(17/861) Chloracne, goiter, arthritis, and anemia after polychlorinated biphenyl poisoning: 14-year follow-Up of the Taiwan Yucheng cohort.

In 1979, a mass poisoning involving 2,000 people occurred in central Taiwan from ingestion of cooking oil contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). We studied the prevalence of medical conditions in the exposed individuals and in a neighborhood control group. Starting with a registry of the exposed individuals from 1983, we updated the addresses of exposed individuals and identified a control group matched for age, sex, and neighborhood in 1979. In 1993, individuals 30 years of age or older were interviewed by telephone. We obtained usable information from 795 exposed subjects and 693 control subjects. Lifetime prevalence of chloracne, abnormal nails, hyperkeratosis, skin allergy, goiter, headache, gum pigmentation, and broken teeth were observed more frequently in the PCB/PCDF-exposed men and women. The exposed women reported anemia 2. 3 times more frequently than controls. The exposed men reported arthritis and herniated intervertebral disks 4.1 and 2.9 times, respectively, more frequently than controls. There was no difference in reported prevalences of other medical conditions. We conclude that Taiwanese people exposed to high levels of PCBs and PCDFs reported more frequent medical problems, including skin diseases, goiter, anemia, and joint and spine diseases.  (+info)

(18/861) Toxigenic strains of Bacillus licheniformis related to food poisoning.

Toxin-producing isolates of Bacillus licheniformis were obtained from foods involved in food poisoning incidents, from raw milk, and from industrially produced baby food. The toxin detection method, based on the inhibition of boar spermatozoan motility, has been shown previously to be a sensitive assay for the emetic toxin of Bacillus cereus, cereulide. Cell extracts of the toxigenic B. licheniformis isolates inhibited sperm motility, damaged cell membrane integrity, depleted cellular ATP, and swelled the acrosome, but no mitochondrial damage was observed. The responsible agent from the B. licheniformis isolates was partially purified. It showed physicochemical properties similar to those of cereulide, despite having very different biological activity. The toxic agent was nonproteinaceous; soluble in 50 and 100% methanol; and insensitive to heat, protease, and acid or alkali and of a molecular mass smaller than 10,000 g mol(-1). The toxic B. licheniformis isolates inhibited growth of Corynebacterium renale DSM 20688(T), but not all inhibitory isolates were sperm toxic. The food poisoning-related isolates were beta-hemolytic, grew anaerobically and at 55 degrees C but not at 10 degrees C, and were nondistinguishable from the type strain of B. licheniformis, DSM 13(T), by a broad spectrum of biochemical tests. Ribotyping revealed more diversity; the toxin producers were divided among four ribotypes when cut with PvuII and among six when cut with EcoRI, but many of the ribotypes also contained nontoxigenic isolates. When ribotyped with PvuII, most toxin-producing isolates shared bands at 2.8 +/- 0.2, 4.9 +/- 0.3, and 11.7 +/- 0.5 or 13.1 +/- 0.8 kb.  (+info)

(19/861) Food-related illness and death in the United States.

To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60, 000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.  (+info)

(20/861) Infections associated with eating seed sprouts: an international concern.

Recent outbreaks of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with raw seed sprouts have occurred in several countries. Subjective evaluations indicate that pathogens can exceed 107 per gram of sprouts produced from inoculated seeds during sprout production without adversely affecting appearance. Treating seeds and sprouts with chlorinated water or other disinfectants fails to eliminate the pathogens. A comprehensive approach based on good manufacturing practices and principles of hazard analysis and critical control points can reduce the risk of sprout-associated disease. Until effective measures to prevent sprout-associated illness are identified, persons who wish to reduce their risk of foodborne illness from raw sprouts are advised not to eat them; in particular, persons at high risk for severe complications of infections with Salmonella or E. coli O157:H7, such as the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems, should not eat raw sprouts.  (+info)

(21/861) Toxic effects of mycotoxins in humans.

Mycotoxicoses are diseases caused by mycotoxins, i.e. secondary metabolites of moulds. Although they occur more frequently in areas with a hot and humid climate, favourable for the growth of moulds, they can also be found in temperate zones. Exposure to mycotoxins is mostly by ingestion, but also occurs by the dermal and inhalation routes. Mycotoxicoses often remain unrecognized by medical professionals, except when large numbers of people are involved. The present article reviews outbreaks of mycotoxicoses where the mycotoxic etiology of the disease is supported by mycotoxin analysis or identification of mycotoxin-producing fungi. Epidemiological, clinical and histological findings (when available) in outbreaks of mycotoxicoses resulting from exposure to aflatoxins, ergot, trichothecenes, ochratoxins, 3-nitropropionic acid, zearalenone and fumonisins are discussed.  (+info)

(22/861) Ciguatera fish poisoning.

Ciguatera fish poisoning is one of a variety of non-bacterial forms of human seafood poisoning. Consuming large predatory fish from tropical reef ecosystems may be hazardous. We describe a case that is typical of the disease, and illustrates the persistence of neurological symptoms that occur in some patients.  (+info)

(23/861) An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis linked to a foodhandler.

In September and October 1998, a cryptosporidiosis outbreak occurred on a Washington, DC, university campus. In a case-control study of 88 case patients and 67 control subjects, eating in 1 of 2 cafeterias was associated with diarrheal illness (P<.001). Morbidity was associated with eating dinner on 22 September (odds ratio, 8.1; 95% confidence interval, 3.4-19.5); weaker associations were found for 6 other meals. Cryptosporidium parvum was detected in stool specimens of 16 (70%) of 23 ill students and 2 of 4 ill employees. One ill foodhandler with laboratory-confirmed C. parvum prepared raw produce on 20-22 September. All 25 Cryptosporidium isolates submitted for DNA analysis, including 3 from the ill foodhandler, were genotype 1. This outbreak illustrates the potential for cryptosporidiosis to cause foodborne illness. Epidemiologic and molecular evidence indicate that an ill foodhandler was the likely outbreak source.  (+info)

(24/861) Marine algal toxins: origins, health effects, and their increased occurrence.

Certain marine algae produce potent toxins that impact human health through the consumption of contaminated shellfish and finfish and through water or aerosol exposure. Over the past three decades, the frequency and global distribution of toxic algal incidents appear to have increased, and human intoxications from novel algal sources have occurred. This increase is of particular concern, since it parallels recent evidence of large-scale ecologic disturbances that coincide with trends in global warming. The extent to which human activities have contributed to their increase therefore comes into question. This review summarizes the origins and health effects of marine algal toxins, as well as changes in their current global distribution, and examines possible causes for the recent increase in their occurrence.  (+info)