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                        Seminars in Midrand
                             and Cape Town
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 9

                                                                                                                                                                                         In this                                            Focus on ... emerging
                                                                                                                                                                                         edition ...
                                                                                                                                iana Fransm
                                                                                                                  epro Cape), D
                                                                                                     rin Hussey (H er of Crown National

                                                                                                  Ka                 sh
                                                                                                        and Ronel Fi
                                   Swift's Gaute
                                  Anel van Wyk Marketing Manager,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           E.coli 0157:H7: Adopting a
                                  de Vries, with                                                                                                                                              he World Health
                                  Prof Gouws                                                                                                                                                  Organisation defines
                                                                                                                                                                                              emerging pathogens as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           proactive approach
                                                                                                                                                                                         pathogens which appear in
                                                                                                                                                                                         a human population for the          What is E.coli?
                                                                                                                                                                                         first time, or have occurred      E.coli 0157:H7, the most common member of verocytotoxin-
                                                                                                                                                                                         previously but are increasing     producing Escherichia coli (VTEC), has emerged globally as a major cause
                                                                                                                                                                                         in incidence or expanding into    for concern. Although E.coli is a common organism found in the intestinal tracts
                                                                                                                                                                                         new areas. Changes in human       of humans and animals, most do not cause disease in humans. However, certain types can cause diarrhoeal
                                                                                                                Li Jia Shigwedha (M                                                      population and behaviour          disease or more serious forms of illness.
                                                                                                                                    eatco, Namibia), Sw
                                                                                                                 Chipaga and Rosa
                                                                                                                                   Katjivena (Meatco
                                                                                                                                                         ift's Alton                     place pressure on resources
                                                                                                                                                      , Namibia)                         and this, coupled with climate    The number of E.coli 0157:H7 required to cause illness is very low and, although the precise infectious dose
                                                                                                                                                                                         shifts and deforestation, the     is not known, it has been reported to be between 10 and 100 cells. E.coli 0157:H7 can survive high stomach
                                                                                                                                                                                         use of water-cooled air-          acidity and, even with such small numbers, infection can occur without any bacterial growth in food.
                                                                                                                                                                                         conditioning plants, changes
                                                                                                                                                                                         in industrial and agricultural
                                                                                                                                                                                         practices, inadequate design        Why have human infections increased?
                                                                                                                                                                                         or operation of piped water       There has been a change in dietary habits, with a higher consumption of fresh, minimally-processed fruit and

                                 Upcoming SeminarS
                                                                                                                                                                                         systems and water resources       vegetables as well as the increased use of salad bars and meals eaten outside the home.
                                                                                                                                                                                         are some of the conditions
                                                                                                                                                                                         predisposing the emergence

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             How is it transmitted?
                                         ue to the popularity of our recent seminars as well                                                                                             of pathogens.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           It spreads through food (ground beef, raw milk, lamb meat, venison biltong, salami and other dried-meat
                                         as demand from the industry, Swift will from now                                                                                                                                  products, lettuce, spinach, alfalfa sprouts and unpasteurised apple cider), water (drinking and swimming
                                         on host regular 1-day seminars on “hot topics”,                                                                                                 Increased awareness around
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           in unchlorinated water) and via direct person-to-person contact (changing nappies, through improper
                                 enlisting specialist speakers and covering the latest                                                                                                   food-borne pathogens led
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           sanitation, at day care and chronic adult-care facilities).
                                 developments and trends.                                                                                                                                Swift Micro Laboratories to
                                                                                                                                                                                         host a sold-out seminar on
                                 We are currently finalizing our 1-day seminar on SHELF                                                                                                  emerging pathogens in Cape          What are the complicating factors in South Africa?

                                                                                                   See our website for
                                 LIFE, which will be presented in Cape Town (2 July 2009)                                                                                                Town on 2 April 2009. Four        There are quite a few: food insecurity, weak food safety systems, the production of sub-standard foods, the

                                 and Gauteng (date to be announced). The shelf life of a                                                                                                 highly-regarded specialists       low priority given to food-borne illness and lack of control over street-vended foods.
                                 product, which generally indicates the period of time a                                                                                                 discussed E.coli 0157:H7

                                                                                                   more information
                                 product can be expected to be in good condition provided                                                                                                (Professor Pieter Gouws,
                                 prescribed storage conditions have been followed,                                                                                                       Associate Professor in Food         What are 0157:H7’s characteristics?
                                 is of crucial importance to both the manufacturer and                                                                                                   Microbiology, Department          It can create havoc unless a proactive approach is followed. Uniquely tolerant to acidic environments it can
                                 consumer. At our seminars invited subject specialists will                                                                                              of Biotechnology, University      survive fermentation, drying and storage for two months at 4°C; survives 1.5% organic acid sprays, lives in
                                 address everything from the definition and calculation                                                                                                  of the Western Cape),             apple cider for 32 days at 8°C and in mayonnaise for 7 weeks at 5°C. It is also resistant to antibiotics. A D value
                                 of shelf life, to the latest techniques utilized to extend the    or contact our Regional Marketing Managers, Anza
                                                                                                   Bester (Cape Region and Namibia) or Anel van Wyk de                                   Campylobacter (Professor          at 63°C of 9.6s should kill E.coli 0157:H7. Therefore, a temperature that will kill Salmonella will destroy E.coli
                                 shelf life of food products. Look out for our electronic                                                                                                                                  0157:H7- heating to an internal temperature of 69°C should be sufficient.
                                                                                                   Vries (Gauteng, Free State and Durban) with any queries
                                                                                                                                                                                         Albert Lastovica, Extraordinary
                                 newsletters or see our web-site for more information.
                                                                                                                                                                                         Professor in Biotechnology,
                                                                                                   or to arrange a non-obligatory visit to discuss a tailor-
                                 Registration for our Cape Town Shelf Life Seminar on                                                                                                    University of the Western
                                                                                                   made service to suit your individual needs.                                                                               How does E.coli 0157:H7 differ from E.coli?
                                 2 July 2009 has already opened, so book now – seats                                                                                                     Cape), Vibrio cholera
                                                                                                                                                                                         (Dr Jo Barnes, Epidemiologist                                 It is unable to grow well at 44°C, ferment sorbitol or produce ß-glucoronidase.
                                 are limited!
                                                                                                                                                                                         & Senior Lecturer in
                                                                                                                                                                                         Community Health, University                                                What can be done to minimise outbreaks?

                                                                                                                                                                                         of Stellenbosch) and                Alan Sanderson, Prof Lastovica,
                                                                                                                                                                                         Legionella (Alan Sanderson,           Dr Barnes and Prof Gouws
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Food safety responsibility rests with all potential food chain sources:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     from farm practices, primary and secondary processing to
                                                                                                                                                                                         Director, senior Legionella
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      distribution, retail and catering. HACCP is the key to safety.
    Five lucky readers will each win free entrance to one of our Shelf Life                                                                                                              consultant & risk assessor,
    Seminars. To enter the draw, simply give us a suggestion of a topic                                                                                                                  Ecosafe). Due to the                                                           On-farm control means animals and carcasses must be clean. Cross
    you would like to be covered at one of our future seminars.                                                                                                                          popularity of this seminar                                                     contamination in the food processing, distribution, retail and
                                                                                                                                                                                         it was also presented in                                                       catering sectors must be prevented, temperature needs to be
    To enter online visit our web-site, or alternatively contact Jolene Brooks                                                                                                           Midrand, Gauteng, on                                                           controlled and proper cleaning as well as sanitation is required.

    at our Cape Town office ( for an entry form which can be                                                                                                          22 May 2009.
    faxed back to us. Closing date for entries: 25 June 2009.                                                                                                                                                                                                           In terms of public health management, all cases of VTEC infection
                                                                                                                                                                                         The following is a summary                                                    should be investigated and control measures instituted
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:                                                                                                                                         of the most important                                                        without delay. Teamwork is essential, as is choosing a
                Swift’s marketing department or send an e-mail to                                                                                                      points discussed by the                                                     good lab and using approved methods.
                Cape Town (021) 683 8436 • Gauteng (011) 805 4310 •
4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1
    Campylobacter: is there a risk?                                                 There are more Campylobacters on food than was first realised and,
                                                                                    while it is possible to reduce them in the food chain, industry             Legionella: Control, prevention                                                                 Why do outbreaks occur?

      What is Campylobacter?
                                                                                    concern and action is needed.
                                                                                                                                                                and risk assessment                                                                          They arise when there is a lack of established procedures to check that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             actions (taken in response to an identified risk or problem) are correct,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             sufficient and effective. A lack of awareness and inadequate information
    It is an important food-borne                                                     Are there any current dilemmas?                                                                                                                                        regarding the design or operation of systems also lead to unforeseen
    pathogen in man and animals                                                                                                                                   What is
                                                                                    Optimal techniques for isolating emerging Campylobacters are not                                                                                                         risks.
    – causing enteritis, septic                                                                                                                                   Legionnaire’s Disease?
                                                                                    being used and little is known of the prevalence, persistence,
    abortion and diarrhoea in                                                       pathogenicity, environmental and animal reservoirs of emerging
    cattle and sheep and the                                                        Campylobacters.                                                             It is a potentially-fatal form                                                                  What are the risk systems?
    most common bacteria                                                                                                                                        of pneumonia caused by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             There are a few: open, evaporative cooling towers where process
    associated with paediatric                                                                                                                                  the bacterium Legionella
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             cooling or condensing cooling water is cooled directly by evaporation
    diarrhoea.     The disease                                                                                                                                  Pneumophila        that      is
    is generally more severe
    in developed countries,
                                                                                    Vibrio cholera:                                                             widespread in the natural
                                                                                                                                                                environment. It is com-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             whilst passing through a cooling tower; evaporative condensers;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             hot and cold domestic water distribution systems, and any plant or
    during summer and the                                                           Do we have to                                                               monly found in engineered
                                                                                                                                                                water systems e.g. cooling,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             system using water (where the water temperature could reside between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             20 and 60°C and where a spray or aerosol could be generated).
    late-autumn peak.      Most
    Campylobacter infection is                                                      be afraid?                                                                  processing, domestic and
    caused in humans by C jejuni,                                                                                                                               miscellaneous systems (such                                                                     Why are cooling towers associated with Legionella?
    while 1% of cases are due to                                                                                                                                as water features and bottle
                                                                                      What is cholera?                                                                                                                                                       Cooling towers have been associated with many previous outbreaks of
    other species.                                                                                                                                              washers).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Legionella because of a combination of contributing factors.
                                                                                    A re-emerging pathogen that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             These include:
                                                                                    has been around for many
      Where is it found?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       • Aerosol distribution of up to 4.5km
                                                                                    centuries, Vibrio cholera is an
                                                                                                                                                                  What conditions favour growth?                                                               • Warm water from the process that is cooled
    It occurs naturally in the intestinal tracts of wild and domesticated birds     acute infection of the digestive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               • The tower acts as an air scrubber from dirt and debris, creating an
    and animals; in fresh as well as salt water and sewerage; travels from          tract caused by the bacterium                                               Rapid growth occurs between 20 to 45°C when bacteria multiply to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  extensive aerosol
    person to person and is found in unpasteurised milk, uncooked beef,             Vibrio cholera, whose action on the                                         potentially infective numbers. Legionella can survive temperatures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               • It is exposed to sunlight which assists with biofilm growth
    lamb and poultry, liver and offal. It is also found in shellfish, lettuce       mucosal epithelium lining of the small                                      of up to 50°C. They need a supply of nutrients to grow and multiply,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               • Stagnant and intermittent areas in the tower allow for
    parsley, cilantro and sage.                                                     intestine is responsible for exhaustive diarrhoea.                          preferring to colonise static micro-environments in sludge, scale
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  biofilm growth
                                                                                                                                                                sediment or biofirm. They favour static or stagnant parts of a system.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               • Contamination from the process provides nutrients for
      What are the characteristics of the illness?                                    How is it caused?                                                                                                                                                           microbial growth
    Children and the elderly are most at risk, but anyone is susceptible.           People become infected after ingesting contaminated water and food            How would you be exposed to the bacteria?
    The incubation period is from three to four days, with only a low               or coming into contact with excreta from infected persons.                  The bacteria can be released from the system water into the                                         What information is needed for effective management?
    infective dose of 500 CFU needed to cause illness. Usually lasting                                                                                          atmosphere in the form of an aerosol. When that                                                   If you operate water systems such as showers, cooling towers and
    from two to seven days, it is characterised by mild to severe bloody            Besides directly-contaminated water, foodstuff eaten raw (such as           aerosol is inhaled, the bacteria                                                                   spray systems which create an aerosol, potential exists for being
    diarrhoea. Complications can include appendicitis and Crohn’s disease.          salads) or minimally-processed / cooked (such as blanched spinach)          grow and multiply                                                                                  exposed to Legionella. It is essential that a holistic view is taken and
                                                                                    often feature in the transmission of cholera in endemic areas. Fruit and    within the lungs and                                                                                the entire water system supplying these aerosol-generating outlets
                                                                                    vegetables washed in water that is contaminated with untreated or           the symptoms of
      How is it tested?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  is correctly managed.
                                                                                    inadequately-treated sewage are especially risky.                           Legionnaire’s Disease
    The Cape Town Protocol is an extremely efficient process which uses                                                                                         present.                                                                                                            Effective Legionella management requires an integrated
    filtration onto antibiotic-free isolation plates, incubation in a H2 enriched                                                                                                                                                                                                    approach with an increased acceptance of responsibility
    atmosphere and a phenotypic and biochemical typing scheme. It can                 What contributes to its risk?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      by all key role players. It can be achieved through the
    be identified by Gram stain, motility and morphology, growth in CO2 or          Slow-onset disasters such as drought, famine, desertification, pollution
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      implementation of practical and realistic solutions. These
    H2 enriched CO2 differential tests.                                             of the environment (or natural resources), deforestation, coastal erosion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        would include the following:
                                                                                    and slow epidemics such as HIV/AIDS all contribute to the risk.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Informing management about potential risks
      How can it be prevented?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           • Undertaking a thorough, site-specific baseline
                                                                                      What are the symptoms?                                                                                                                                                                                Legionella risk assessment
    Common-sense hygiene would avoid problems – such as good kitchen                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Undertaking site-specific remedial action
    hygiene with no cross contamination. Meat needs to be thoroughly                Cholera starts suddenly with painless, watery diarrhoea, nausea and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           • Generating a site-specific management plan
                                                                                    vomiting. Most affected people show mild or no symptoms but the

    cooked at 60°C and milk products must be pasteurised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        e contros
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           • Ensuring adequate microbiological monitoring
                                                                                    malnourished (or those already suffering from some serious medical
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (by trained personnel)

                                                                                    conditions) show particularly severe symptoms. Serious cholera

                                                                                                                                                                                              role in tpathogen
      What is the prevalence of Campylobacter in food products?                                                                                                                                                                                                                             • Having a well controlled water treatment
                                                                                    presents with severe diarrhoea accompanied in the early stages by
      Are there specific items that carry a higher risk?                            vomiting and nausea, followed by rapid dehydration.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             • Implementing an effective cleaning / housekeeping

    A wide range of Campylobacter spp is found in raw pork products and

                                                                                                                                                                                         of e
                                                                                      Who is most at risk?                                                                                                                                                                                    • Keeping a logbook system, training staff and
    fresh poultry (less is found in refrigerated poultry and least in frozen                                                                                                                                                                                                  gic al
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      robiolo ing                reviewing the process
    poultry). Chicks are Campy free at birth, colonized in the caeca by five        Newborns, babies, children, pregnant women, old people, those                                                                                                           ) for Mic
    days and translocated to the liver and other areas. There is no vertical                                                                                                                                                                     ry (SANAS e of the emerg
                                                                                    with diseases such as HIV/AIDS and the chronically malnourished are                                                                             laborato sts for thre           cholera
    transmission to the eggs. Chickens are more likely to be infected when          most vulnerable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           ISO17   025 acc ds includes te ella and Vibrio
                                                                                                                                                                                                        an                  o                    n                                   al
    multispecies farming, pigs or cattle are nearby.                                                                                                                                          tories is e of test meth coli 0157, Legio                                   Technic ,
                                                                                                                                                                                     Labora            ng                 ia                                      eting &             s

                                                                                      What factors contribute to its spread?                                         w  if t Micro d our vast ra ely Escherich                                      as th e Mark tion of result
    Campylobacter is frequently found in beef (up to 89%) also lamb
                                                                                                                                                                      tes  ting, an discussed, nam                                  ise known s, interpreta
    (92%) and pigs (76%). Milk is at risk but, due to the lower pH of               The migration of infected people, easy travel within the country,                             ens                                     (otherw pling plan
                                                                                                                                                                       pathog                                    rt team           am
    yoghurt and cheese, these items carry a lower risk. Sea water                   inadequate safe water and sanitation coverage, all contribute to the                                           ica l suppo assist with s solving to
                                                                                                                                                                                         ’s techn ld eagerly                     lem                  to
    can be contaminated with Campylobacter and infections might                     spread of the disease.                                                                     n, Swift             u                   e prob             roach
    occur when consuming raw clams, oysters, mussels and crab meat.                                                                                              In  additio artment) wo s and on-sit ro-active app support
                                                                                                                                                                              De  p               ion                 a p                 al
                                                                                                                                                                  Liaison                onstrat any adopts                     technic d Food
    Bottled water can also contain it.                                                                                                                                        g dem                p                   of our             an
                                                                                      Where does cholera flourish?                                                samplin at your com The members robiologists                               rly atte
                                                                                    It prefers brackish water, such as occurs in river estuaries where fresh       en  sure th athogens.                 ualifie d Mic ittees, regula Food /
                                                                                                                                                                                g  p               f q                 mm                    o f
      How can food-borne transmission be avoided?                                   water mixes with sea water or water in contact with algae. At the start         emergin omprising o us industry co ts in the field with the
                                                                                                                                                                    te a m ,
                                                                                                                                                                                c           on vario rk with exper re up-to-date as to best
    Good slaughtering practices are required as meat is normally                    of an outbreak, contaminated water constitutes a major source of                            ts, serve             o                  a                 o
    contaminated by the intestinal contents of the animal during                    infection, but subsequent cases are most often caused by contact                 Scientis ces, and netw re that they information, s porting of
                                                                                                                                                                              ren                 ensu               and                 ans
    slaughter. Adequate cooking will eliminate the risk of infection.               with human faeces or from contaminated food. In subsequent spread,                confe
                                                                                                                                                                                 t safe  ty to                 ents
                                                                                                                                                                                                     velopm ractical adv       ice on tr e of the test
                                                                                    flies also carry contamination from faeces to food.                               Produc rnational de                  ide p              ed, lead
                                                                                                                                                                       late  st inte They also prov sample requir .
    Campylobacter ‘s optimal growth temperature is 37 – 42°C and freezing                                                                                                         you  .                eo  f             que ry
    substantially reduces the cell count. It is also sensitive to drying,                                                                                               advise to Swift, volum sting related                                      sk for th
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            e                                                                             Legionella
                                                                                      What would long-term prevention strategies include?
                                                                                                                                                                        sample or any other
                                                                                                                                                                                                       te                              tter – a
    atmospheric O2, Gamma radiation and UV radiation (254nm), NACL                                                                                                                   s                                   this newsle
                                                                                                                                                                         method                                  ack of
         solutions (stronger than 0.5%), spices (e.g. cloves, oregano and           Most important would be to introduce improved sanitation systems and                                               n the b           rtment.
           garlic), ascorbic acid solutions (0.05%) and 70% alcohol.                to secure safe, clean irrigation water as well as the hygienic production                        t deta  ils are o Liaison Depa
                                                                                    of fresh produce. Sanitation systems include the adequate purification                 Contac g & Technical
                                                                                                                                                                            Ma  rketin
                                                                                    of drinking water (and for personal hygiene and food processing) as well
                                                                                    as the safe disposal of solid waste and sewerage.
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