February 24, 2017

Listeria May be Serious Miscarriage Threat in Early Pregnancy

New research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in the journal mBio has found that Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning can be a serious miscarriage threat in early pregnancy. Scientists at the university's school of veterinary medicine studied how pathogens affect fetal development and change pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Ted Golos, a UW-Maidson reproductive physiologist and professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology said, "for many years, Listeria has been associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy, but particularly at the end of pregnancy. What wasn’t known with much clarity before this study is that it appears it’s a severe risk factor in early pregnancy. It's striking that mom doesn't get particularly ill from Listeria … [Read more...]

Research Finds Salmonella Food Poisoning Could Damage DNA

Research at Cornell University has found that Salmonella food poisoning caused by some serotypes of the pathogenic bacteria could permanently damage your DNA. The study is published in the journal mBio by the American Society for Microbiology as "The Cytolethal Distending Toxin Produced by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Serotypes Javiana, Montevideo, Oranienburg, and Mississippi Induces DNA Damage in a Manner Similar to That of Serotype Typhi." Dr. Rachel Miller, author of the study, said, "not all Salmonella serotypes are equal." There are more than 2,500 serotypes for Salmonella, but fewer than 100 of those cause most of the food poisoning cases in this country, according to the CDC. Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses every year in the U.S>, and kills about 450 … [Read more...]

Outbreaks Linked to Imported Foods Are Increasing

A study published in the March edition of the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases reveals that more Americans are being sickened by imported food. The study's authors state that "a small but increasing number of foodborne disease outbreaks [are] associated with imported foods, most commonly fish and produce. New outbreak investigation tools and federal regulatory authority are key to maintaining food safety." About 19% of the food we eat in this country is imported. About 97% of the fish and shellfish we consume, 50% of fresh fruits, and 20% of fresh vegetables come from other countries. This proportion has steadily increased over the past 20 years because consumers want to eat produce out of season and want a wider selection of products. A food poisoning outbreak is two or more … [Read more...]

CDC Tracks Antibiotic Resistance Gene in Bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking the mcr-1 gene in bacteria. This gene can make bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic that is the "last resort" drug for some multidrug-resistant pathogens. Colistin is considered an old drug and is rarely used because it can damage the kidneys. The gene was found in China for the first time in November 2015. The map shows where the mcr-1 gene has been reported in the United States as of January 1, 2017. In the states highlighted in yellow, human infections have been reported. The states highlighted in orange have animal infections. The mcr-1 gene is on a plasmid, which is a piece of DNA that can move from one pathogen to another. Because of the ease of this transfer, bacteria that area already resistant to … [Read more...]

E. coli, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome and Platelet Transfusion

There is an ongoing controversy in the medical community about the safety of platelet transfusions in patients who have platelet consumptive disorders like hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), but an analysis of patients with E. coli O104:H4 infections who developed HUS suggests that platelet transfusions may be safe in adult HUS patients (Benke).  Previous studies have suggested that platelet transfusions may be harmful to patients who have thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP),  another platelet consumptive disorder very similar to HUS. In the study, researchers analyzed an E. coli O104:H4 outbreak that occurred in Germany during the summer of 2011. Thousands were sickened in that outbreak. About 30% of those patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which was triple the … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak in Canada Linked to Raw and Undercooked Oysters

The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses linked to raw and undercooked oysters. The illnesses have occurred in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. Testing of several cases, but not all, has confirmed norovirus. Officials think that norovirus is the cause of illness in the untested cases. The outbreak notice states "the risk to Canadians is low." This type of illness can be avoided if oysters are cooked to an internal temperature of 90°C/194°F for a minimum of 90 seconds, and proper hand washing and food safety practices are followed. As of February 7, 2017, 202 clinical cases of illness linked to oysters have been reported in three provinces. The case count per province is: British Columbia (143), Alberta (35), and Ontario … [Read more...]

Staphylococcus Aureus Sickened Students at Science Olympiad

The Florida Department of Health in Columbia County has issued a press release stating that the illnesses that took place at the Science Olympiad at Gateway College in Lake City on February 4, 2017 were caused by Staphylococcus aureus toxin. At least 30 people were taken by ambulance from that event to the hospital after suffering from vomiting. Samples were taken of the pulled pork, smoked chicken, macaroni salad, chicken sandwiches, and baked beans from the lunch that was served at the event. The samples were tested for Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus, and Staphylococcus aureus, which all can cause food poisoning in a matter of minutes or hours. The samples of pulled pork tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus at "an amount well above the standard cutoff threshold … [Read more...]

Outbreak at Science Olympiad at Florida Gateway College

At least 28 children and 2 adults were sickened after eating a catered lunch at the middle school Science Olympiad at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office had a notice posted on its Facebook page that those sickened were taken to hospitals for suspected food poisoning. The event was held on Saturday, February 4, 2017. Ambulances were called from several counties to help transfer patients to Lake City Medical Center and Shands Lake Shore. Health officials in Columbia county and from the Florida Department of Health are investigating the outbreak. All of the patients were treated and released by Saturday evening. A meal served at the event is being investigated as the potential source of the illnesses. Officials collected leftover food samples … [Read more...]

CDC Issues Report of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Dough

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a report about the 2015 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to a dough mix that was made into pizzas at "restaurant A." That outbreak sickened at least 13 people in nine states. On January 4, 2016, PulseNet identified a cluster of 10 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections. The dates of illness onset ranged from December 6, 2015 through February 9, 2016. Eventually, 13 outbreak-associated cases were identified in Minnesota (5), Iowa (1), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), North Carolina (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), South Dakota (1), and Wisconsin (1). Eight of those patients were hospitalized, and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Twelve patients were interviewed, and nine reported eating at one … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak in Washington Associated with Raw Oysters

King County Public Health is investigation a cluster of "norovirus-like" illnesses associated with eating raw oysters in their area. That virus is found in the stool and vomit of infected people. The virus is very contagious and is spread through contamianted food and person-to-person contact. Consuming raw and undercooked shellfish, especially oysters, increases your chances of getting sick. On January 19, 2017, Public Health was notified about 4 cases of norovirus-like illness from the same party who eat raw oysters at Taylor Shellfish, located at 124 Republican Street in Seattle on January 4, 2017. The patients got sick about 24 hours after eating the oysters, with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and muscle aches. Environmental Health … [Read more...]

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