August 25, 2019

Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Announced; No Food Identified

A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-four people in 13 states are sick. Twenty-two people have been hospitalized, and two people have died. The patient case count by state is: California (4), Florida (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), New York (2), Ohio (2), Oregon (2), and Texas (1). Listeria specimens were collected from patients from July 20, 2017 to August 1, 2019. The patient age range is from 35 to 92 years. This is a strange outbreak announcement, because the notice states that "A specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections in the United States." This is very unusual. In … [Read more...]

USDA Reiterates: Don’t Wash That Chicken!

The USDA is reiterating its advice about washing chicken: Don't do it! A new study found that people are risking illness when they wash or rinse poultry. Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety said, "Cooking and mealtime is a special occasion for all of us as we come together with our families and friends. However, the public health implications of these findings should be of concern to everyone. Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods. The best practice is not to wash poultry." The observational study found how easily bacteria can be spread when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitized. Rinsing poultry under running water … [Read more...]

CDC Report: Salmonella Newport Shows Decreased Sensitivity to Azithromycin

In the current CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, some bacteria in a Salmonella Newport outbreak that was linked to beef from JBS Tolleson and to a cheese imported from Mexico had decreased susceptibility to azithromycin and nonsusceptibility to ciprofloxacin. This susceptibility has emerged recently, because that serotype with decreased susceptibility to azithromycin wasn't found in any isolates in the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) surveillance before 2016. A genetically distinct group of MDR Newport isolates was identified in the two outbreaks. This resistance is rare among Salmonella serotypes that cause illness in the United States.  Azithromycin is recommended to treat Salmonella infections orally; until 2017, decreased susceptibility to … [Read more...]

Shigella Outbreak at Wedding in Oregon Linked to Asparagus

According to data presented at the CDC's Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference, contaminated asparagus was the likely source of a Shigella outbreak at a Yarnhill County wedding in Oregon in 2018. One hundred twelve people were sickened; 10 people were hospitalized. The Oregon Health Authority first received reports of gastroenteritis at a wedding in august 2018. Shigella flexneri type 3a was identified in stool samples taken from patients. That particular pathogen accounts for less than 3% of the Shigella flexneri isolates in the United States. Researchers asked the wedding attendees to fill out surveys to try to find the cause of the outbreak. Presumptive cases were people who had diarrhea lasting 5 days or less. Confirmed cases were patents who had Shigella flexneri … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illnesses Increased in 2018 Compared to 2015-2017

Foodborne illnesses increased in 2018 compared to the period of 2015-2017, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control for its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report for the week of April 26, 2019. The report states that this increase may are partially attributable to increased culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs). CIDT identifies pathogens that were not routinely detected by other methods. During 2018, FoodNet identified 25,606 infections, 5,893 hospitalizations, and 120 deaths. The incidence of cyclospora infections increased "markedly," in 2018 because there were several large outbreaks associated with produce. And the number of illnesses caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella remain high. FoodNet surveils the population for lab-diagnosed infections … [Read more...]

Holiday Food Safety Tips From the CDC Can Help Keep You Safe

The holidays are here, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering some tips for food safety. At this time of year, food poisoning outbreaks, especially those caused by Clostridium perfringens, can increase. First, wash your hands. Wash them before, during and after preparing food; after touching raw meat or eggs or unwashed produce; before eating or drinking; after using the bathroom; before caring for someone who is ill; and before and after treating a cut or wound. Also wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal food, or animal waste; and after handling garbage. Another holiday food safety tip: make sure that all of the food you cook is cooked to a safe final internal temperature. All ground meats … [Read more...]

IFSAC Estimates of Foodborne Illness Sources For 2016

The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a tri-agency group that was created by the FDA, CDC, and USDA, has released an executive summary of the pathogens that cause foodborne illness and the foods they are linked to. Researchers looked at Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter outbreaks and illnesses for 2016. These pathogens were chosen because they cause 1.9 million illnesses each year combined, and cause severe illness. The IFSAC data was derived from 1255 foodborne illness outbreaks that occurred from 1998 to 2016 that were linked to a single food category. These estimates will help these agencies to intervene and to create policies for reducing outbreaks. Overall, E. coli O157 illnesses were most often linked to leafy greens and … [Read more...]

It’s Global Handwashing Day! Learn How to Prevent Illness

October 15 is Global Handwashing Day. Correctly washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, norovirus, Listeria monocytogenes, hepatitis A, and Campylobacter. This day is intended to increase awareness of the benefits of proper handwashing. The CDC has information on this event. It's critically important to wash your hands at certain points during your day. Always wash them with soap and water after using the bathroom, after taking care of someone who is ill, after changing diapers, and before preparing and serving food. Also wash your hands after blowing your nose, after handling pet foods, and after touching garbage. Bacteria are also found on pets, toys, surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops, and in the sink … [Read more...]

CDC Surveillance Report Reveals Outbreak Numbers, But Not Consequences of Foodborne Illness

The CDC Surveillance Report for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks from 2009 - 2005 was released in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report today. The numbers show that food poisoning outbreaks remain a serious health problem in this country, causing millions of illnesses every year. But what the raw numbers don't reveal is how these largely preventable illnesses wreak havoc on individual lives and families. During the time frame of the report, the CDC's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System received reports of 5,760 outbreaks that caused more than 100,000 illnesses, more than 5500 hospitalizations, and 145 deaths. These outbreak illnesses are a small fraction of the actual number of food poisoning cases that occur every year. The government estimates that 48,000,000 … [Read more...]

CDC Offers Tips on Fruit and Vegetable Safety Amid Cyclospora and Salmonella Outbreaks

There are two outbreaks right now in the U.S. that are linked to fresh produce. A cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte Vegetable Trays has sickened 212 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan. And a Salmonella Adelaide outbreak linked to recalled fresh precut melons has sickened. So the CDC is offering advice on fruit and vegetable safety. Fruits and vegetables are important to a good diet. They help protect y0u from illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. But these types of foods are more likely than others to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. And many of these products are not heated before they are consumed, which means any contaminated food will make someone sick. For fruit and vegetable safety, the safest produce has been cooked to a … [Read more...]

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