December 13, 2017

Salmonella Newport Outbreak in WA and OR: Why is Precut Fruit a Food Poisoning Risk?

A Salmonella Newport outbreak in Washington and Oregon has been linked to precut fruit sold at QFC, Fred Meyer, Rosauers, and Central Market stores. How is this possible? How can fruit, which doesn't naturally carry pathogenic bacteria like meats and poultry do, be contaminated? Most people don't know that eating produce is the most common way people get food poisoning. In fact, Salmonella is the most common pathogen found on produce. The fruits and vegetables can be contaminated in the field by animal feces or by contaminated irrigation water. They can be contaminated during harvest, or during processing or transportation before they even get to the stores. And cutting fruits and vegetables at those stores or at distribution centers can multiply the problem. Whenever a piece of … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pre Cut Fruit in Washington and Oregon Sickens Eighteen

A Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut fruit including watermelon, cantaloupe, or fruit mixes has sickened at least 18 people in Washington and Oregon, according to the Washington Department of Health. The items were sold at QFC, Fred Meyer, Rosauers, and Central Market in both states. The products were sold on or about October 25, 2017 up to December 1, 2017. The case count in this Salmonella outbreak by county is: King (5), Mason (1), Pierce (1), Snohomish (7), Thurston (1), and Yakima (1) counties and two individuals from Oregon. Lab tests have identified Salmonella Newport as the bacteria responsible for these illnesses. The Washington Department of Health is working with state and federal health officials to try to find out where the fruit originated, where it was cut and … [Read more...]

Salmonella Paratyphi Outbreak Associated With Raw Tuna Sickens 30

A Salmonella paratyphi outbreak associated with raw tuna or salmon was announced at a Clark County health board meeting in Washington state. During that meeting, on October 26, 2017, Madison Riethman, an applied epidemiology fellow at that department, said that illnesses in at least 30 people in 7 states have been confirmed. The information was presented in a slide show. On August 29, 2017, five cases of Salmonella were reported to Clark County Public Health's Communicable Disease team. Three of five cases were interviewed that week, but no common exposures were found. Then, on September 8, lab tests on the Salmonella bacteria from all five cases came back with the same DNA fingerprint. On that day Oregon Health Authority found 12 more Salmonella cases with the same DNA. Out of … [Read more...]

Pride and Joy Dairy License Suspended After Salmonella illnesses Confirmed

Two people sickened with Salmonella Dublin and hospitalized in January 2017 have been linked to raw milk samples produced by Pride and Joy Dairy in Toppenish, Washington. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) suspended that dairy's milk processing plant license due to "ongoing concerns about pathogens in their retail milk product," according to the news release. In September, WSDA told consumers not to drink any Pride and Joy retail milk products because Salmonella bacteria had been found in the beverage. Pride and Joy at first refused to issue a recall, then did so a day later. The sampling was part of routine testing of all licensed raw milk dairy operations. The dairy can still ship milk to other processing plants for pasteurization, but cannot legally bottle … [Read more...]

CDC Issues Report About 2016 Campylobacter Outbreak in Clark County, WA

A Campylobacter outbreak in Clark County, Washington in 2016 was associated with undercooked chicken liver mousse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Notes from the Field about that outbreak in last week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). On July 13, 2016, Clark County Public Health received a report of diarrheal illness in four of seven members of one party who ate at a local restaurant earlier that month. The report was received through an online and phone reported system. Five people interviewed said their only shared exposure was that restaurant meal. CCPH closed the restaurant kitchen on July 13, 2016, and began an investigation. The restaurant was not named, and news of the outbreak was not released to the public. This outbreak was … [Read more...]

Campylobacter Outbreak Associated with Cafe Juanita in Washington State

A Campylobacter outbreak that has sickened two people is associated with Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Washington state. A single meal was consumed by a party there on June 24, 2017. On July 24, Public Health King County learned about two ill persons during an interview with one of them who had been diagnosed with this type of food poisoning. King County did not confirm the second illness until August 16, 2017. No other ill persons have been identified. The patients shared many food items, including foie gras. This food has been linked to other Campylobacter outbreaks in the past, especially when it is eaten raw or undercooked. Public Health's Environmental Health Inspectors visited the restaurant on August 17, 2017. During the field inspection, officials saw the cooking process … [Read more...]

Much of Vashon Island Shellfish Harvest Areas Closed for PSP

King County Public Health in Seattle, Washington, has closed most of Vashon Island beaches for shellfish harvesting after Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) has been detected at unsafe levels. Quartermaster Harbor is still open for harvest. The commercial harvest is not affected. PSP is a neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine organism. The toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing. PSP poisoning can be life threatening. You cannot determine if the toxin is present by looking at the water or shellfish; it can only be found with laboratory testing. The toxin does not change the taste or texture of shellfish. PSP is not the same thing as "red tide." Advisory signs at beaches have been posted by public health officials. The closure includes all species of shellfish, … [Read more...]

Why Undercooked Oysters Can Make You Sick

Public Health-King County is telling consumers why raw oysters can make you sick. Jenny Lloyd, one of the epidemiologists who has been investigating foodborne illness outbreaks linked to oysters in that state, answered some questions. The current outbreaks in Seattle have been caused by Vibrio bacteria. That bacteria lives in marine waters. Their numbers increase during the warm summer months, which explains the current crop of outbreaks. Since oysters are filter feeders, the bacteria concentrate in their flesh. Eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters, is the main risk for contracting this illness. Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. Fish should be opaque and separate easily when tested with a fork. Clams, mussels, and oysters should … [Read more...]

Vibrio Outbreak Associated with Tilapia From Seattle Supermarket

A Vibrio vulnificus infection has been diagnosed in a Seattle man, who cut his hand preparing tilapia that was allegedly purchased live on July 16, 2017 from Seattle Supermarket, according to Seattle - King County Public Health. The man got sick on July 17, 2017 and is still hospitalized. His wife got sick with diarrhea and abdominal cramps, also on July 17, 2017. She was not hospitalized and is recovering. Tilapia fish obtained from Seattle Supermarket tested positive for Vibrio vulnificus bacteria. All epidemiological and laboratory evidence collected so far suggest that tilapia from Seattle Supermarket are a likely source of this outbreak. This is the sec and occurrence of Vibrio vulnificus associated with live tilapia. Seattle Supermarket has a hold placed on the sale of all … [Read more...]

Salmonella Stanley Outbreak in Washington State

A Salmonella Stanley outbreak in Washington state has been reported to the Seattle-King County Public Health Department. Six people infected with the outbreak strain of bacteria were reported to Public Health during July 17 - July 24, 2017. On July 26 and 27, pulsed field-gel electrophoresis (PFGE) results came in. They showed that four of the six cases have the same genetic fingerprint, which suggests a common source of infection. Genetic fingerprinting for the other two cases is pending. This particular strain of Salmonella bacteria has only been seen twice before in King County. Usually, only two to six cases are reported in that area every year. Public Health is interviewing patients in this outbreak to gather information about possible risk sources. The median age of the … [Read more...]

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