December 19, 2014

Wisconsin Issues Final Report on Durand Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak

E.coli in raw milk sickened 12

A final report about the raw milk Campylobacter outbreak in Durand, Wisc. has been issued by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). The 25-page report confirms that the September outbreak, which sickened 38 people and hospitalized 10 who attended a football team potluck dinner, was caused by contaminated raw milk. The report does not name the farm that provided the milk, referring to it throughout as Farm A, but the name of the farm was released by the state agriculture department in response to an open records request by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The owners of  the Arkansaw, Wisc. farm, Roland and Diana Reed, did not tell attendees at the football potluck that the milk they contributed was unpasteurized.  The Reeds sell their milk to a local cheese maker and are … [Read more...]

Avian Flu Discovered in Wild Birds in Washington State

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The USDA released a press bulletin stating that highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza has been confirmed in wild birds in Washington state. The virus H5N2 has been found in Northern pintail ducks. This virus has decimated poultry farms in Canada and Asia. No bird flu virus has been found in commercial poultry in the U.S. and no human cases have been detected in the U.S., Canada, or internationally. The government stresses that the birds are safe to eat if they are "properly handled" and cooked to 165°F as verified with a meat thermometer. Therein lies the problem. The sick birds were in Whatcom County, Washington. Two strains were found: H5N2 in the ducks and HPAI H5N8 in captive Gyrfalcons that were fed wild birds killed by hunters. USDA is working with the U.S. Department of … [Read more...]

Bean Sprout Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 111 in 12 States

bean sprout Salmonella outbreak sickens 111

A bean sprout Salmonella outbreak has sickened 111 people in 12 states, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty six percent of those who became ill after eating sprouts produced by Wonton Foods Inc. of Brooklyn required hospitalization. The sprouts were sold at stores and served at restaurants on the East Coast. Since the last update on December 4, an additional 24 illnesses have been reported and the outbreak has spread to another state, Maryland. When the outbreak was announced November 21, Wonton Foods agreed to destroy any bean sprouts remaining and close its manufacturing facility for cleaning. On November 24, the firm resumed production and began shipping sprouts again November 29. Salmonella poisoning causes symptoms … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak at Hampstead, NH Schools

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A norovirus outbreak has been reported at the Hampstead Central and Middle Schools in Hampstead, New Hampshire. The school is posting a daily tally on the number of students sick with a "stomach bug".  Norovirus is also called viral gastroenteritis. The school calls the outbreak "significant numbers of students and absences." Staff members are enacting precautions in classrooms, and the custodians are increasing cleaning procedures. At least 60 students were sick last week. New cases were reported yesterday. Norovirus is a very contagious virus. Cases increase during the cold winter months because more people are together inside. The symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Fever is usually mild or absent. Most people recover within 1-2 days, but … [Read more...]

Despite Evidence, Farm Denies Link to Durand Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak

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Despite evidence, the farm identified as the source of a Campylobacter raw milk outbreak that sickened dozens of people who attended a football banquet in Durand, Wisconsin is denying responsibility. Health officials say the outbreak strain found in stool samples taken from those who became ill is a genetic match to the strain found in samples collected from a dairy farm operated by Roland and Diana Reed in Arkansaw, Wis. Still, Diana Reed says, it could have been the chicken. "We need to do a lot of fact-finding before we start pointing fingers," she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Any day now, the Wisconsin Department of Health is expected to release its final report on the outbreak, which sickened so many football players two football games had to be canceled. The report will … [Read more...]

At Least 100 Sick after Georgia High School Football Banquet

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According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, more than 100 people are sick after eating at a football banquet on December 8, 2014. The banquet was held at the Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia that is just outside of Atlanta. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Those symptoms could be indicative of many types of foodborne illness. The outbreak is being investigated by public health officials, but no causes have been identified. Investigators are interviewing patients and looking at the foods served at the banquet. One mother said her son was diagnosed with Salmonella, but that conclusion is not definitive. The school's principal sent a letter to football players and their parents informing them of the outbreak. The letter stated that "please … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak at Subway in Buena Vista, Colorado

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According to the Mountain Mail, a norovirus outbreak at a Subway sandwich shop in Buena Vista, Colorado has sickened at least 20 people. The illnesses occurred in mid-November 2014. Chaffee County Public Health was contacted by five people claiming illness after eating at the restaurant. Samples from five patients tested positive for norovirus. Most of the patients were students at Buena Vista High School. One employee from the restaurant reported being ill. That employee most likely caused the contamination, according to Victor Crocco, Chaffee County Environmental Health Manager. No more cases have been reported since November 20, 2014. The restaurant was not closed after the outbreak, but was cited for three "noncritical" violations. Workers at the restaurant cleaned all surfaces … [Read more...]

Minnesota E. coli Lawyer Lauds State Health Department

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Minnesota’s food poisoning investigators had a busy year with outbreaks in 2014, successfully tracing the cause of three separate clusters of E. coli hospitalizations and two waves of Salmonella infections. The efforts undoubtedly protected more people from contracting pathogen-related illnesses and gave victims of the solved outbreaks a chance to hold the purveyors accountable. A review by Food Poisoning Bulletin shows that four of the outbreaks had implications beyond the state’s borders, including findings of E. coli O157:H7 in celery that came from the Salinas Valley; E. coli O111 in cabbage purchased by units of a national restaurant chain  and Salmonella Enteritidis in a frozen chicken breast product mass-produced in Illinois for the American retail market. “The Minnesota … [Read more...]

Washington Shellfish Recalled After Norovirus Outbreak

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According to the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC), Washington state has issued a recall of shellfish after a norovirus-like outbreak occurred after an event. The Washington State Department of Health has also issued a notice. At least six people were sickened in this Oregon outbreak; two cases have been confirmed as Norovirus. The event had 100 attendees; about half ate oysters harvested from Hook Canal 5 and Hammersley Inlet in Mason County. Oysters are not definitively linked to the outbreak, since only 10% of the attendees of the event were interviewed, hand-washing facilities were not adequate so an ill employee could have contaminated foods, and the event was crowded so person-to-person transmission could have occurred. But, the Washington State Department of … [Read more...]

WI Names Farm Linked to Durand High School Campylobacter Outbreak

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Wisconsin health officials say the source of a Campylobacter raw milk outbreak that sickened 38 people in Durand Wis. earlier this fall is a farm operated by Roland and Diana Reed in Arkansaw, Wis. The name of the farm was released in response to an open records request by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  At least 38 people in Durand contracted Campylobacter infections from raw milk that the Reeds served at a banquet for the Durand High School football team. Eight people were hospitalized. Banquet attendees were not told the milk provided for the banquet was unpasteurized.  Dozens of the students who attended the banquet became sick. Two football games had to be canceled because so many players were seriously ill. Bri­anna Win­nekins, a man­ager of the foot­ball team, was … [Read more...]

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