February 20, 2020

FDA Weighs In On the Newest Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak

The FDA has weighed in on the newest romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 17 people in 8 states. If Maryland Health Department information is added to that total, there are 22 people sick. But the CDC announcement said 17 are ill because only two of the seven Maryland cases have been definitely linked to the outbreak through whole genome sequencing (WGS). This outbreak took some time to unfold. A cluster of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)  illnesses was first identified in Wisconsin last week. Then, an E. coli outbreak in Maryland was identified. The CDC and FDA put it all together, announcing the multistate STEC HUS outbreak on November 20, 2019. The outbreak has been associated with Ready Pac Bistro® Chicken Caesar Salad sold at Sam's Club in … [Read more...]

Missa Bay Salads Recalled As Part of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Investigation

Missa Bay LLC, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, is recalling about 97,272 pounds of salad products made with meat or poultry because the lettuce ingredient used to make the salads may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The notice does not state that no illnesses have been reported that are connected to these products. There is a multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak just announced yesterday by the CDC that is linked to some types of lettuce, including romaine. As part of an investigation into the Maryland section of the outbreak, the state collected and tested ingredients in a Ready Pac Bistro Caesar Salad with FSIS EST number 18502B on the label that was taken from the home of one of the patients sickened in this outbreak. The romaine lettuce tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. All … [Read more...]

CDC Investigating E. coli O157:H7 Romaine Outbreak Including MD and WI Illnesses

An E. coli O157:H7 romaine outbreak that includes illnesses reported by Maryland and Wisconsin has just been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Maryland outbreak was announced on November 18, 2019, and the Wisconsin outbreak was announced on November 16, 2019, although the first indication of the Wisconsin illnesses was posted on ProMED-mail. So far, the CDC says that 17 people are sick in 8 states. The case count by state is: Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Idaho (3), Maryland (2), Montana (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (6). The case count for Maryland posted by the CDC is different from the case count posted by the Maryland Department of Health, which is seven sick. So there may be as many as 22 people who are ill in this … [Read more...]

Wisconsin E. coli O157 HUS Outbreak Identified

An E. coli O157 outbreak has been identified in Wisconsin. The press release states, "Between November 13 and November 15, 2019, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) Communicable Diseases Epidemiology Section has observed a significant increase in the number of reported cases of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 infection. We are treating this as an outbreak. Cases have been reported from numerous jurisdictions within Wisconsin, and have not been isolated to a single region. One associated case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) has also been reported." Officials do not yet know what food may be the source of the pathogen, but we do know that three women from northwest Wisconsin were diagnosed with what appears to be an E. coli O157 infection; they ate "lots of salads" before … [Read more...]

Possible Wisconsin E. coli O157 Outbreak Associated With Salads

UPDATE: There may be as many as 9 people sickened in this possible outbreak, according to some reports. We'll keep you updated. According to a notice posted on ProMED-mail on November 14, 2019, a possible Wisconsin E. coli O157 outbreak may be associated with salads. ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases and tracks illnesses and possible disease outbreaks around the world. Launched in 1994, it is considered an early warning system for healthcare workers. The notice states, "Over the past 5 days, our health care facility in northwest Wisconsin, USA, has seen 3 women hospitalized with _E coli_ O157 infection. All presented with significant abdominal pain without fever and watery diarrhea which in 2 progressed to bloody diarrhea. None of the 3 … [Read more...]

Philadelphia E. coli Outbreak Grows to 19 Sick; No Source Found

The Philadelphia E. coli outbreak has grown to include 19 ill persons. James Garrow of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health updated Food Poisoning Bulletin in an email. The Department cannot confirm whether or not anyone has been hospitalized. The case count is accurate as of September 6, 2019. Public health officials continue investigating the source of the pathogen. The Health Alert stated that restaurants may be involved in this outbreak, but no specific restaurants have been named yet. The outbreak was originally reported on September 5, 2019. The age range of patients at that time was 7 to 90. This age range may have changed; but we don't know for sure. E. coli outbreaks in restaurants are not common, and most often are labeled "associated with" or "possible." … [Read more...]

MN State Fair E. coli Outbreak: Are These Outbreaks Common?

With the announcement yesterday of the MN State Fair E. coli outbreak that has sickened 11 people and hospitalized six, we were wondering how many other state and county fairs have had these serious outbreaks. Are these E. coli. outbreaks common at local, county, and state fairs? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. There have been quite a few E. coli outbreaks at state and county fairs over the years, and some have been deadly. These are the state and county fair outbreaks that have occurred since 2012: In 2012, a huge E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina sickened 106 people, including 65 children. Thirteen people were hospitalized in that outbreak, and one child died. Fair organizers banned petting zoos at the event after this outbreak. In … [Read more...]

Minnesota State Fair E. coli O157 Outbreak Sickens 11; 1 With HUS

An E. coli O157 outbreak associated with the Minnesota State Fair has sickened 11 people, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This Minnesota State Fair E. coli outbreak was announced today. Evidence suggests that contact with livestock is a "key factor" in this outbreak. Patients interviewed by public health officials say that they visited the fair between August 25, 2019 and September 2, 2019. Illness onset dates range from August 29, 2019 to September 6, 2019. Whole genome sequencing indicates that the E. coli O157 strains are closely related. Six people were hospitalized; one remains in the hospital. One person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is potentially fatal. Cases range in age from 2 to 43 years. HUS is most … [Read more...]

Philadelphia E. coli Outbreak Sickens At Least 14

A Philadelphia E. coli outbreak has sickened at least 14 people, according to a Health Alert issued by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Public health officials "have identified a few shared restaurant exposures," in their ongoing case investigation, but no one restaurant or food has been named so far. In the past, E. coli outbreaks have been linked to ground beef, flour, animals at county fairs, raw milk, and lettuce. Just about any food can be contaminated with this pathogen through cross-contamination. The source of E. coli is typically found in the guts of ruminant animals such as cows and goats and is shed in their feces. Person-to-person transmission is also possible because the infectious does is small; just 10 bacteria. The patient age range in this outbreak … [Read more...]

Sisseton South Dakota E. coli Outbreak Sickens Eight Children

A Sisseton South Dakota E. coli outbreak has sickened eight children, according to news reports. The South Dakota Department of Health is investigating this outbreak. Some of the patients have been hospitalized, but we don't know how many. We also don't know if any of the children has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is a serious complication of an E. coli infection. Dr. Joshua Clayton, the state epidemiologist, told the Aberdeen News that the source of the pathogen has not been identified. The Department of Health was notified about the outbreak last week by either a physician or a hospital after the first infection was confirmed. And he said that the disease can be spread person-to-person. While some of the patients may have gone to … [Read more...]

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