October 17, 2019

Whole Genome Sequencing Solves Cake Mix Salmonella Outbreak

For the first time, whole genome sequencing solved a Salmonella outbreak associated with cake mix, according to a study published in the Center For Disease Control and Prevention's Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report. This cake mix Salmonella outbreak was associated with Duncan Hines products. This outbreak was unusual because the Centers for Disease Control stated, "There was not enough epidemiologic and traceback information available to determine if ill people in this outbreak were linked to contaminated cake mix produced by Duncan Hines," even though a Salmonella Agbeni isolate was found in an unopened box of Duncan Hines white cake mix. The outbreak was first identified when two patients living in Oregon were diagnosed with Salmonella infections in August 2018. Both … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Has Sickened 1696 People As Of August 28, 2019 in the U.S.

Domestically acquired cases of cyclospora have sickened 1,696 people in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City as of August 28, 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of these illnesses are linked to fresh imported basil and some restaurants and events throughout the country. But many of the individual cases could not be linked to a specific outbreak, in part because of the lack of validated molecular typing tools for the Cyclospora parasite. Identified cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the summer of 2019 include: An outbreak linked to fresh basil imported by Siga Logistics from Mexico, which has sickened at least 205 people in 11 states. That outbreak was last updated on August 15, 2019. An outbreak associated with three … [Read more...]

Why Are Listeria Illness Onset Dates Spread Out Over Years?

The current Listeria monocytogenes outbreak identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that has no identified source has been going on since 2017. Looking back through our archives, we have found that this is not an isolated incident. Why are Listeria illness onset dates spread out over years? Listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous pathogen. When people in certain categories, including people with compromised immune systems, chronic illnesses, the elderly, and pregnant women, contract this infection, many people get seriously ill. Most, if not all, of those sickened with listeriosis end up in the hospital. And the mortality rate for patients in these groups can be as high as 20-30%. In the Listeria outback linked to unnamed deli meats and cheeses, which has … [Read more...]

Are the Canadian and American Listeria Outbreaks One and the Same?

There are currently two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada that were announced last week by the respective governments of those countries. There are a lot of similarities between the two outbreaks. So the question is: are the Canadian and American Listeria outbreaks the same? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the U.S. outbreak last Friday. As of August 23, 2019, 24 people are sick with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. Illness onset dates are from July 20, 2017 to August 1, 2019. And as of August 23, 2019, there are seven cases of listeriosis in Canada. The illness onset dates for that country are between November 2017 and June 2019. Here's the crucial statement. The CDC says, "Whole genome sequencing showed that the … [Read more...]

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 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 this antibiotic … [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...]

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