September 24, 2017

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...]

Outbreak at Rifle Rodeo in Garfield County, Colorado

Garfield County Public Health is investigating a possible illness outbreak among attendees at the Rifle Rodeo in Colorado. The county's Public Health Agency is investigating gastrointestinal illnesses among "several dozen" people who got sick after going to that event. The department began receiving calls on June 6, 2017 from people who had been experiencing nausea, cramping, and diarrhea. The Rifle Rodeo was a private event held at the Garfield County Fairgrounds on June 5, 2017. About 200 people were at the rodeo. Billy Harkins, Environmental Health Specialist with the Garfield County Consumer Protection Program said, "It appears that people became ill approximately six hours following the end of the rodeo event Monday night. We are still investigating the cause of the … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Outbreak Associated With Rancho Bravo Tacos in Seattle, WA

King County Public Heath is investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis with abdominal cramps and diarrhea associated with Rancho Bravo Tacos at 1001 East Pine Street on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington. Four people from one party got sick soon after eating food at the restaurant on April 22, 2017. None of the patients was hospitalized.  The symptoms and timing of these illnesses suggest Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens toxin. Those bacteria cause the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and illness onset is very quick, usually within thirty minutes to a few hours. No tests were conducted to confirm which pathogen caused the illness because these illnesses are short-lived and by the time a patient sees a doctor it is too far from exposure to test, according to … [Read more...]

E. coli O121 Outbreak in Canada Linked to Flour Grows to 28 Cases

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has updated their investigation into the E. coli O121 outbreak linked to flours and flour products. There are now 28 people sick in that outbreak. The case count by province is: British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 28 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to March 2017. Seven individuals have been hospitalized. These patients have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported. The average age of ill individuals is 24 years. There have been several recalls linked to this outbreak; all of the flours and flour products are produced by Ardent Mills. Brand names of the recalled products include Creative Baker, … [Read more...]

Robin Hood Flour Recalled in Canada for E. coli O121

Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are recalling Robin Hood brand all purpose flour in one size for possible E. coli O121 contamination. There is an outbreak linked to this product that has sickened at least 25 people in four provinces. The recalled product is Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original, in 10 kilogram bags. The lot codes are BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548, and the UPC number is 0 59000 01652 8. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation into this recall and the outbreak. More products may be recalled related to this investigation. If you purchased this product, do not use it or eat it, even if you plan to cook with it. Flour can be scattered around a kitchen as you work, and can easily contaminate other surfaces, utensils, … [Read more...]

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