October 18, 2021

Alaska Hospital Outbreak Was Clostridium Perfringens

The Alaska hospital outbreak was Clostridium perfringens, according to an article in the Anchorage Daily News. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services believe that the culprit was a Cubano sandwich, and may have been the pulled pork that was used to make that sandwich.

Alaska Hospital Outbreak Was Clostridium Perfringens

Jeremy Ayers, section manager with the Food Safety and Sanitation Program within the Division of Environmental Health at the Alaska Department of Health told the paper that many of the signs during the investigation pointed toward the Cubano sandwich. Clostridium perfringens is a pathogen that commonly causes outbreaks when meat and gravies are cooled too slowly or held at improper temperatures in the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. The pathogen produces a toxin as it grows in these protein rich dishes.

Officials in Alaska are still waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm that the pathogen that made 80 people sick was Clostridium perfringens, and that the pulled pork was contaminated. A survey was sent out to everyone who got sick, so investigators received current information about what sick people ate to help them solve this outbreak.

The outbreak occurred at the South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Eighty employees ate food that was brought in for employee meals from local restaurants. No patients or visitors ate the food, so they did not get sick. The sandwich was not sold to the general public.

Clostridium perfringens causes foodborne illness symptoms quickly, usually within a few hours after eating food that is contaminated with the pathogen. And most people recover within a couple of days without any medical treatment. No one who was sickened in this outbreak needed to be hospitalized. Symptoms of a Clostridium perfringens food poisoning infection include severe abdominal cramps and stomach pain, and nausea. The pathogen typically does not cause fever or vomiting.

 

 

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