September 20, 2020

Climate Change Increases Foodborne Illness Outbreak Risk

The effects of climate change are stark and worrying. Most people have heard about rising sea water levels, more wildfires, and more extreme weather events. But did you know that climate change increases foodborne illness outbreak risks? A study published in Scientific Reports by Kuhn et al looks at the relationship between Campylobacter outbreaks and climate in Northern Europe. The researchers used national surveillance data of campylobacteriosis infections in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. They found that temperature, rainfall, and snowfall have a predictable effect on infection rates. Higher temperatures and heavier rainfall led to more infections, while shorter heatwaves and winter rain and snowfall reduced the number. Global climate change will change temperatures and … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illnesses Increased, Healthy People 2020 Targets Not Met

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has released information about incidence and trends of foodborne illness from their active surveillance network for 2016 - 2019. They have found that foodborne illnesses increased, so the Healthy People 2020 targets for reducing foodborne illness will not be met. In 2019, FoodNet identified 25,866 cases of infection, 6,164 hospitalizations, and 122 deaths. The overall incidence per 100,000 population was highest for Campylobacter, followed by Salmonella, STEC, Shigella, cyclospora, Yersinia, Vibrio, and Listeria. Eighty-six percent of infections were acquired domestically. It's important to note that most cases of foodborne illness are not reported to physicians, so those cases are not in the … [Read more...]

How Do You Know If You Have a Campylobacter Infection?

With the Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report report release detailing how foodborne illness increased by 65% in 2018 compared to 2015-2017, people are starting to think about the bacteria Campylobacter. This pathogen was the  most common cause of bacterial foodborne illness in the United States in 2018, causing 19.5 illnesses per 100,000 people. How do you know if you have a Campylobacter infection? Most of these cases are not part of outbreaks, which are defined as two or more unrelated people sickened by the same strain of pathogen. About 14 cases are diagnosed per 100,000 people in this country every year. About 1,300,000 Americans are sickened by Campylobacter every year. In 2015, a Campylobacter outbreak in Northern California was associated … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illnesses Increased in 2018 Compared to 2015-2017

Foodborne illnesses increased in 2018 compared to the period of 2015-2017, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control for its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report for the week of April 26, 2019. The report states that this increase may are partially attributable to increased culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs). CIDT identifies pathogens that were not routinely detected by other methods. During 2018, FoodNet identified 25,606 infections, 5,893 hospitalizations, and 120 deaths. The incidence of cyclospora infections increased "markedly," in 2018 because there were several large outbreaks associated with produce. And the number of illnesses caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella remain high. FoodNet surveils the population for lab-diagnosed infections … [Read more...]

MMWR Examines Trends of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks From 2006 to 2017

The CDC is examining trends of foodborne illness outbreaks for 2017 and describes changes in incidence since 2006 in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) for March 23, 2018. Foodborne illness is a substantial health burden in the Untied States. In 2017, there were 24,484 infections, 5,677 hospitalizations, and 122 deaths attributed to food borne illness. Commander with the time period of 2014 to 2016, FoodNet, the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, showed that there was increase of infections with Campylobacter, Listeria, non-0157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Yersinia, Vibrio, and Cyclospora. This increased incidence may have resulted form the increased used and sensitivity of culture-independent diagnostic tests. At the same time, the … [Read more...]

H-E-B Announces Recall of Store-Produced Single-Serving Soups

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted the public that H-E-B stores in the state of Texas are recalling two single-serving soup products. These soups were made in-house from vegetable ingredients that are part of a massive recall issued on October 19th by Mann Packing, headquartered in Salinas, California. These vegetables may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause a very dangerous form of food poisoning. The two single-serving soups affected by the recall are “H-E-B ASIAN NOODLE CUP BEEF” (UPC code 26010400000) and “H-E-B ASIAN NOODLE CUP CHICKEN” (UPC code 26010100000). Because of the food poisoning risk, anyone who has bought one of these soups should either dispose of it properly or return it to its place of purchase for a … [Read more...]

FDA Has Tips for Eating Outdoors and Handling Food Safely

This is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of the summer season. Many people will be barbecuing and having picnics outdoors. These events are opportunities for foodborne illness, especially since the warmer weather months can increase the chance of food poisoning. So the FDA is offering tips for eating outdoors and handling food safely. First, pack and transport the food safely. When perishable foods aren't in the refrigerator, they are at greater risk for bacterial contamination. Cold food should be kept cold. Use a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs and make sure that the temperature in the cooler is at 40*F or below to prevent bacterial growth. You can pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen so they stay colder longer. Organize the cooler contents. Put … [Read more...]

CDC Releases Data on Foodborne Illnesses and CIDTs 2013 – 2016

In the latest issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a report studied the incidence and trends of infections of foodborne pathogens from 2013 - 2016. The report also looked at the effect of the increasing use of culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) on pathogen surveillance. Overall, the 2016 incidence of confirmed Campylobacter infections was lower in the United States, but incidences of confirmed Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Yersinia, and Cryptosporidium infections were higher. But the report states that culture-independent diagnostics tests (CIDTs) are complicating this data, because testing for pathogens may be occurring more frequently using this method.  In 2016, FoodNet, the CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, identified … [Read more...]

People Work Sick, Even When They Should Stay Home

A poll of working adults conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of public health has found that many people work when they are sick, even when they should stay home. This is especially problematic in the food service industry, since sick food handlers can cause serious outbreaks that can sicken many people. In addition, many working adults say that their current job adversely affects their health. And almost half of all working adults give their workplace only fair or poor ratings in efforts to reduce stress. Workers in restaurant jobs say their job has a bad impact on their stress level. In fact, 54% of restaurant workers, by far the most of any sector, say that their current job is bad for their stress … [Read more...]

CDC Announces Awards to Help Fight Infectious Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week that they are awarding almost $110 million to help states strengthen their ability to track and respond to infectious diseases. Increases in funding are going to foodborne-disease prevention and advanced molecular detection. The funding is allocated through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC). Fifty-one million dollars is provided through the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund. Infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response, public health labs, health information systems, and efforts to combat foodborne disease, zoonotic disease, and healthcare-associated infections are supported by this money. The CDC funds all 50 state health … [Read more...]

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