Weekly Update: The war on antimicrobial resistance; Careful of those pig ears; Dollar oysters in Europe test positive for norovirus
Gus Brihn


The war on antimicrobial resistance

On July 16th, Dr. Irene Bueno-Padilla of the University of Minnesota and Joshua Burman of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency gave a presentation on antibiotics in the environment. The presentation was part four of a five-part webinar series hosted by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association and Minnesota One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative. The objectives of this series are to :

  • Describe the problem of antibiotic resistance from public health and clinical veterinary perspectives.
  • Discuss best practices of antibiotic use in companion animal and food animal medicine.
  • Identify specific ways to incorporate antibiotic stewardship into your clinical practice.
  • Recognize the impact of antibiotic use on the natural environment and the potential impact on animal and public health.

In addition, in a new study, researchers examined data from 31 previously published studies to assess non-prescription antibiotic use in the U.S. and the factors that may contribute to it. One troubling area found is the use of antibiotics by people either prior to visiting the doctor or with intending to visit the doctor. The study highlighted that one in four people had used or intended to use antibiotics without a prescription and almost half of the people store antibiotics for future use.

The study discusses reasons why this may be, which are not all that different to concerns of antimicrobial resistance in the animal world. One issue discussed is the prescription of antibiotics for illness such as viral infection, which do not require antibiotics. However, another discussion revolves around insurance. The cost of drugs or a doctor’s visit in human medicine deters some people from seeing the doctor; therefore, possibly leading to self-medication. An interesting debate is the expansion of insurance into the pet sphere, which could reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.




Careful of those pig ears

A multistate outbreak of multidrug resistant Salmonella associated with pig-ear treats continues, and a new company joins the list of recalls. Lennox Intl Inc. of Edison, NJ, recalled its Natural Pig Ears because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Salmonella can affect pets causing illness with symptoms of lethargy, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, but may also present with symptoms as mild as decreased appetite and abdominal pain. Further, Salmonella is not just a risk to your pets eating pig ears, but there is a further risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if people have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products.

To date, a total of 93 people from 27 states have been confirmed infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella and 20 of those people have been reported hospitalized. In addition, Lennox said it is aware of two cases of its pig ears causing dog illnesses which may be related to the potential Salmonella contamination behind the ongoing FDA investigation of illness.

Food Safety News


Dollar oysters in Europe test positive for norovirus

According to a survey done, one in three oysters sampled from production areas in Europe were positive for norovirus. Data submitted to the European Food Safety Authority showed human fecal contamination in these production areas. The survey also found significant difference in noroviruses between production areas compared to dispatch batches. The prevalence at production areas was estimated to be 34.5 percent, while for batches from dispatch centers it was 10.8 percent.

Norovirus is a foodborne pathogen that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pains. It usually affects a person in 12-48 hours after being exposed to the virus with most people recovering within one to three days. Although often called the "stomach flu," it is NOT related to the influenza virus (flu virus).

The report further states that the presented findings of a more than one-in-three likelihood of EU oyster production being NoV contaminated, with such contamination in more than one in ten batches dispatched for human consumption, highlights the potential hazard of NoV when producing oysters for consumption. In addition, the analysis showed a high seasonal effect with higher contamination in November and April. The analysis concludes that the two current bacteriological microbiological criteria may be complimented by NoV criterion for operators of dispatch centers, and microbiological criterion should take into account the point in the oyster production chain at which it would apply and seasonal variation in impact.

Food Safety News


Gus Brihn

Gus Brihn

Gus completed his undergraduate degree at the U of M in Global Studies, and has spent much of his time abroad, including time in France and Namibia. Gus became interested in emergency medicine from becoming a Wilderness First Responder and NR-EMT. He completed his veterinary degree at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Gus is interested in zoonotic disease outbreak investigation, prevention, and epidemiology. Outside of work, Gus enjoys rock climbing and doing Brazilian Jiu jitsu. He has an 11 year-old Staffordshire terrier mix breed dog named Sweet Pea.