October 18, 2017

Outbreak Investigated at North American Lighting Event in AL

A possible food poisoning outbreak at a catered event hosted by North American Lighting Co. in Muscle Shoals, Alabama is being investigated by the Colbert and Lauderdale County Health Departments, in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Health (ADH).   Thirty-six people have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. The event was held on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Those sickened report vomiting and diarrhea lasting less than 24 hours. Officials are not saying what bacteria they suspect, but these symptoms, with such short duration and fast onset, are indicative of Clostridium perfringens food poisoning. These types of outbreaks typically occur at restaurants, institutions, and during catered events. Clostridium perfringens bacteria grow in food when the … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Outbreak at VA Chincoteague Chili Cook-off

A possible food poisoning outbreak at the 18th Annual Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook-off and Car Show is being investigated by the Virginia Department of Health. That event was held on September 30, 2017. Officials have issued a press release that states, "we are expanding our investigation and are reaching out to the Hampton Roads area as well." There is no information about the symptoms people are experiencing, foods they are concentrating on, or how many people may have been sickened or hospitalized. Anyone who attended that event, whether sick or well, is asked to complete a survey to help officials investigate and solve the outbreak. The survey takes about 5 to 10 minute to complete. Participation is voluntary and responses and any personal information will remain … [Read more...]

Clostridium Perfringens Likely Cause of Ramsey County Jail Outbreak

The outbreak at the Ramsey County jail last month was likely caused by Clostridium perfringens bacteria, Doug Schultz of the Minnesota Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin.  That outbreak, which occurred on September 9, 2017, sickened 137 inmates at the St. Paul jail. Nurses treated inmates at the jail. No one was hospitalized in this outbreak. Sample trays of food that were served for lunch and dinner on that day were tested for pathogenic bacteria. Clostridium perfringens was found in a sample of rice and in tamale pie. C. perfringens causes food poisoning when foods are not properly reheated or are held at a dangerous temperature for a long period of time. Outbreaks usually occur in restaurant and institutional settings, where large containers of food are … [Read more...]

Outbreak at Ramsey County, MN Jail

An outbreak at the Ramsey County jail last week sickened more than 100 inmates, according to Doug Schulz, Information Officer for the Minnesota Department of Health. There were probably no hospitalizations in this outbreak. According to Schulz, food testing is not complete, but he said that negative results won't be meaningful, since food testing is difficult. Food trays were tested after the outbreak was reported to public health officials. One stool sample was collected, but since it was collected long after recovery from the illness, the results will be limited. This sample is not being tested for the same pathogens the food trays were tested for. MDH is not able to interview inmates, and officials probably won't have any further details or answers than what is currently … [Read more...]

Did You Know You Can Help Solve Food Poisoning Outbreaks?

It sounds like something Smoky the Bear said, "only you can prevent foodborne outbreaks!" But it's true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that you can keep your family safe and help protect others from illness. Every year, 1 in 6 Americans contract a foodborne illness. Most of these cases occur individually, but some are part of outbreaks. If two or more people have the same illness caused by the same strain of bacteria, it's an outbreak. The CDC uses epidemiological, traceback, and food and environmental testing data to determine if an illness cluster is a foodborne outbreak. If you get sick and you think you have food poisoning, there are three ways you can help solve the outbreak. First, report your illness to your health department. If you go to a doctor and … [Read more...]

CDC Weighs In On C. Perfringens Outbreak in CT in 2016

The CDC's Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report Note's From the Field this week focuses on a Clostridium perfringens outbreak at a catered lunch in Connecticut in 2016. Nineteen people out of the fifty who attended the lunch were sickened. This outbreak was not shared with the public. The Connecticut Department of Public health was notified about this outbreak in September 2016. They started gathering information, including asking those who attended the event fill out an online survey. Patients started experiencing abdominal pain and/or diarrhea about 24 hours or less after attending the lunch. Most of the patients reported diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache. The median interval from lunch to illness onset was 5.3 hours. Analysis of the food exposures reported by 16 ill … [Read more...]

Brucella Outbreak in Texas From Raw Milk

A Texas resident has been diagnosed with brucellosis and has been hospitalized after consuming raw milk from K-Bar Dairy in Paradise, Texas in Wise County.  An investigation by Texas Department of State Health Services has determined that milk from that facility is "the most probable source of the infection." K-Bar Dairy is a licensed raw milk dairy. Officials are investigating additional illnesses that may be connected to this product. That milk and other dairy products sold by that facility are being recalled. Anyone who has consumed milk or other products from that dairy since June 1 is at high risk of a Brucella infection. The press release states that, "People who consumed milk from this dairy but have no symptoms should discuss the issue with their provider and monitor … [Read more...]

Another Food Poisoning Outbreak at Seattle Restaurant

Another food poisoning outbreak associated with the consumption of raw oysters has sickened people in Seattle, Washington. This time it's at the White Swan Public House at 1001 Fairview Avenue North.   Six people from two separate parties got sick after eating raw oysters at the restaurant on June 30 and July 3, 2017. No laboratory testing has been done, and symptoms suggest fibrosis, but public health officials cannot rule out norovirus. Officials learned about the outbreak on July 6, 2017. Environmental health inspectors were at the restaurant on the same day. The press release states that, "No factors were identified that contribute to the spread of Vibrio, such as insufficient refrigeration temperatures or evidence of cross-contamination." Just like the outbreak at the … [Read more...]

MMWR Covers Canadian Flour E. coli O121 Outbreak

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) for the week of July 78, 2017 has a report about the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 infections in Canada that were associated with flour. That outbreak sickened at least 30 people. Patients affected in this outbreak lived in three provinces when the illnesses were first discovered. PulseNet Canada identified a cluster of six E. coli non-O157 isolates with a matching PFGE pattern on December 29, 2016. An investigation was launched in January 2017. Patient illness onset dates ranged from November 2016 to April 2017. As of May 23, 2017, a total of 29 cases were identified in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. Eight patients were hospitalized, and one developed … [Read more...]

Outbreak at CO Rifle Rodeo was Clostridium Perfringens

Clostridium perfringens caused illnesses at the Rifle Rodeo in Garfield County Colorado in early June, according to a press release from the Garfield County Health Department.  That event was held on June 5, 2017 at the Garfield County Fairgrounds. About 80 people were sickened in that outbreak. An unlicensed vendor served food at the privately organized event. Samples were sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Interviews conducted by public health officials helped pinpoint the source of the food that caused the illnesses. Yvonne Long, Executive Director of Garfield County Public Health said in a statement, "The Rifle Rodeo is a privately-organized event. It should be noted that this particular food vendor has a primary location that has been … [Read more...]

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