October 28, 2016

Gastrointestinal Outbreak at Jail in Wyoming in 2015

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has published a report on a gastrointestinal illness outbreak associated with rancid tortilla chips that occurred at a correctional facility in Wyoming in October 2015. This outbreak was not reported to the public when it happened last year. A county health department notified the Wyoming Department of Health of an outbreak on October 12, 2015. Most of those sickened got sick within one to three hours after eating lunch served at the facility cafeteria at noon on October 11. Residents and staff members reported that the tortillas chips served at the lunch "tasted and smelled like chemicals." A case control study was conducted by the county health department and the Wyoming Department of Health. Multivariate logistic regression … [Read more...]

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Stops Growing

The hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that has sickened hundreds of people has stopped growing, according to a new post by the Hawaii state Department of Health. From October 6 to October 19, 2016, three new cases were identified. In the last week, no new cases were identified. Illness onset dates have ranged from 6/12/16 - 10/9/16. In total, 291 people were sickened in this outbreak. Seventy-three of them, or 25%, had to be hospitalized because they were so sick. The typical hospitalization rate in a hepatitis A outbreak is about 20%, so the number of people hospitalized in this outbreak is slightly higher than average. The 50 day maximum incubation period from the time the outbreak cause was identified has passed, so no new primary onset cases should be reported. Officials … [Read more...]

Shigella Outbreak in Moberly MO Public Schools

News reports are stating that a Shigella outbreak has occurred at Moberly Public Schools in Missouri in September 2016. "Several" cases at those schools occurred, and cases are now declining. There is no mention of this outbreak on the Randolph County Health Department website or the Moberly Public Schools website. A Shigella outbreak last spring in Moniteau County in central Missouri sickened at least 70 people. That outbreak was also centered on schools. A letter was sent to parents at the end of September, asking them to keep children home if they are experiencing the symptoms of shigellosis, the illness caused by this bacteria. ABC17 states that the letter says 23 people were sickened in this outbreak. Those symptoms include diarrhea that can be bloody, vomiting, fever, … [Read more...]

FDA Bans Certain Egyptian Frozen Strawberries for Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe products that were made with frozen strawberries has sickened at least 134 people, according to the FDA. Those berries were allegedly imported from Egypt, according to government officials. Now the FDA has issued an import alert banning frozen strawberries from one Egyptian facility, although a portion of the alert with details about the ban is redacted. The only portion in the "notes" field on the alert that isn't blacked out is the phrase "Problem(s): Hepatitis A (1b)." The facility is the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing. The "1b" denotes the strain of hepatitis A. A notice posted on the Virginia Department of Health website in August 2016 states that testing on the patients has confirmed … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Whole Foods in Detroit, MI

Two cases of hepatitis A have been linked to Whole Foods Market at 115 Mack in Detroit, Michigan, according to the Detroit Health Department. News reports state that the illnesses are linked to the prepared foods section. That section includes the salad bar, pizza station, hot and cold delis, and packaged meals. One ill person is an employee who handles prepared food at the store, and the other ate prepared food purchased at that store. Public health officials do not know how each person contracted the illness, but are saying that anyone who may have eaten food purchased at the prepared foods section at that particular store on October 6 through October 12, 2016 may have been exposed to the virus. No other cases have been reported to date. It's now too late for people who ate there … [Read more...]

CDC Updates Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Strawberries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating its investigation into the hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. As of October 17, 2016, 134 people with the illness have been reported from nine states. The outbreak case count by state is: Arkansas (1), California (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (107), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (1). Fifty-two ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The patient in Oregon purchased smoothies from a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Virginia while traveling. The outbreak case count is so high in Virginia because Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in that state, as well as in Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia, received the … [Read more...]

Oahu, Hawaii McDonald’s Worker Sick with Hepatitis A

A worker at the McDonald's of Kahala restaurant at 4618 Kilauea Avenue in Honolulu, Oahu has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. This announcement was made on the page that agency established for updates on the hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened almost 300 people in that state. Those sickened ate raw scallops at Genki Sushi restaurants that were imported from the Philippines. The outbreak has slowed considerably in the past few weeks. The food worker at McDonald's worked September 20-21, 23-24, 27-28, and October 1, 4-5, 7 and 11, 2016. If you ate or drank anything at that restaurant on those days, you may have been exposed to hepatitis A. State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a statement, "This case was identified and … [Read more...]

CDC Declares Adams Farm E. coli Outbreak Over

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted their final update on the investigation into the multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to beef products produced by Adams Farm. This outbreak appears to be over. Eleven people were infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 in five states. Seven of those people were hospitalized. One ill person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported. The case count by state is: Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (5), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (1), and West Virginia (1).  Illness onset dates ranged from June 27, 2016 to September 10, 206. The patient age range was from 1 year to 74, with a median age of 32. Forty-five percent of ill … [Read more...]

Wellfleet Shellfish Beds Closed After Norovirus Outbreak

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries have announced that the shellfish beds in the town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod have been closed because of a large norovirus outbreak believed linked to the consumption of shellfish in that area. At least 75 suspect cases of norovirus were reported over a two day time period last week, mostly associated with eating raw shellfish at weddings and restaurants in the Outer Cape Cod area. The shellfish growing areas that are affected are Wellfleet Harbor, Herring River, Wellfleet Inner Harbor, and Loagy Bay. You can see maps of the closed regions at the Mass.gov web site. The symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, fever, chills, and muscle aches. This … [Read more...]

Mighty Taco Outbreak Caused by Bacillus Cereus

The food poisoning outbreak at Mighty Taco restaurants in Erie and Niagara Counties in New York state was caused by Bacillus cereus, Mary C. St. Mary of the Erie County Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin. At least 158 people have been sickened in this outbreak. The statement she sent to us reads: "The Wadsworth Center, the public health laboratory of the New York State Department of Health, has identified Bacillus cereus in patient clinical specimens, as well as from refried beans collected from Mighty Taco restaurants, as part of an investigation into gastrointestinal illness among several patrons of certain Mighty Taco restaurants. Bacillus cereus is a type of bacteria that produces a toxin that causes illness, usually resulting in vomiting within 30 minutes to 6 … [Read more...]

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