmi V Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Panjagutta, Hyderabad - 500 082, Andhra Pradesh India;year=2008;volume=26;issue=2;spage=105;epage=107;aulast=Lakshmi

MRSA: The cure

New drug undergoing human trials offers hope of breakthrough. Gel placed in the nose could beat superbug that kills 1,600 every year

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Antibiotic usage-CME

Information from Dr. Radha Madhavan
A CME programme is being organized with lectures and plans of actions against emergence of drug resistance at SRM Medical College Hospital and research center at Kattankulathur, Kanchipuram District Tamilnadu 603203, on behalf of association of Microbiologists of Tamilnadu and pondicherry chapter by the middle of September 2008.
(Dr. Radha Madhavan, Proffesor of HCD, Dept of Microbiology, SRM MCH ARC,
Kattankuathar, Chennai.

Read The ``TRUE LIFE STORY``of a family infected with MRSA