July 21, 2018

CDC and FDA Investigating E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak; May Be Linked to Canada Romaine Outbreak

The CDC, the FDA, and officials in several states are investigating an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 17 people in 13 states. The CDC notice states that the Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating a similar outbreak, which Food Poisoning Bulletin has been reporting on. In Canada, 41 people are sick and one person died. CDC is performing whole genome sequencing on samples from patients in the United States to see whether these illnesses are related to illness in Canada. Preliminary results show that the bacteria making people sick is "closely related genetically," meaning that these patients likely share a common source of infection. In Canada, the outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce. In the United States, patients are being interviewed to see … [Read more...]

CDC Offers Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us. Many people are cooking more at home, and with that in mind, the CDC is offering food safety tips for the holidays to make sure you don't end up in the emergency room with food poisoning. First, wash your hands before you prepare food and after you touch raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables. That last one is new - but good to know, since raw vegetables have been linked to many foodborne illness outbreaks over the years. Follow good food safety practices and cook food thoroughly. Always use a food thermometer to check the final internal temperature of meats, poultry, egg dishes, and seafood. And remember that roasts, chops, steaks, and fresh ham should stand for 3 minutes after they are removed from the oven or grill. The "danger zone" is … [Read more...]

CDC Says People in Four States May be Drinking Milk Contaminated with Brucella RB51

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning raw milk consumers in four states that they may be drinking products contaminated with Brucella RB51 bacteria. Officials are telling these people to visit their doctor and ask for antibiotics to prevent illness. Several other states have issued this same warning in the past few weeks. The statement reads, "People who bought and drank raw milk from a company called Udder Milk may have been infected with a rare but potentially serious germ called Brucella abortus RB51. While Brucella can cause anyone to become sick, women may suffer miscarriage and other pregnancy complications making it critical for pregnant women who may have consumed the raw milk from Udder Milk to seek medical care immediately." The CDC has known … [Read more...]

CDC Investing Millions in Enhanced Antibiotic Resistance Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investing $77 million in efforts to track and fight antibiotic resistance. The money is going to public health departments in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The hope is that officials will develop new ways to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria in food, healthcare facilities, and communities. The funding will open a new surveillance center for TB. And the overall focus is on enhancing testing capabilities in the agency's regional antibiotic resistance labs. Seven regional labs that are part of the CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network will be able to expand antibiotic susceptibility testing for Candida auras. This bacteria has shown resistance to all three classes of drugs that are usually used to fight these infections. … [Read more...]

Oysters and Vibriosis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing information about the risk of contracting a Vibrio infection when consuming raw oysters. Summer is prime oyster season. And it's the time of year when most illnesses from raw oysters occur. In fact, a man in Washington state recently contracted a Vibrio infection when he purchased a live fish from a fish tank. One of the most common illnesses linked to raw oysters is vibriosis. This infection is caused by the Vibrio vulnificus or the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria that occur naturally in seawater. Oysters are filter eaters, which means they draw in seawater and filter out the food and bacteria. The bacteria then become concentrated in the oysters flesh. Most Vibrio infections are caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus. … [Read more...]

Deadly Multistate Salmonella Kiambu Outbreak Linked to Papayas

A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Kiambu infections linked to yellow Maradol papayas has sickened 47 people in 12 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maryland officials warned consumers about this potential outbreak with a recall of Caribeña’s brand yellow Maradol papayas this week. The CDC's announcement did not mention any brand of papaya in particular, but did state that "Salmonella Kiambu infections are linked to yellow Maradol Papayas en Español." The case count by state is: Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (5), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (12), New York (13), Pennsylvania (4), Texas (1), Utah (1), and Virginia (6). Twelve ill persons have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported in New York … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Teaching and Clinical Labs

In a rather unusual outbreak, public health officials have identified 24 people in 16 states sickened with Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to teaching and clinical laboratories. Six of those sickened have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. This is the same strain that was associated with infections linked to microbiology lab exposure in 2011 and 2014. This is a public health problem and a reminder that bacteria used in microbiology laboratories can sicken people who work in those labs. [Editor's note: The first time I was in a microbiology lab the professor warned us against eating or drinking in the room and also walked us through safety steps, including frequent hand washing and the use of gloves, lab coats, and goggles.] In addition, people who live with … [Read more...]

Trichinellosis Outbreaks in Alaska Linked to Walrus Meat

Many older people can recall their moms cooking pork to well done (or more) because of the fear of trichinellosis. Pigs used to be fed scraps, or they foraged for their food, so their meat was infected with a microscopic parasite called Trichinella. A few thousand cases occur every year around the world. In the United States, the USDA has reduced the recommended internal temperature for pork to 145°F from 160°F, since pork is no longer likely to be contaminated with the parasite. Cases have greatly declined in this country since the 1950s. But the disease is making a comeback among people who eat walrus meat. Two trichinellosis outbreaks in Alaska linked to walrus meat are the subject of a report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for July 7, 2017. This illness … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak in 2016 Linked to Hot Peppers

A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Anatum infections that were linked to imported hot peppers appears in the The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for June 30, 2017. This is the first government report on this outbreak. Thirty two people in nine states were sickened in this outbreak that happened during the summer of 2016. The CDC and FDA did not publish anything about this outbreak at the time because government officials couldn't find a source for the outbreak, specifically a common source for the peppers, so consumers couldn't take steps to protect themselves. Epidemiologic, lab, and traceback evidence found that fresh hot peppers were the likely source, but "a single pepper type or source farm could not be identified." Fresh hot peppers and other produce have been the … [Read more...]

FDA Releases List of Facilities that Served Hepatitis A Positive Tuna

The FDA has released a list of facilities that served frozen raw ahi tuna cubes that were recalled for possible hepatitis A contamination. In their investigation report they have added a table that includes the names and addresses of the 31 restaurants and stores that sold the product in California, Texas, and Oklahoma. This product was recalled twice. The first recall was in Hawaii only. The product is imported raw frozen ahi tuna cubes sourced from PT Deho Canning Co. in Indonesia, sold under Tropic Fish with lot codes 609149 and 609187. The current recall, which was issued on May 18, 2017 [editor's note: we cannot find this recall on any FDA page], is for frozen yellowfin tuna steaks from Sustainable Seafood Company and yellowfin tuna cubes from Santa Cruz Seafood. This recall by … [Read more...]

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