October 25, 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. 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 … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illness Outbreak at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska

A foodborne illness outbreak at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska has sickened almost 80 people, according to the Anchorage Daily News. State epidemiologists are investigating the outbreak that has sickened hospital employees. All patients developed symptoms on or around on the morning of August 7, 2021. Everyone who got sick ate food brought in as employee meals from a variety of local restaurants. Those restaurants have not yet been named. A post on the Alaska Health and Social Services Facebook page has a survey that anyone who lives in the Homer area can take to help officials solve this outbreak. No patients or hospital residents ate the food. The source of the outbreak is not known at the time. The agencies investigating the outbreak are the Alaska Department of … [Read more...]

Alaska Death From PSP Triggers Warning From Health Officials

An Alaska death from PSP triggers a warning from health officials in that state. Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) occurs when a person is exposed to paralytic shellfish toxin. This is the first known PSP fatality in that state since 2010, although serious illnesses are reported more often. Since 1993, there have been four cases of PSP deaths in Alaska: one in 1994, one in 1997, and two in 2010. During that same time frame, there have been more than 100 cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning in that state. The person who died ate blue mussels and snails that were collected from a Dutch Harbor beach on July 4, 2020. The shellfish were cooked first; like most toxins, PSP is not rendered inactive by heat. The person did have underlying health conditions that contributed to … [Read more...]

Botulism in Nome, Alaska Associated With Aged Beluga Flipper

According to news reports, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is investigating a botulism death and four illnesses that may be associated with fermented beluga whale flipper. The people allegedly got sick at a New Year's Day dinner in Nome where native foods were served. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the Health Department told Anchorage Daily News that the aged beluga flipper has tested "preliminary positive" for botulism toxin. Officials are waiting for the final lab results on all foods served at the potluck, as well as samples from the patients. Final results will be available next week. The patient, a 54-year-old man, became ill with stomach pain, difficulty breathing, double vision, and weakness. Those are typical symptoms of botulism food … [Read more...]

E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce Grows to 84 Sick

The multistate E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak linked to romaine lettuce has now grown to include 84 sick in 19 states. Thirty-one more people from 10 states have been added since the last update a week ago. Three more states have reported ill persons: Colorado, Georgia, and South Dakota. The most recent illness started on April 12, 2018. This outbreak will likely grow, since it takes a few weeks from the time a person begins feeling sick, to when the infection is diagnosed and reported to government officials. The information still indicates that romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region is the source of this outbreak. But investigators still have not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine. Of the eighty-four people sick, 42 people … [Read more...]

How Many Are Actually Sick in E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce?

As of April 20, 2018, there are officially 53 people sick in the E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak that is linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region, according to the CDC. But how many people are really sick in this multistate outbreak? According to news reports and state health departments, the outbreak total could be 66. On Friday, April 20, 2018, the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services issued a press release stating that eight confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections have been identified at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center. Those patients are not included in the CDC count. The CDC case count for Alaska is one person ill, although the latest notice states that the seven patients will be added to the next update case count. The CDC count … [Read more...]

E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska May Be Linked to Nationwide Romaine Lettuce Outbreak

An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska may be connected to the nationwide outbreak linked to chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona. The Department of Health & Social Services, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Department of Corrections issued a joint press release about this outbreak. Eight confirmed cases have been identified. The romaine lettuce consumed by the Nome patients was grown in Yuma, Arizona, according to investigators. State officials are telling Alaskans to avoid any romaine lettuce products that could be contaminated. Restaurants, retailers, and consumers should ask their suppliers about the source of the lettuce. This statement, for the first time, says that consumers should avoid whole head and … [Read more...]

Another Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak in Alaska

A second Campylobacter outbreak that has sickened at least five people has been associated with a cow-share program on the Kenai Peninsula, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.  A March Campylobacter outbreak associated with that same cow-share sickened 31 people, leaving four with reactive arthritis. Two of the five people sickened in this outbreak sought medical attention. Testing by the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory matched the outbreak strain of Campylobacter jejuni to one found in cow manure at the farm during the earlier outbreak. “The genetic fingerprint of the bacteria isolated from these two people and the cow is unique. It has never been seen before in the United States,” Dr. Joe McLaughlin, State Epidemiologist, said in a  statement. … [Read more...]

Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak Leaves Four with Reactive Arthritis

A raw milk Campylobacter outbreak that sickened 31 people on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula has left three children and one adult with reactive arthritis,  a painful form of  inflammatory arthritis that can last for months or sometimes years.  The outbreak marks the second time in two years that raw milk has been the source of a Campylobacter outbreak in Alaska. Most of the people sickened in this outbreak were children. The median age for victims was 10. The age range was 7 months to 72.  Two people were hospitalized. "These outbreaks are an unfortunate reminder of the inherent risks associated with raw milk consumption, and underscore the importance of pasteurization," Alaska state health officials said in their recently published summary of the outbreak. They recommend that health care … [Read more...]

Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak Sickens 22 In Alaska

A Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk has sickened at least 22 people in Alaska and hospitalized two of them including one child, state health officials told Food Poisoning Bulletin today. Both people who were hospitalized have been released. Twenty one of the 22 case patients drank the milk before becoming ill, said Dr. Brian Yablon, a medical epidemiologist with Alaska’s Division of Public Health. “There’s no question that it’s the source of the outbreak.” The milk was produced on a farm on the Kenai Peninsula, located on the southern coast of Alaska, and distributed through a cow-share program. In Alaska, the sale  of raw milk for human consumption is not permitted unless the milk is consumed by the cow’s owner. Members of cow or goat shares are considered owners of the … [Read more...]

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