May 24, 2024

Norovirus Outbreak at Stateville Illinois Correctional Center

A suspected norovirus outbreak has been declared at the Stateville Correctional Facility in Illinois. Illinois Department of Corrections spokesperson Melaney Arnold told Food Poisoning Bulletin that approximately 144 inmates reported becoming ill after Christmas. No patients have been hospitalized.  Food testing is underway to try to determine the source of the outbreak. The Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Public Health are working on the outbreak investigation and control efforts. Samples have been sent to the state laboratory, and public health officials are waiting for results. Norovirus is extremely contagious and can be spread person-to-person, through projectile vomiting, touching contaminated surfaces, or through eating contaminated food and drink. It … [Read more...]

Prison Hooch Sends 7 Inmates To ICU with Botulism

Prison hooch, or homemade alcohol,  is the likely source of a botulism outbreak at an Arizona prison that sent seven inmates to intensive care. The seven inmates, all from Special Management Unit 1 of the Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman in Florence, were hospitalized over the weekend. Botulism is not spread through person-to-person contact. Although it can develop in contaminated wounds or through IV drug use, it most often develops after eating or drinking food that is tainted with the toxin. Botulism poisoning  must be treated with a course of special anti-toxin, the stockpile of which is controlled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health officials in Pinal County, where the prison is located, suspect that the inmates became ill after drinking  hooch made … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak at Saginaw Correctional Facility in Michigan

John C. Cordell, Public Information Specialist with the Michigan Department of Corrections told Food Poisoning Bulletin that there is an outbreak of STEC, or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, at the Saginaw Correctional Facility. The facility is quarantined with no prisoner transfers, no group programming or prisoner visitation. So far, 89 prisoners and seven staff have been confirmed ill with the E. coli bacteria. Four prisoners have been hospitalized, but there are no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome. The hospitalizations have been for dehydration. Most cases occurred from August 27 to August 30, 2012. The outbreak may be over, since no cases were identified on September 3 or 4, 2012. The facility may be able to return to normal operations at the end of this week, since the … [Read more...]

Inmates Sickened at Tucker Unit Prison in Arkansas

Shea Wilson, spokesperson for the Tucker Unit of the Arkansas prison system, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that 357 inmates have shown symptoms of a foodborne illness. "The Health Department has indicated in a preliminary report that it is food poisoning from chicken salad," she said. The chicken salad was served to inmates over the weekend. Inmates began to get sick on Sunday, August 5, 2012. Inmate visitation was suspended over the weekend. That number of inmates is 42% of the total prison population. There is no information about the bacteria or virus that may have caused these illnesses. Fifteen officials of the Arkansas Department of Health were at the Tucker Unit on August 7. They interviewed staff and patients and took samples. No prison staff have been reported ill. Five … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning at Kent County Jail in Michigan

The Kent County Health Department is investigating a potential food poisoning outbreak at the Kent County Jail. On Sunday, April 15, 2012, 250 inmates became ill with the symptoms of food poisoning. Lisa LaPlante, the Communications Manager for the Kent County Health Department, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that no inmates were hospitalized and everyone "recovered very quickly." The Department has launched an investigation into the outbreak, which is ongoing. "We have not ruled anything out and have not ruled anything in at this point," she said, although "we are looking at chicken tacos" as a potential source of the outbreak. The meals served that day at the prison are being tested for possible contamination. … [Read more...]

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Inmates and Food Poisoning

  The U.S. Centers for Disease control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report was released this week. In it, a food poisoning outbreak at a minimum-security correctional facility was discussed. That facility, the Four Mile Correctional Center in Canon City, is a "designated work center where inmates are employed or receive vocational training." In 2010, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) started investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 0111 (STEC 0111). Ten inmates at the facility were confirmed victims of the bacteria. Investigators found that 14 other inmates had the same symptoms, including bloody diarrhea. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing found that the bacteria in stool samples matched bacteria taken from … [Read more...]

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