July 29, 2014

Minnesota E. coli Investigators Busy on Two Fronts

MN E. coli Attorney

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating two unrelated toxic E. coli outbreaks at the same time -- one on the Fond du Lac Reservation involving type O157:H7 and the other involving E. coli O111 at Applebees restaurants. In both outbreaks, officials are trying to pinpoint the source of contamination even while victims in the Applebees outbreak have launched an Applebees E. coli lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The Applebees outbreak was announced July 14 in a press release that alerted customers of the chain who ate there since June 20 to report if they suffered bloody diarrhea or severe diarrhea within days of their meal. Fifteen people have been confirmed as case patients, including four who were hospitalized, but Health Department spokesman Doug Schultz has … [Read more...]

Fond du Lac E. coli Outbreak Case Count Reaches 22

E. coli Infections and HUS

According to the Pioneer Press, at least 22 people have been sickened with E. coli O157 on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota. The Band of Lake Superior Chippewa posted news of the outbreak on Juy 21, 2014. There is no new information about this outbreak at the Minnesota Department of Health web site. This is not the same strain of E. coli associated with Applebee's restaurants that has sickened more than a dozen people in Minnesota. That is a rare strain of E. coli O111 that has not been seen in the United States until now. Food poisoning cases do increase in the summer months, as more people eat fresh produce that may be contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria, and more cook outdoors. Outdoor cooking must follow special food safety rules, including cooking chicken … [Read more...]

Cyclospora in 13 States Sickens 125

Cyclospora has sickened 125 people in 13 states

At least 125 cases of cyclospora infection have been reported in 13 states, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) in Minnesota.  Health officials have not determined if the cases are linked and a food source has not been identified. But as spike in cases is unusual. Cyclospora is a rare parasite normally associated with tropical or subtropical climates. In the U.S., cases of infection, called cyclosporiasis, are most often associated with travel. Last year, the single-celled organism burst into national headlines when a 25-state outbreak sickened 631 people, hospitalizing 49. Produce imported from Mexico was identified as the source of most of those illnesses. Cyclospora is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning microscopic amounts of … [Read more...]

Minnesota Applebees E. coli Outbreak Fact Sheet

Applebees-E.-coli-litigatio

Ten days after the Minnesota Department of Health created a health bulletin about an E. coli O111 outbreak associated with Applebees, there have been no new public pronouncements about the precise cause of the food poisoning episode or whether it spread beyond the state's borders. To date, here is what Food Poisoning Bulletin has learned from various sources: 15 people -- two more than originally announced -- have been confirmed as case patients by the Health Department. 12 of the 15 people say they ate at an Applebees in Minnesota between June 23 and June 29. The nine Minnesota Applebees locations named by the Health Department as linked to this outbreak are in Woodbury, Willmar, Monticello, Bemidji, New Hope, Duluth, Roseville and two locations in Blaine. Anyone who ate at a … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Cases Reported In Maine, Texas

Cyclospora in Texas and Maine

One year after a cyclospora outbreak swept through 25 states sickening 631 people, new cases of infection (cyclosporiasis) from the rare parasite have been reported in Maine and Texas. At least 61 cases have been reported in Texas. In Maine, four cases have been confirmed and test results on two other cases are pending. Health officials have not yet identified a food source for the outbreaks or established if cases in both states are related. Texas was hardest hit in last year's outbreak with 270 cases. Maine was not part of the 2013 outbreak and has not seen a case of cyclospora since 2010. Maine's four cases this year were reported between June 24 and July 7. For three of those patients, onset of illness began between May 27 and June 15.  The Texas cases were also reported over the … [Read more...]

Outbreak of Cyclospora in Texas

Cyclospora Parasites

The Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPH) announced on their Facebook page that there is an outbreak of Cyclospora that has sickened at least 69 people in northern Texas within the last month. Reports of this illness always increase in the summer, but this news comes almost a year to the day when a huge cyclosporiasis outbreak sickened at least 631 people in 25 states. Most of those illnesses were linked to contaminated produce that was imported from Mexico. Public health officials are encouraging healthcare providers to test patients for cyclosporiasis if they have diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, or diarrhea that is accompanied by weight loss, loss of appetite, or fatigue. Nine cases have been reported to TCPH this month; the county has only had one case since … [Read more...]

CDPH Issues Final Report on 2013 E. coli Outbreak at Trader Joe’s and Walgreens

E. coli O157:H7 Salad Outbreak 12.11.13

The California Department of Public Health has released a report on their investigation into the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in October 2013 associated with pre-packaged salads sold at Costco and Walgreens stores. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their final report on this outbreak in December 2013. Thirty-three people were sickened in this outbreak; seven of those people were hospitalized. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of an E. coli infection, from their illness. No deaths were reported. The outbreak count per state was: Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3). The STEC O157:H7 PFGE pattern was new to the PulseNet database. Epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicated that Field … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak on Fond du Lac Reservation

E. coli BAct

An E. coli outbreak has sickened between six and 12 members of the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior Chippewa on the reservation in northeastern MN near Cloquet, about 20 miles west of Duluth. Health authorities say they have not yet determined the food source of the outbreak or the specific bacterial strain. The Minnesota Department of Health is currently investigating an E.coli O111 outbreak in the Twin Cities area. That outbreak has sickened at least 15 people, some of whom ate at Applebee's restaurants between June 23 and June 29 before becoming ill. Four of those sickened in the Twin Cities area were hospitalized and are recovering. Labs do not normally test for E. coli O111, a less common strain of the bacteria, so some cases may not yet be diagnosed. Symptoms of an E. coli … [Read more...]

E. coli O111: Harmful Bug in Spotlight at Minnesota Applebees

E. coli BAct

The Applebees E. coli outbreak in Minnesota has prompted a lawsuit and put a well-known but less prevalent type of pathogenic E. coli in the public spotlight this summer. E. coli O111 can be just as virulent as its better-known cousin, E. coli O157:H7, but it makes fewer appearances in outbreaks that are confirmed by public health officials. In fact, the pathogen doesn't show up in any multi-state E. coli outbreaks tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the past decade, according to CDC data reviewed by Food Poisoning Bulletin. U.S. health records show the last time that E. coli O111 made a major splash in this country was August 2008 when one person was killed and another 340 people  were sickened in a foodborne outbreak linked to Country Cottage restaurant in … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Chia Powder Grows to 25

Salmonella Chia Powder Outbreak 71714

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated their investigation into the Salmonella outbreak inked to organic sprouted chia powder. Now 25 people in 15 states have been sickened. Three people have been hospitalized; no deaths are reported. There are three separate strains of Salmonella bacteria in this particular outbreak. As of July 14, 2014, a total of 25 ill persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport (16 persons), Salmonella Hartford (7 persons), or Salmonella Oranienburg (2 persons) have been reported from 15 states. The number of ill persons in each state is: Arizona (1), California (3), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Florida (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New York (5), Ohio (1), Rhode Island (1), Texas (2), Utah (1), … [Read more...]

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