More salmonella scare

Singapore December 23rd, 2007

Hmm… I am not sure how this news escaped from me, but apparently, another restaurant had been hit by salmonella. Again. A test done on a chef turned out positive, but this was different from the ones that were found on customers who were affected.

Personally, I am suspecting that the monsoon season might have something to do with it – at least for the recent case. A search on would have returned results that hinted of a possibility of the spread of the bacteria via fishes and other crustaceans.

Quoted from one paper (A. A. Mohamed Hatha and P. Lakshmanaperumalsamy. Department of Environmental Sciences, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore—641 046, Tamil Nadu, India. Received 27 March 1996.  Available online 18 April 2002.):

Seven hundred and thirty fishes and 276 crustaceans collected from various fish markets of Coimbatore, South India, over a period of 2 years (September 1990 to August 1992) were analysed for the prevalence of Salmonella. Fishes (14.25%) and 17.39% of crustaceans were found to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Of the different fishes analysed, the highest incidence of Salmonella was seen in Scopelidae (28%) followed by Trachnidae (26.9%). Among crustaceans Portunus pelagicus (33.33%) showed the highest incidence followed byScylla serrata(28.57%).

A well-marked seasonal variation in the incidence pattern was observed in both fishes and crustaceans with a higher incidence during monsoon season followed by post-monsoon and pre-monsoon. The region of the body that showed frequent isolation was the alimentary canal in fishes (41.33%) and gills (35.06%) in crustaceans.

Serotyping of the isolates revealed prevalence of Salmonella weltevreden, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi B, Salmonella mgulani and Salmonella typhimuriumin both fishes and crustaceans.Salmonella senftenberg was isolated only from crustaceans.

That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? In a nut shell, its findings 15 years ago showed that Salmonella is frequently spread by fishes and crustaceans based on their investigations from the wet markets of South India.

However, it is very common for bacteria to be transmitted via various forms of meat, including fishes because these are usually very good dwelling places for bacteria. In the ocean, this is more so because of the many microbes that are present in the waters.

So the next time you get any seafood, do rinse it careful before preparing it.

THE main kitchen at Sentosa Golf Club may be closed after a recent salmonella scare, but food is still being served and it is business as usual at the club.

Sixteen people fell ill and subsequently tested positive for salmonella after attending a seminar at the club on Dec 11. A chef, one of the eight kitchen staff who handled the food, later tested positive for salmonella.

But the chef’s salmonella strain is different from the one the 16 people were infected with. The source of their infection is still not known.

Last Friday, the club closed its kitchen so that all 16 of its kitchen staff could undergo medical checks.

The club has since ushered in a separate food and beverage team to prepare food for the restaurant, but operating from a different kitchen.

A club spokesman said: ‘The management has to take proactive steps to ensure that the highest levels of health and safety are observed.’

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) inspected the club’s restaurant on Friday. The NEA said it has found the premises to be ‘well maintained’.

The 16 people infected with salmonella were part of a bigger group present at the seminar on that day.

Earlier this month, 203 people came down with food poisoning after eating salmonella-tainted cakes from bakery chain PrimaDeli. Fifteen people were hospitalised.

People who catch the salmonella bacteria usually experience the mild form of the disease, which includes symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach pains and fever.

However, in some rare cases, the bacteria enters the bloodstream and can cause organ failure or death.

Article obtained from on 22nd December 2007

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