April 2, 2015

Hospital Listeriosis Outbreaks Deadly and Difficult to Detect

FPBlisteria

Hospital listeriosis outbreaks, such as the one in Kansas linked to Blue Bell ice cream, can be difficult to detect and especially dangerous because 90 percent of Listeria-related illnesses fall on expecting mothers, infants, seniors and others who are immuno-suppressed. In 2010, a determined group of epidemiologists at the Texas State Department of Health Services launched an investigation into a puzzling outbreak that killed five hospital patients over a period of seven months at various hospitals in the central portion of the state. The team wrote about their work in the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, raising questions about why hospitals don't do more to protect vulnerable patients from food poisoning. The same agency recently helped to confirm that Blue Bell ice … [Read more...]

Third Minnesota Turkey Farm Hit with H5N2 Bird Flu

turkey-farm-usda

Birds at a third turkey farm in Minnesota have been diagnosed with the bird flu. The UsDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirms that the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza strain was discovered in a commercial turkey flock in Sterns County, Minnesota. Unfortunately, this flock of 38,000 turkeys is within the Mississippi flyway. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time, and the CDC considers the risk to people is low. The farm is now quarantined, and the remaining birds will be destroyed and kept out of the consumer food supply. The Minnesota Department of Health is working with poultry workers at the facility to make sure they are taking proper precautions to avoid spreading this disease. The MDH also reminds consumers that poultry and … [Read more...]

Listeria Bean Sprout Outbreaks in 2008, 2014 Have Similar Story

mung-bean-sprouts-listeria

The Wholesome Soy bean sprout Listeria outbreak in 2014 has a similar story to the first reported Listeria bean sprout outbreak in 2008. Both were discovered by routine testing. The 2008 outbreak  included 20 cases reported between March 2008 and March 2009. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) tests showed all 20 patients were sickened by the same strain. The cases were reported from seven states: CA (1), MA(6), NY(6), NJ(4), MD(1), ME(1) and NH(1). The case patients ranged in age range from 20 to 89. Sixty five percent were female, 21 percent were pregnant at the time of infection. All of them were hospitalized. The source of the infections was unknown until the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found Listeria in sample of alfalfa sprouts and uploaded it to … [Read more...]

E. coli on Jimmy John’s Cucumbers Sickened 9 in 2013

cucumber

Cucumbers imported from Mexico were the source of a 2013 E.coli outbreak that sickened nine Jimmy John’s customers in the Denver area in 2013. It was the first time  in the U.S. that an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was linked to cucumbers. The nine people who were sickened reported eating sandwiches containing cucumbers at three Denver-area Jimmy John’s shops in early October 2013. Lab tests revealed they were all sickened by the same strain of E.coli. Health investigators say it's likely that the cucumbers became contaminated before they arrived at the sandwich shop locations. That could mean that the cucumbers were contaminated during growing, harvest, transport, or distribution. Salmonella is more often associated with cucumbers, such as the outbreak last year that sickened 275 … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Strikes Philadelphia Gathering of Lawyers, Law Students

Restaurant Food Poisoning

A Chinese New Year banquet in Philadelphia's Chinatown triggered one of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in the city's history, according to Philly.com. Nearly 100 lawyers and law students who attended the banquet were sickened. There were 250 guests at the Feb. 27 celebration at Joy Tsin Lau, a dim sum restaurant. Two days later, dozens of them fell ill, some ended up in the emergency room, according to the report. The owner of the restaurant told the newspaper that  it was not the food that made the customers ill, but perhaps a virus or an overindulgence in alcohol. David S. Haase, a Center City lawyer, told the newspaper that he he did not head to the bar after the banquet, but began to feel ill about 30 hours after the meal. He said he was bedridden for days with … [Read more...]

Lab Work Solidified Kansas Listeria Link to Blue Bell Ice Cream

Via Christi St. Francis

The food poisoning laboratory that solidified the link between Blue Bell ice cream and a Listeria outbreak among Kansas hospital patients in Wichita is a deeply experienced unit with notable success in protecting public health, according to archives at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The tragic Kansas Listeria outbreak killed three of five patients at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital who drank milkshakes made from a now-recalled Blue Bell ice cream product, "Scoops." Public alerts may have saved others from a similar fate, but officials are concerned that some recalled Blue Bell ice cream items may still be in the home freezers of people unaware of the outbreak. Bulk ice cream sold in half-gallons, pints, quarts and 3 gallons is not part of the Blue Bell … [Read more...]

Oklahoma’s Key Role in Blue Bell Listeria Investigation

Blue Bell Ice Cream Cups Listeria Recall

Listeria problems with Blue Bell ice cream were thought to be associated with a single machine at the company's manufacturing facility in Brenham, Texas. Tests on products made there contained the same unusual strains of the bacteria that killed three people and sickened two others at Via Christi hospital in Wichita, all of whom had eaten Blue Bell ice cream during their hospitalizations for unrelated illnesses. But earlier this week, tests on a different product made at different location, Blue Bell's plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, were also positive for Listeria. The product, a 3-ounce ice cream cup, was made specifically for Blue Bell's institutional clients such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools and shipped to 23 states. No illnesses have been linked to Blue Bell products … [Read more...]

How the Government Solved the Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

Caramel Apple Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to commercially prepared caramel apples (and some plain apples) last fall was a scary time. People don't usually think of something as innocuous as a caramel apple as being a vehicle for pathogenic bacteria. But fruits and vegetables are often contaminated. In this particular outbreak, at least 35 people in 12 states were sickened, and the illness contributed to at least three of the seven reported deaths. The outbreak was difficult to solve, since the product was made from several ingredients, including wooden sticks and sprinkles. The Listeria Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) Project was a big help for government officials in solving the outbreak. Government scientists used samples from patients, foods, and the environment at Bidart … [Read more...]

Claravale Raw Milk May be Associated with Campylobacter Outbreak

raw-milk

The California Department of Public Health warned consumers that consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk may cause serious illness. Six people in northern California have been diagnosed with campylobacteriosis, a serious infection caused by Campylobacter bacteria. Multiple bottles of raw milk from Claravale Farm have tested positive for Campylobacter and have been recalled. In 2012, raw milk from Claravale farm sickened at least 22 people with Campylobacter. In this latest recall, raw milk, raw nonfat milk and raw cream from Claravale Farm in San Benito county with code dates of "MAR 28 and earlier should be disposed. Retailers should not sell it, and consumers should not drink it. The symptoms of a Campylobacter infection include diarrhea that is often bloody, abdominal cramping and … [Read more...]

Listeria Recall: Blue Bell Ice Cream at Schools, Hospitals, Nursing Homes

Via Christi Hospital patients sickened by Listeria from ice cream

Blue Bell ice cream cups recalled March 23 for Listeria were distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other institutional food service operations, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The recalled 3-ounce cups of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream were manufactured at Blue Bell's facility in Broken Arrow, Okla. and distributed to 23 states. Distribution to schools, hospitals and nursing homes is troubling as children, pregnant women, the elderly and the sick are at highest risk for Listeria infections. This recall is in addition the 10 single serving products Blue Bell withdrew from the market earlier this month after one of them, Scoops, was linked to a Listeria outbreak at Via Christi hospital in Wichita that … [Read more...]

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