June 20, 2024

E. coli Outbreak at Lake Anna in Virginia on Memorial Weekend

An E. coli outbreak at Lake Anna in Richmond, Virginia over the Memorial Day weekend has sickened people, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The number of patients has not been released, only that VDH has received "numerous reports of GI illnesses, mainly in children." Some of the patients have been hospitalized and diagnosed with E. coli infections. All potential causes of these illnesses, including food and lake water, are being investigated. The symptoms that patients are experiencing include vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody or watery, fever, and chills. In severe cases, the infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. The notice did not confirm that anyone is suffering from … [Read more...]

Long History of Nut and Nut Product Outbreaks

In the wake of the current E. coli outbreak linked to organic walnuts, there is a long history of nut and nut product outbreaks. Nuts are an agricultural product, and just like leafy greens, herbs, and berries, can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. And nuts, like other types of produce, are often eaten without a consumer "kill step," in other words, cooking. History of Nut and Nut Product Outbreaks The current E. coli O157 outbreak allegedly linked to Gibson Farms organic walnuts and walnut pieces has sickened at least 12 people in two states, California and Washington. Seven of those patients have been hospitalized, and two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The walnuts have been recalled. In 2022, a Salmonella Senftenberg … [Read more...]

Eight Hospitalized in Appalachian Fair Tennessee E. coli Outbreak

Eight patients are now hospitalized in the Appalachian Fair Tennessee E. coli outbreak, according to news reports. Dr. David Kirschke, medical director of the Northeast Regional Health Office updated the outbreak on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. Those patients either visited the fair as part of an elementary school field trip, or had contact with some of those children. Four of those hospitalized are seriously ill with complications. E. coli can be passed person-to-person, as well as through contact with animals who carry the pathogen, and eating contaminated food. It's also possible that E. coli in feces may be on the children's shoes. Then when they get home, the pathogens are transferred to rugs and carpets. At the fair, children allegedly had contact with farm animals. Ruminant … [Read more...]

Fueling Minds Kitchen Calgary E. coli Outbreak Critical Violations

Critical violations have been found at the Fueling Minds Kitchen, which supplied food to daycare centers in Calgary, Alberta, that are experiencing a huge E. coli outbreak, according to news reports. At least 264 people are sick with lab-confirmed cases, 25 remain hospitalized, and 22 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. Several patients have required dialysis. Officials say that this is the largest E. coli outbreak in that province. The inspection report filed after officials went to Fueling Minds Kitchen found several critical violations including the presence of live and dead roaches. The report states that "significant evidence of a pest infestation was found at this food establishment." Two live adult cockroaches were seen on the … [Read more...]

Another Reoccurring E. coli O157:H7 Strain Linked to Leafy Greens

The CDC has identified another reoccurring E. coli O157:H7 strain that is linked to leafy greens outbreaks, according to the September issue of that agency's Emerging Infectious Diseases Dispatch. This strain is in addition to the other reoccurring strain that was mentioned by the CDC in August's Dispatch. Bacterial strains can be identified as reoccurring, emerging, or persisting (REP). Reoccurring strains repeatedly cause acute outbreaks, separated by periods when no illnesses are reported. Emerging strains are previously novel or rare strains that increasingly cause illness. And persisting strains cause illnesses consistently over a long time frame. Whole genome sequencing, which maps a pathogen's DNA, is used to find people sickened by the same bacterial strain. And WGS is … [Read more...]

No New Cases Reported in U of Arkansas E. coli Outbreak

No new cases have been reported in the U of Arkansas E. coli outbreak, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. That outbreak sickened at least 42 people, and four people were hospitalized because they were so ill. There have been no new cases reported since the last U of Arkansas E. coli outbreak update that was issued on August 25, 2023. And all of the previously hospitalized patients who tested positive for E. coli have been discharged. As of the August 31, 2023 update, 37 of those cases were probable based on reported symptoms, while five cases were confirmed with positive tests. The four hospitalized patients tested positive. Results from food samples taken for testing have not pointed to the source of the August outbreak. And the Department of Health has confirmed … [Read more...]

What is the History of Outbreaks Linked to Flour?

With the newest identified outbreak on the FDA CORE Outbreak Investigation Table a Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to flour, the question arises: What is the history of outbreaks linked to flour? Because flour is dry and seems so inert, many people assume that it could not harbor pathogens. But flour is a raw agricultural product, and can be contaminated in the field by birds and animals, during harvest, during transportation, and during processing. Many pathogens can survive with very little water. And no "kill step," that is, heating the grain to a temperature high enough to destroys pathogens, is used when flour is processed. That's why food safety experts warn consumers to be careful handling flour, and to avoid eating raw cookie dough and cake batter made with untreated … [Read more...]

Possible E. coli Outbreak at San Diego State University

A possible E. coli outbreak at San Diego State University (SDSU) in San Diego, California has sickened two students, according to the university's Student Health Services. That agency is working with the San Diego County Health and Human Services to try to identify the cause of the illnesses. The pathogen is suspected to be Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), which produces toxins that can cause serious illness. On September 6, 2022, the university notified their community that the two illnesses had been diagnosed. One student lives at the university and one is non-residential. The students started getting sick on August 27 and August 29, 2022. A specific food source has not been identified in either of the cases. No faculty or staff has been sickened so far. Students can call … [Read more...]

Wendy’s E. coli Outbreak in Ohio Has Sickened 24

The Wendy's E. coli outbreak in Ohio has sickened at least 24 people and has hospitalized six, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Overall, at least 97 people are sick in six states: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and Kentucky. The 24 cases in Ohio are located in these counties: Wood (10), Lucas (4), Lorain (3), Cuyahoga (2), Mahoning (2), Clermont (1), Franklin (1), and Summit (1). The patient age range in that state is from eight to 82 years old. No deaths have been reported. Ten people in this outbreak in all six states have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a complication of this type of infection that affects the kidneys, but the Ohio press release did not mention HUS. While a specific food has not been officially linked to this … [Read more...]

History of Fast Food E. coli Outbreaks is Long and Complicated

There is a mystery E. coli outbreak that has sickened dozens of people in Michigan and Ohio. After days of counties reporting the illnesses, the CDC got involved in the investigation yesterday. At least 29 people in those states are sick, and nine patients have been hospitalized. What could be causing this outbreak? We started thinking about the history of fast food E. coli outbreaks over the years. Unfortunately, outbreaks and fast food restaurants are a fairly common combination. There have been many Salmonella, E. coli, and cyclospora outbreaks associated with those restaurants. The main fast food restaurant chains in this country include Wendy's, McDonald's, Jimmy John's, Jack in the Box, Burger King, and Hardees, among others. These are the E. coli outbreaks linked to fast food … [Read more...]

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