May 9, 2021

Investigation of Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Fall 2020

The FDA has released an investigation report into factors that may have contributed to the leafy greens E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in fall 2020 that sickened at least 40 people in 19 states across the country. The outbreak was linked via whole genome sequencing and geography to outbreaks in 2019 and 2018 that were associated to the California growing region.; the proximity of cattle is a likely contributing factor. The outbreak caused 20 hospitalizations. Four people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of an E. coli infection that is a type of kidney failure. The illness onset dates ranged from August 10 through October 31, 2020. Leafy greens were declared the likely source of this outbreak after interviews with patients. The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak strain … [Read more...]

Ultrasonic Cleaning Could Reduce Leafy Greens Outbreaks

A new study conducted at the University of Southamptom has found that ultrasonic cleaning could reduce leafy greens outbreaks in the future. The cleaning is done by spraying food with streams of water that carry sound and microscopic air bubbles. This can clean greens more effectively than current washing methods. The study was conducted in a collaboration between the University of Southampton, North Carolina State University,  with lead scientist Professor Timothy Leighton. The work was sponsored by Vitacress. There have been several deadly E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in the past few years that were linked to leafy greens, particularly romaine lettuce harvested in Arizona and California. While most of the investigations conducted by the CDC, FDA, and local officials have not been … [Read more...]

Another Mystery E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Ends With 22 Sick

Another mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreak has ended with no source, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)> The FDA and USDA collected different types of dates but were unable to identify a food source of this multistate outbreak. The outbreak is over as of March 11, 2021. Last summer and fall, the CDC announced two other mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that sickened a total of 44 people, hospitalizing 18. The pathogen in one of those outbreaks was linked to bacteria that sickened people in a 2019 romaine lettuce outbreak. A total of 22 people in 7 states were sickened in this latest outbreak.  The case count by state is: Arkansas (9), Maryland (1), New York (1), Oklahoma (6), Texas (1), Virginia (2), and Washington (2). Illness onset dates ranged … [Read more...]

Five Outbreak Investigations on USDA Table; Two Are Active

There are five outbreak investigations on the USDA outbreak response table for 2021 only two are active. That table, like the FDA's CORE Investigation table, does not give much information to the public about the outbreaks. The USDA says that "The table does not include outbreak investigations that did not result in one more of the outcomes." Those outcomes include a recall of an FSIS-regulated product linked to the illnesses, a public health alert, and/or an after-action review report. The inactive outbreaks include an E. coli O145 outbreak that officials suspect is linked to ground beef; an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak of unknown origin that does have a link to a CDC Investigation Notice; and a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak of unknown origin. The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak CDC … [Read more...]

Three Outbreaks on the FDA CORE Investigation Table; Two Are Unsolved

There are currently three outbreaks on the FDA CORE Investigation Table and two remain unsolved. The first is caused by Salmonella Miami, with 64 sickened and no product or place identified. The second is an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened 16 people, with no product or place identified. And the third is the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has sickened 11 people, linked to recalled El Abuelito queso fresco cheese. The number of identified outbreaks continues to be slow. During the pandemic last year, the number of outbreaks was at a real low, with only ten multistate food poisoning outbreaks identified in the entire year. Two of the outbreaks have CDC investigation notices. The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak has not been updated since February 2, 2021, but officials seem … [Read more...]

FDA Trying New Romaine Sampling Plan in Yuma, Arizona

The FDA is trying a new romaine sampling plan in Yuma, Arizona. Romaine grown in that area was linked to a deadly E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened at least 210 people in 36 states. Ninety six people were hospitalized. Twenty-seven patients developed HUS. And five people, who lived in Arkansa, California, Minnesota (2 people), and New York, sadly died. And a deadly E. coli O157:H7 outbreak last year, that sickened 32 people in 12 states and was unsolved, was caused by the same strain that made people sick in the 2018 Yuma, Arizona romaine outbreak. That outbreak was not linked to any food or any growing region. So it's appropriate for the FDA to concentrate on that growing region. Lab testing during the investigation found the outbreak strain of E. coli in canal water in the … [Read more...]

Oklahoma E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Second Highest in Nation

The Oklahoma E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, which is part of the national outbreak the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday, is the second highest in the nation with five out of sixteen total sick. Officials are concerned about this outbreak because of fast growth and a high hospitalization rate of 56%. That is much higher than the typical 30% hospitalization rate for the average E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. In addition, three people have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. That rate of 19% is also much higher than the average 4% rate of HUS development in E. coli outbreaks. The CDC is warning people that if they have severe symptoms of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreak they should immediately … [Read more...]

Six in Arkansas Sick in Deadly Mystery E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

Arkansas is hard hit in the deadly mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was announced yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six people are sick in Arkansas, out of 16 in the entire country. This outbreak is unusual because the CDC investigation notice stated that the agency is concerned about the growing number of severe illnesses. Nine of the sixteen patients have been hospitalized for a rate of 56%; that is much higher than the typical 30% hospitalization rate for this type of outbreak. And three of those patients have been diagnosed with HUS, a type of kidney failure. There is no information about what food may have caused this outbreak; we also do not know if any restaurant or supermarket is involved. E. coli outbreaks in the past have been … [Read more...]

New Deadly E. coli Outbreak Causing Severe Illnesses and Hospitalizations

A new deadly  E. coli outbreak has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of February 1, 2021, 16 people in five states are sick with E. coli O157:H7 infections. The investigation notice states that "CDC is concerned about the growing number of severe illnesses and hospitalizations in this outbreak. If you have E.  coli symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider and report your  illness to your local health department." The states where people are sick are Washington (2), Oklahoma (5), Arkansas (6), Virginia (2), and New York (1). Illness onset dates range from December 23, 2020 to January 7, 2021.  Recent illnesses may not yet be reported since it can take two to four weeks to link illnesses to an outbreak. The patient age range is from 10 to 95 … [Read more...]

E. coli O157:H7 Leafy Greens Outbreak Unknown Source 2 Investigation Complete

The E. coli O157:H7 leafy greens outbreak Unknown Source 2 investigation is complete, according to an update posted by the FDA. The outbreak was declared over on December 22, 2020, after sickening at least 40 people in 19 states. Twenty people were hospitalized, and four developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. After the investigation, no recommendation was made to consumers, retailers, or suppliers. Epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicated that leafy greens were linked to this E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. This outbreak was caused by a strain of E. coli that is genetically related to a strain linked to the fall 2019 E. coli O157:H7 romaine outbreak that sickened at least 167 people in 27 states. The patient case count by state is: Arizona (2), … [Read more...]

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