June 17, 2019

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...]

Romaine Lettuce E. coli O157 Outbreak Ends in Canada Too With No Answers

The romaine lettuce E. coli O157 outbreak that has sickened 197 people in the U.S. and killed 5 has been declared over in Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The CDC and FDA in the United States have not declared an end to this outbreak, but do say that "product is no longer being harvested or distributed from this area and is no longer available in stores or restaurants, due to its 21-day shelf life." In Canada, eight people were sickened with E. coli O157 infections with a similar genetic fingerprint to people sickened in the U.S. there have not been any new illnesses reported to public health officials since late April 2018, so the outbreak notice states, "the Canadian outbreak appears to be over and the outbreak investigation has been closed." In the Canadian … [Read more...]

Kellogg Salmonella Lawsuit Filed After Honey Smacks Cereal Linked to Outbreak

Kellogg Salmonella lawsuit has been filed after Honey Smacks cereal is linked to an outbreak. A Salmonella Mbandaka outbreak that has sickened at least 73 people in 31 states has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened with Salmonella infections in the past few years, said, "The hospitalization rate in this outbreak is about 44%, which is double the typical hospitalization rate for Salmonella outbreaks. "We don't know why people have been so sick in this particular outbreak. It could be because the strain of Salmonella that has contaminated this cereal is very virulent. Or the product could be contaminated with lots of bacteria," Fred added. The median age among patients is 58, … [Read more...]

CDC Weighs In on Salmonella Adelaide Outbreak Linked to Pre-Cut Melon; Lawyer Gives Advice

The CDC is weighing in on the Salmonella Adelaide outbreak linked to precut melon sold at Walmart, Kroger, Jay C, and Payless stores in the Midwest. There are 60 people sick in this outbreak. Thirty-one people have been hospitalized, which is a very high percentage.   On June 8, 2018, Caito Foods recalled fresh cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh cut fruit medley products that were produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. These products were distributed to Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio.  You can see the brand names, stores where the products were sold, package sizes, UPC numbers, and best by dates at the FDA site. The recalled fruit was sold in clear, plastic clamshell containers … [Read more...]

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