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Japan: Food Poisoning Outbreak Affects 892 People
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Food Poisoning Outbreak Affects 892 People
NAGAHATA, Ishikawa Prefecture – A total of 892 people have been confirmed as victims of a food poisoning outbreak that occurred at the “Otaki Tourist Nagashi Somen” restaurant in Ushikubi, Nagahata Town, in August.
This marks the highest number of food poisoning cases in Ishikawa Prefecture since the Heisei era.
Patients came from 18 different prefectures, with the increase in cases attributed to an influx of visitors during the Bon Festival period.
While some patients required hospitalization, all have since recovered. The prefectural authorities are emphasizing the need for strict hygiene management.
screenshot from youtube
According to the prefecture, the affected individuals belonged to 422 different groups and ranged in age from 1 to 80 years old. The illnesses occurred between August 11th and 17th, following visits to the restaurant. All patients reported symptoms such as fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain, with 22 of them requiring temporary hospitalization. So far, a total of 1,298 inquiries were received by the prefecture, leading to the confirmation of the number of patients based on symptoms and circumstances.
Through on-site investigations conducted by health officials, the source of the food poisoning was identified as the bacterium “Campylobacter,” found in the spring water used for nagashi somen. The exact cause of contamination of the spring water remains unknown. In September, the prefecture issued a notice to approximately 550 restaurants within the prefecture using well water or spring water, urging them to conduct proper water quality testing.
The restaurant faced a three-day suspension of operations and has concluded its business for the year. Otaki Tourist, the company operating the restaurant, admitted on its website that it had not conducted water quality tests before commencing operations. The company is also in the process of compensating the victims and has announced plans to permanently close after concluding its operations.
In terms of food poisoning cases reported in Ishikawa Prefecture since the Heisei era, this incident surpasses the previous highest of 540 cases caused by the Welsh bacterium in November 2002 in Shiga Town.
Campylobacter is a bacterium that inhabits the intestines of livestock such as chickens, cows, and pigs. When ingested through food, it can lead to symptoms such as gastroenteritis, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, dizziness, and in rare cases, even Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can result in difficulty breathing. Campylobacter can be effectively eliminated by heating at temperatures above 75 degrees Celsius for at least one minute, making thorough cooking a preventive measure.
What is Campylobacter bacteria?
Campylobacter is a genus of bacteria that includes various species known for their association with foodborne illness in humans.
The most common species causing infections in humans is Campylobacter jejuni, although Campylobacter coli can also be a source of infection.
These bacteria are commonly found in the intestines of animals, particularly poultry (such as chickens and turkeys), cattle, pigs, and other domesticated animals.
Here are some key points about Campylobacter bacteria:
Transmission: Campylobacter bacteria are typically transmitted to humans through the consumption of contaminated food, particularly undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk, and contaminated water. Cross-contamination during food preparation is also a common route of transmission.
Symptoms: Infection with Campylobacter can lead to a condition known as campylobacteriosis. Symptoms typically include diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. The illness usually begins 2 to 5 days after exposure and can last for about a week. In some cases, it can lead to more severe complications.
Complications: While most cases of campylobacteriosis are mild and self-limiting, some individuals, particularly those with weakened immune systems, can experience more severe complications. These complications can include bloodstream infections and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis.
Treatment: In most cases, campylobacteriosis resolves on its own without the need for specific medical treatment. However, in severe cases or cases with complications, antibiotics may be prescribed by a healthcare provider.
Prevention: To prevent Campylobacter infection, it’s important to practice good food safety measures, including thorough cooking of poultry and other meats, avoiding the consumption of raw or unpasteurized dairy products, and practicing proper hand hygiene when handling food.
Temperature Sensitivity: Campylobacter bacteria are sensitive to heat. Proper cooking, with internal temperatures reaching at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius), can effectively kill these bacteria in food.
Global Prevalence: Campylobacter infections are one of the most common causes of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, with millions of cases reported annually. It’s especially prevalent in industrialized nations.
Because Campylobacter infections can be quite common and cause a range of symptoms, it’s important to take precautions when handling and consuming food to reduce the risk of infection.
Previous Food Poisoning in Japan
Japan: Food Poisoning Outbreak Affects 892 People
(source:internet, reference only)
Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.