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Australian Bandicoot Linked to Sydney Salmonella Illnesses

Bandicoot.jpgI spent about five weeks in Australia in 2007 giving speeches on food safety and enjoying a great country.  My daughter Sydney, loved the “I love Sydney” tshirts.

I was interested in the the mystery source of a Salmonella outbreak that forced the closure of Sydney playgrounds and gave dozens of toddler’s Salmonella gastroenteritis may have been solved.

Long-nosed bandicoots pooing in the sandpits may be the likely culprits, health investigators say.

Three children were taken to hospital with severe diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain during the gastro outbreak on the northern beaches between 2007 and 2009. A further 72 people, mostly young children, became ill.

The illness was blamed on the rare bacteria strain, Salmonella enterica Paratyphi B variant Java, found in some sandpits at public playgrounds and outdoor cafes around Pittwater.

But health authorities could not determine the source of the salmonella. There were theories it came from dirty nappies, cockroaches or the feces of rats, ducks and ibis.