August 20, 2014

E. coli Sickens 122 in Alberta

E. coli Bacteria

At least 122 people in Alberta have contracted E.coli O157:H7, infections during the last month, according to the Canadian Press. There are 59 confirmed cases in Calgary, 48 in Edmonton, seven in the South,  six in the North and two the Central zone. Health authorities have not yet determined the source of the outbreak. Sprouts have been mentioned as possible source. Some of the case patients who were hospitalized earlier this month told investigators they ate fresh bean sprouts prior to becoming ill. E.coli can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness. Abdominal cramps and diarrhea that is sometimes bloody are the main symptoms. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor. Canadian health officials remind consumers that ground beef should be cooked to an … [Read more...]

Salmonella Illnesses Associated with Arrowhead Mills Nut Butters


nSPIRED Natural Foods is recalling certain lots of Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters, and specific private label Nut Butters because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. There have been reports of four illnesses that may be associated with these products. The FDA alerted the company to this problem following routine testing of the products. You can see the long list of recalled products at the FDA web site, along with UPC numbers and the best by date range for each product. They include Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butter, MaraNatha Almond Butter,  MaraNatha Peanut Butter, Trader Joes Almond Butter, Whole Foods Almond Butter, Kroger Creamy Almond Butter, and Safeway Almond Butter in various types and flavors, including organic, raw, and … [Read more...]

CDC Mum on Hundreds of Cyclospora Infections

Cyclospora sickens 300 in more than a dozen states

Cyclospora, a parasite associated with travel to tropical climates, typically sickens about 150 Americans each year. So, last summer when spikes in cases began appearing, health officials took note. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was not the first to report the 2013 outbreaks, which eventually sickened 631 people in 25 states. The agency lagged weeks behind various state health departments and media outlets in its announcement of the outbreaks. Deja vu when cyclospora cases began to spike again this summer. Only this time the agency’s silence can be measured in months, not weeks. The CDC has not made an announcement about the outbreak and has not responded to an inquiry made by Food Poisoning Bulletin two weeks ago to determine what, if any, role it is playing in … [Read more...]

E. coli Illnesses in MA Investigated by State, Federal Authorities

E. coli ground beef recall

Health officials in Massachusetts are working with federal authorities to investigate the source of three cases of E. coli poisoning that occurred in June.  Results from lab tests last week showed a link between the cases, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Little is known about the three patients who were diagnosed in June with E. coli O157:H7 infections. Health authorities are not releasing information such as the age, gender, or county of residence of any of the cases patients. Nor have they disclosed if any of those who were sickened required hospitalization. Symptoms of and E. coli infection include diarrhea that can be bloody and abdominal cramping. Some patients with E.coli infections develop a condition called hemolytic … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak is 4th in 4 Years for Mail Order Hatchery

Mt Healthy Hatchery Salmonella Outbreak

A Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 300 people in 42 states and Puerto Rico is the fourth in four years to be linked to Mt. Healthy Hatcheries, a mail order hatchery in Ohio. In each of the outbreaks, many of those sickened have been children under ten.  Two people died. All of the outbreaks included multiple strains. An all of them had large numbers of sick children. So far, seven strains of Salmonella have been identified in outbreaks linked to the mail order chicks and ducks. The current outbreak has three strains:  Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hadar. About 37 percent of the cases are children or younger. In 2013, 158 people in 30 states were sickened by four strains: Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Lille, Salmonella Newport and … [Read more...]

Minnesota E. coli Investigators Solve Two Outbreaks In One Month


Minnesota epidemiologists have solved a pair of unrelated E. coli outbreaks in the span of a month, first linking Applebees restaurants in the state to infections of E. coli O111 and then proving that a traveling petting zoo put seven people in the hospital. The agency responsible for the disease sleuthing is the Minnesota Department of Health. "Without a doubt the Minnesota Department of Health stopped these outbreaks before other people could become infected,'' Minneapolis-based E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker said. "They provide an invaluable public service.'' In the most recent outbreak, Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo withheld its animals from the last two county fairs at which it was scheduled to exhibit in August, according to a health department news release. The … [Read more...]

Cyclospora in Texas Sickens 164

cyclospora texas

At least 164 people in Texas have Cyclopora infections, according to the latest update from the Texas Department of State Health Services. An increase in cases of cyclosporiasis has been reported from counties all over the state since mid-June. Dallas county has been hit hardest with 35 cases, Tarrant has reported 18, Harris has 13, Bexar and Collin both have 11. These counties include San Antonio and the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. By county, the cases are as follows: Aransas 1, Bexar 11, Camp 2, Collin 11, Comal 3, Dallas 35, Denton 8, El Paso 1, Ellis 4, Erath 3, Fort Bend 2, Galveston 1, Gonzales 1, Harris 13, Hays 1, Hidalgo 1, Hood 1, Hunt 1, Jefferson 1, Johnson 2, Kaufman 3, Kendall 1, Lee 1, Lynn 1, McLennan 1, Montgomery 2, Navarro 1, Nueces 2, Parker 2, Rockwall … [Read more...]

Rice County Fair E. coli Cases Dominate Petting Zoo Outbreak

MN Petting Zoo E. coli

The Rice County Fair in Faribault, Minnesota, is where five people contracted E. coli poisoning in an outbreak that infectious disease experts from the Minnesota Department of Health have traced to a traveling petting zoo. The Rice County cluster of  E. coli O157:H7 illnesses expanded to a total of seven case patients -- more than half of the outbreak total -- when the pathogen spread from an infected person or persons to two secondary case patients. Infection with E. coli O157:H7 is the primary cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the most common cause of kidney failure in children in this country. This syndrome usually involves prolonged hospital stays and is fatal in up to 5 percent of cases. In the Minnesota E. coli outbreak linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo, … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Cases Reach 283 Sickened Across U.S.

Cyclospora Outbreak

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) is reporting an increase in cyclospora cases around the country. Now at least 283 people are sick in 21 states as of August 12, 2014. That is an increase of 48 cases compared to last week. One hundred sixty, or 57%, of the cases were reported in Texas. Of those people, at least 116 Texas patients did not travel during the two weeks before they got sick. Cyclospora is endemic in sub-tropical regions. If the patients did not travel to those areas, they most likely got sick by eating a contaminated food. More patients are being interviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discover what percentage of cases are linked with travel. Most of the cases were reported in July. Maine and Massachusetts are … [Read more...]

Petting Zoo E.coli Can Be Aerosolized

E. coli outbreak linked to petting zoo is investigated by food safety lawyers

E. coli at petting zoos and animal exhibits can be aerosolized, contaminating environmental surfaces in the barn or display area and possibly food and clothing of patrons viewing the animals, research shows. That's why it's especially important that no food or drink be brought into the viewing area and that hand washing stations with soap and running water be located at the exits. The prohibition on food and drinks includes items brought from home such as water bottles, coffee mugs, baby bottles and sippy cups. It also includes other items that a baby or toddler may mouth, such as pacifiers and teething toys. This week a traveling petting zoo in Minnesota was linked to 13 cases of E. coli infections at four county fairs and festivals held during July: the Nashwauk 4th of July … [Read more...]

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