April 16, 2014

Largest Multi-State Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2013: #1

Cyclospora Outbreak

A Cyclospora outbreak that began in June and sickened 631 people in 25 states before ending in late September was the largest multi-state food poisoning outbreak of 2013. Health investigators determined that the outbreak had multiple food sources and that most illnesses were linked to tainted produce imported from Mexico. Almost 80 percent of the cases were from three states: Iowa, Nebraska and Texas.  Public  health investigators in Iowa, which had 140 cases, and Nebraska, which had 87, determined that the source of illness in those states was commercial bagged salad mix produced by Taylor Farms of Mexico and served at Olive Graden and Red Lobster restaurants. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA concluded that many of the 270 cases of … [Read more...]

FDA’s Cyclospora Report On Taylor Farms De Mexico

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published the findings of the environmental assessment for cyclospora of several facilities operated by Taylor Farms de Mexico. Commercial bagged salad mix produced by the company and served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska was identified as the  outbreak source in those states. From June through August, 631 people  in 25 states contracted cyclospora infections. Of those, 239 were in Nebraska and Iowa.  The source of 278 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas was identified as contaminated cilantro imported from Mexico. The cause of 126 illnesses in 22 states was unknown. Cyclospora is a rare parasite that is usually associated with travel to tropical areas. Symptoms include bouts of  watery diarrhea that … [Read more...]

CDC Issues Final Report on Cyclospora Outbreak

Cyclospora Outbreak

The Cyclospora outbreak that began in June sickened 631 people in 25 states before ending in late September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which issued its final report on the outbreak today. Health investigators determined that there were multiple sources for illnesses reported. In Iowa and Nebraska, the food source was identified as commercial bagged salad mix and in Texas many illnesses were caused by cilantro. Cyclospora, a rare parasite usually associated with travel to tropical areas, causes an infection called cyclosporiasis. Symptoms include a watery diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days if untreated. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss,  bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and low-grade … [Read more...]

CDC’s Cyclospora Count Drops to 642 Cases in 25 States

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dropped the total number of people included in the Cyclospora outbreaks to 642, four less than last week's report, according to the agency's latest update.  A case in one new state, Pennsylvania, means the outbreaks have now spread through 25 states. Forty five people have been hospitalized. Arkansas, Illinois and Pennsylvania each had an increase of 1 case since last week's report. The count in Texas was dropped by five, and Iowa and Kansas totals were each reduced by one. By state, the new case count is as follows: Texas (278), Iowa (153), Nebraska (86), Florida (32), Wisconsin (17), Arkansas (13), Illinois (13), New York (9), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), New Jersey (4), Kansas (3), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (3), Minnesota (3), … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Outbreak Has Sickened 641, Hospitalized 41

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The nationwide cyclospora outbreak has now sickened 641 people and hospitalized 41, according to the latest update by the CDC. That's an increase of five since the last update last week, which indicates the outbreak may be slowing down. No deaths have been reported. The number of cases in each area is as follows: Texas (282), Iowa (156), Nebraska (86), Florida (32), Wisconsin (16), Illinois (11), Arkansas (10), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), New York City (5), Kansas (4), Louisiana (3), Connecticut (2), Michigan (1), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (4), New York (2), Ohio (2), Virginia (3), California (1), New Hampshire (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), and Wyoming (1). The patient age range remains from less than one year to 92 years, with a median age of 51 years. Fifty-six percent of … [Read more...]

Taylor Farms Salad Mix Not Source of TX Cyclospora Cases

Cyclospora Outbreak

Salad mix from Taylor Farms, which was identified as the source of Cyclospora illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska, is not the source of Cyclospora illnesses in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As Food Poisoning Bulletin reported over the weekend,  the agency now believes that it's likely that there are multiple sources responsible for Cyclospora infections that have sickened more than 600 people in 22 states. Although Cyclospora is rare, there is a precedent for overlapping or back-to-back outbreaks. In 1997, more than 1,300 people contracted Cyclospora infections between March and July. Those illnesses were caused by three  different food sources (mesclun, raspberries and basil) from different countries. At least 610 cases of Cyclospora have been … [Read more...]

Clear of Cyclospora, Taylor Farms de Mexico Resumes Operations

Cyclospora-Stain

Taylor Farms de Mexico,  the producer of mixed salad linked to Cyclospora outbreaks at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska, resumed operations yesterday after receiving an all-clear from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The company, which had suspended operations August 9 during the agency's investigation,  has agreed to implement a comprehensive Cyclospora sampling program for leafy green and other products from their farms and processing facility in Mexico. The program will also include sampling water and continued monitoring of the sanitary conditions at the facilities. The FDA has inspected Taylor Farms de Mexico’s processing facility and five farms identified through the traceback investigation and found that conditions and practices were in … [Read more...]

CDC Cyclospora Expert Talks Outbreak Investigation

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Two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was notified of two non-travel related cases of Cyclospora infection in Iowa. Since that time, an outbreak has mushroomed to include more than 600 cases in 22 states and spawned and investigation that includes dozens of state, local and federal health officials. One of them is Dr. Barabra Herwaldt, a medical epidemiologist in the parasitic disease branch at the CDC and the agency’s resident expert on Cyclospora. She discussed the challenges of the investigation in an interview with Food Poisoning Bulletin. One of the key ways that this investigation differs from other high-profile food poisoning outbreaks is that genetic testing technology is available for infections caused by bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella, … [Read more...]

Texas Has Most Cyclospora Cases, Does It Hold Key to Outbreak?

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With more than 200 cases, Texas is the state hardest hit by the Cyclospora outbreak. Does it hold the key to outbreak investigation? The investigation of the Cyclospora outbreak which has now sickened at least 514 people in 17 states has been slow going. Outside of last week's announcement that pre-packaged salad from Taylor Farms in Mexico served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants was the source of illness for cases in those states, there haven't been many breakthroughs.  For example, we still don't know where else that salad mix may have been distributed or what other other food sources may be involved. No recalls have been issued in association with the outbreak. Federal health officials have joined a team of investigators in Texas, which now has almost as many cases as … [Read more...]

Cyclospora In 11 States Sickens 302, 18 are Hospitalized

Cyclospora Outbreak

Cyclospora, a rare parasite, has sickened at least 301 people in 11 states hospitalizing 18 of them, according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments. Three new states, Minnesota, Ohio and New Jersey, have been added since yesterday. Case counts by state are higher in some instances than those on the map in the link above. They are as follows: Iowa (138),  Texas (80), Nebraska (70), Wisconsin (7), Georgia (2), Connecticut (1), Illinois (1), Kansas  (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), Ohio (1). The cases in Illinois and Kansas may have been acquired out of state. "Additional cases are currently under investigation and will be included on this page as states confirm them," the CDC update states. Those states may … [Read more...]

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