July 23, 2021

Who Are High Risk Populations in Food Poisoning Outbreaks?

When Food Poisoning Bulletin writes about outbreaks, we always mention how some groups are more likely to suffer serious illness and complications if they get sick. Who are high risk populations? And why are they high risk in the first place? The main groups that are at higher risk for problems if they contract a food poisoning infection include: The elderly Pregnant women Very young children Anyone with a chronic illness Anyone who has a compromised immune system These groups are more susceptible to hospitalization for different reasons. Anyone who has a family member in one of these groups should take extra care in cooking food safely and should keep up with food recalls and outbreak notices. Elderly people are more susceptible to serious problems from food … [Read more...]

Adult STEC HUS Disease More Serious and Fatal Than in Children

A new study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases has found that adult STEC HUS disease is more serious and fatal than the same disease in children, even though children are far more likely to develop this complication after an E. coli infection. The retrospective study looked at Shiga toxin-associated hemolytic uremic syndrome in 96 adults who lived in France from 2009 to 2017. The researchers found that 20% of adults in France who had STEC HUS disease died during hospitalization, while less than one percent of children who had STEC-associated HUS died  during the same years. The deaths were concentrated in the age group of 60+ years. Furthermore, adults had cerebral involvement three times more often than children. More than 52% of adult patients had severe neurologic … [Read more...]

Yogurt E. coli Outbreak: What is a Secondary Food Poisoning Infection?

In the Pure Eire yogurt E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 16 people in Washington and Arizona, some of the patients have contracted secondary food poisoning infections. This term may not be familiar to everyone. So what is this type of infection? A secondary food poisoning infection occurs when someone gets sick from contact with another person, not by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Many pathogens can be spread person-to-person, by direct contact and common contact with fomites (surfaces), both through the fecal-oral route. In the Pure Eire yogurt E. coli outbreak, for instance, two children in Arizona are sick with the outbreak strain, but neither consumed the recalled yogurt. Instead, they contracted this infection after having close contact … [Read more...]

Organic Yogurt E. coli Outbreak Expands, Investigation Continues

An E. coli outbreak linked to organic yogurt sold under the brand names Pure Eire and PCC Market now includes 16 cases, a spokesperson told Food Poisoning Bulletin today. Most of the people sickened are children. Ten people have been hospitalized, and four have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections. The organic yogurt E. coli outbreak includes 14 cases in Washington and two cases in Arizona. Both cases in Arizona are considered secondary infections, meaning the Arizona patients did not eat the yogurt but were in close contact with a visitor from Wahington who did. The grass-fed, organic yogurt associated with the outbreak is produced by Pure Eire Dairy of Othello, WA  and sold under the brand names Pure Eire and PCC … [Read more...]

Three Iowa Children Hospitalized with HUS After E. coli Infections

Three Iowa children hospitalized with HUS after they contracted E. coli infections have been identified by several different newspapers in that state. The Jackson County Health Department does not know what the source of these illnesses is, and we do not know if the children are all sickened by the same strain of E. coli. TV6 is reporting that viewers are telling the station that there may be more cases throughout Jackson County. It's also worth nothing that there was a boil water notice in the city of Maquoketa, where all three of these children live, in late May. The Sentinel Press reports that 12-year-old Shane Howell's  mother noticed that was not acting like himself, so she immediately got him to the doctor. He, along with two other children, is hospitalized at the University … [Read more...]

Possible Iowa E. coli Outbreak Sickens Several Children With HUS

A possible Iowa E coli outbreak has sickened several children, according to the Telegraph Herald. The children, who live in Maquoketa in Jackson County, have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure, and have been hospitalized at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. The source of the pathogen has not been identified by local health officials. The Jackson County Health Department is trying to determine what have might have caused this outbreak. The type of E. coli bacteria that causes HUS is called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC. The pathogen produces Shiga toxins, which attack the intestinal lining, causing bloody diarrhea. The toxin then travels through the bloodstream, where it attacks and kills red … [Read more...]

Pure Eire Yogurt E. coli Outbreak Sickens 15 in Washington and Arizona

The Pure Eire Yogurt E. coli outbreak has now sickened 15 people in Washington state and Arizona, according to an update by the Washington Department of Health. Nine people have been hospitalized, which is double the usual percentage for an E. coli outbreak, and four patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kind of kidney failure. The Washington DOH is one;y reporting cases that have been genetically linked. Local health departments may report higher numbers that may include cases that are till under investigation. The case count by county in Washington state is: Benton (1), Clark (1), King (9), Snohomish (2), Walla Walla (1), and one case in Yavapai in Arizona. The Arizona patient was likely a secondary infection, meaning the person sickened was probably made … [Read more...]

How Do You Know If You Have Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?

Hemolytic uremic syndrome can be a complication of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection that is a type of kidney failure. People who develop this condition often need dialysis and may even need kidney transplants. They can also suffer seizures. This condition can be life-threatening. Other causes of this condition include taking certain medications, having other types of infections, and inheriting a type of HUS that runs in families. In the group which has developed HUS after an E. coli infection, most are under the age of five. Among children younger than 18 who develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, about 80% have had STEC infections. About 5 to 10% of patients who contract STEC infections develop HUS. All patients with HUS should be hospitalized so their condition and … [Read more...]

Pure Eire Dairy Yogurt Recalled In Association with Washington E. coli Outbreak

According to a notice on its Facebook page, Pure Éire Dairy, located in Washington state, is recalling Pure Eire Dairy yogurt because it may be associated with the Washington E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least eleven people in four counties. In an email, the Washington State Department of Health has identified the outbreak as "likely linked" to PCC Community Market brand yogurt that is produced by Pure Eire Dairy. According to that Facebook post, 12 hours ago the Washington State Department of Agriculture pulled 12 random yogurt samples from store shelves and all have come back negative for E. coli bacteria. Often in outbreaks, food that has made people sick may have been used or discarded by the time that officials start investigations and testing. The recalled … [Read more...]

Two E. coli Cases in Snohomish County, Washington Added to King County

Two E. coli cases in Snohomish County, Washington state, have been identified, according to a press release from the Snohomish Health District. These cases, in a 20-year-old woman and a 10-year-old child, are apparently connected to the seven children who are sick with Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in King County, Washington. The child has been hospitalized, but no further information about him or her has been shared with the public for patient privacy considerations. Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Information Officer for the Snohomish Health District, said in a statement, "The exact source of E. coli contamination can be difficult to pinpoint, but public health interviews lead us to believe the cases may be linked to eating fresh produce. While we continue working … [Read more...]

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