October 23, 2021

Foodborne Illness Outbreak at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska

A foodborne illness outbreak at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska has sickened almost 80 people, according to the Anchorage Daily News. State epidemiologists are investigating the outbreak that has sickened hospital employees. All patients developed symptoms on or around on the morning of August 7, 2021. Everyone who got sick ate food brought in as employee meals from a variety of local restaurants. Those restaurants have not yet been named. A post on the Alaska Health and Social Services Facebook page has a survey that anyone who lives in the Homer area can take to help officials solve this outbreak. No patients or hospital residents ate the food. The source of the outbreak is not known at the time. The agencies investigating the outbreak are the Alaska Department of … [Read more...]

Norovirus Vaccine May Be Possible Using Newly Discovered Antibodies

A norovirus vaccine may be possible in the future using newly discovered antibodies, according to research from a collaboration between the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Baylor College of Medicine. Norovirus is the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States, sickening about 20 million Americans every year, and causes 1.8 billion cases of illness worldwide. The virus is very contagious and is constantly mutating. The research is published in Nature Communications. The scientists found antibodies that actually recognize different noroviruses. Since norovirus won't grow in a lab so scientists can test vaccines, the researchers took white blood cells from people who recently had norovirus infections. A panel of human monoclonal antibodies were isolated. And … [Read more...]

Milwaukee Police Food Poisoning Outbreak Sickens Eleven

A Milwaukee police food poisoning incident allegedly sickened eleven police officers at a retirement party. Several officers had to seek treatment at local hospitals. According to news reports, the food was apparently prepared privately and didn't come from a restaurant and it was not catered. The officers work at Police District 5, which covers the area just north of the downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. The event was for the retirement of a police supervisor and promotion of another officer. People started getting sick hours after the party. While there is no word on exactly which pathogen may have made these officers sick, there are some clues in the timing of the outbreak. Food poisoning that occurs so soon after eating could be caused by several pathogens, including … [Read more...]

Minnesota Norovirus Outbreaks Increase Significantly

Minnesota norovirus outbreaks have been increasing "significantly," in the past few weeks, according to a press release issued by the Minnesota Department of Health. Accordingly, officials are reminding restaurants and other food establishments that ill employees must not work, according to the Minnesota Food Code. Norovirus is a very contagious foodborne illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It is spread through person-to-person contact, through contact with fomites (hard surfaces), and through contaminated food and drink. There was reduced outbreak activity in food establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic, but as restrictions are lifting, so are outbreaks. To prevent these Minnesota norovirus outbreaks, employees must not work if they are ill with vomiting or diarrhea. … [Read more...]

Outbreak at Waterford Township School District in New Jersey

An outbreak at Waterford Township School District in New Jersey has closed school buildings for two weeks, according to a letter by Superintendent Dr. Brenda Haring that was sent to parents on May 10, 2021. According to the letter, employees who attended a luncheon held on May 6, 2021 that was catered by an outside vendor are sick with symptoms of food poisoning. More than 60% of the staff members got sick and are "continuing to recover." The district can't properly staff the building so they switched to an asynchronous day of instruction yesterday and continued that schedule today. The district reported the incident to the Camden County Department of Health and the Waterford Township Police Department for investigation. The pathogen that caused the illnesses is not yet known, … [Read more...]

How Do You Know If You Have a Norovirus Infection?

Norovirus is the most common type of food poisoning, causing about 685,000,000 case worldwide every year. The virus is extremely contagious and is passed through contaminated food and drink, through contact with contaminated surfaces, and through person-to-person contact. Most people with this infection do not require medical care, but some people, especially those in high risk groups such as the elderly, the very young, and people with chronic health conditions may become dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea and need hospitalization. In children under the age of five, mostly in developing countries, this infection causes about 50,000 deaths every year. Symptoms of norovirus include: Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Stomach pain Fever Headache Body aches Symptoms … [Read more...]

Norovirus-Like Outbreak at Brave Horse Tavern in Seattle Sickens 43

A norovirus-like outbreak at the Brave Horse Tavern in Seattle, Washington has sickened at least 43 people, according to an update by Seattle-King County Health Department. That restaurant is located at 310 Terry Avenue North in Seattle. Meal dates for those sickened were November 23 and November 24, 2019. Prior food safety inspections found areas where the restaurant needs to improve. There are no laboratory results for people who got sick, because testing is not typically done on people who present with these symptoms. The symptoms suggest norovirus. The people who are sick are suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, chills, and fever, which are typical symptoms for norovirus. Since November 27, 2019, 30 people from 5 meal parties said they got sick after consuming food … [Read more...]

Cornerstone Frozen Blackberries Recalled For Possible Norovirus

Cornerstone Frozen Blackberries are being recalled for possible norovirus contamination. The FDA started testing frozen berries for norovirus and hepatitis A in May 2019 after several outbreaks linked to those products sickened hundreds. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this recall. The recalled product is Cornerstone Frozen Blackberries packaged in 16 ounce packages. The UPC number on the product is 8 55104 00765 9, the lot number is GC 1 1092 9 and the expiration date is April, 2021. These berries were distributed from April 2, 2019 through August 7, 2019. These berries were sold in retail stores in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maine, Florida, Alabama, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and West Virginia. Norovirus is very contagious. It causes symptoms … [Read more...]

Alleged Outbreak at Pita Hot in Fullerton, CA Closes Restaurant

Pita Hot, a restaurant in Fullerton, California, has been closed twice by the Orange County Health Agency in the last few weeks because of a suspected food poisoning outbreak.  All information about this outbreak has been contained in restaurant inspection reports. The inspection report specifically names norovirus, but there is no information about whether or not any ill persons have tested positive for that pathogen. The site I Was Poisoned received many reports of illness by people visiting the restaurant. The restaurant was closed on June 19, 2019 by health inspectors. They were sent to the facility because of alleged foodborne illness complaints. The reason for the closure was: On-Going Foodborne Illness. One of the action items named in that report is: "Complete the … [Read more...]

Great Value, Tipton Frozen Blackberries Recalled For Possible Norovirus

Alma Pak of Alma, Georgia is recalling some lots of products containing frozen blackberries because they may be contaminated with norovirus. FDA testing of the blackberries was positive for the virus. The FDA initiated a berry testing program earlier this year. The recalled products are 16 ounce packages of Great Value Frozen Blackberries sold at Walmart. The UPC number on the product is 078742-431017. The lot numbers and associated expiration dates are AP1555 and 1/25/2021; AP1640 and 3/07/2021; and AP1655 and 4/08/2021. The berries were distributed from 1/31/2019 through 5/31/2019 in these states: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Also recalled are 12 ounce packages of Tipton Grove Frozen Mixed Berries, sold at Save-A-Lot stores. The lot number of the recalled … [Read more...]

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