Campylobacter Outbreak Associated with Consumption of Raw Milk

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 8:49am -- SRutledge

Kenai Peninsula, January – February 2013

The following message was sent to you through the Alaska Public Health Alert Network (AK PHAN), a joint message from the Alaska Division of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Please share this information with others who may be interested.

Note: Contact information for the Alaska Section of Epidemiology can be found at the end of this message.

Health Advisory

February 15, 2013
Campylobacter Outbreak Associated with Consumption of Raw Milk
Kenai Peninsula, January – February 2013
The purpose of this Health Advisory is to inform you of a recent and potentially ongoing outbreak of Campylobacter infections that have been associated with consuming raw milk.

What is the outbreak?
Campylobacter infection is reportable by state regulations to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Section of Epidemiology (SOE). Since late January, 2013, four people with confirmed Campylobacter infection and at least one person with probable infection reported consuming raw (unpasteurized) milk in the few days preceding illness. One infant with close contact to a confirmed case-patient is also suspected of having Campylobacter infection. All six reside on the Kenai Peninsula. The Campylobacter isolated from the four lab-confirmed cases are a match by molecular techniques (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE). This strain of Campylobacter has not been previously identified in Alaska.

What is Campylobacter and how do people become infected?
Campylobacter are bacteria that can cause diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal cramping/pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever within 2 to 5 days after exposure. The illness typically lasts from several days to over a week, with variable severity. Some people, especially young children or individuals with compromised immune systems, can develop severe or even life-threatening illness. Infrequently, Campylobacter infection leads to long-term consequences. Some people with Campylobacter infection develop arthritis, and rarely, some develop a life-threatening disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome that inflames the nerves of the body beginning several weeks after the onset of diarrhea.

Outbreaks of Campylobacter are often associated with consumption of unpasteurized milk —one such outbreak, traced to a Mat-Su Valley farm, resulted in 18 illnesses in Alaska in 2011. Other sources ofCampylobacter infection include consumption of undercooked meat, consumption of
food or water cross-contaminated by raw meat, or contact with feces from infected animals. Human to human transmission can also occur.

What can you do?
• If you are currently experiencing symptoms as described above, please contact your health care provider and alert them to this Advisory.
• If you have consumed raw milk in 2013 and subsequently developed a diarrheal illness, please contact the Section of Epidemiology to report the illness and get answers to questions you might have. Please call SOE at 907-269-8000 (in Anchorage) or toll free at 1-800-478-0084 and ask to speak to a member of the Epi-Team.
• Please share this Health Advisory with others you know who consume raw milk.

Additional resources:
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Campylobacter information:

• General raw milk information:

• Alaska 2011 Epidemiology Bulletins on raw milk-associated Campylobacter outbreak:

• Alaska 2009 Epidemiology Bulletin on raw milk:

• Alaska DEH information on raw milk:

You are subscribed to the AK Public Health Alert Network for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Outbreaks in Missouri and Oregon

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 11:18am -- SRutledge

19 Ill With E. Coli In Oregon Raw Milk Outbreak
By: Cookson Beecher

Nineteen people in Oregon are ill with E. coli in an outbreak traced to raw milk from Foundation Farm near Wilsonville -- up one from the 18 cases reported Thursday -- according to a April 20 news release from the Public Health Division of the state's Health Authority.

Of the 19 people, 11 have culture-confirmed E. coli O157 infections. Fifteen of the 19 cases are children 19 or younger. Four of the children have been hospitalized with kidney failure. On April 19, a Portland hospital confirmed that one of the hospitalized children -- a 13-year-old girl -- was in critical condition. According to a member of the cowshare implicated in the outbreak, as many as four of the farmer's children are also sickened, including one with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

Children, the elderly and those who are frail healthwise are the most vulnerable to being infected by E. coli O157, a potentially fatal foodborne disease characterized by diarrhea (sometimes bloody) and abdominal pain. Kidney failure and related complications may occur. Symptoms usually develop within 2 to 8 days of eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated milk.

Oregon public health officials urge anyone who has consumed raw milk and is experiencing these symptoms to contact a doctor or health-care provider.

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15 Ill With E. Coli In Missouri, Multiple Sources Possible
By: James Andrews

Illnesses in the ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in central Missouri rose to 15 on Friday, while information on the individual infections suggests they may come from multiple sources.

Of the 15 cases, seven individuals have reported that they consumed raw milk products from a single dairy in Howard County. As a result, the dairy has been under investigation and has halted sales of its raw milk products.

The E. coli infections in six of those seven raw milk drinkers have shown to match by their identifiable genetic pattern known as a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The infection of the seventh raw milk drinker -- the newest addition to the total number ill -- has a different PFGE pattern, though one that is very similar to the other six, according to epidemiologist Sarah Rainey at Missouri's Columbia-Boone County Health Department.

Of the other eight illnesses -- the ones who did not report consuming raw milk products -- only one individual has a PFGE pattern matching the raw milk drinkers. The other seven infections vary genetically or have not returned a PFGE reading.

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Salmonella Outbreak Across 19 States- Spicy Tuna Rolls to Blame?

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 3:18pm -- SRutledge

(CBS/AP) - The government is investigating sushi as a possible culprit behind a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 90 people across 19 states and Washington D.C.
A memo from the Food and Drug Administration said the outbreak is "rapid and expanding in number of cases," with seven hospitalizations reported. No deaths have been reported to date.

The investigators are reportedly honing in on spicy tuna rolls it calls "highly suspect."
Reports of the foodborne illness have mainly come from the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast, though cases have been reported as far west as Missouri and Texas. Investigators are focusing on six clusters of restaurants in Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours of eating the contaminated food. The illness can be life-threatening in people with weakened immune systems or infants and the elderly.
According to CNN, news of the investigation surfaced when an internal memo was accidentally sent to everyone at the FDA.
FDA spokesman Curtis Allen would not confirm or elaborate on the information, saying the memo "contains numbers of cases and hospitalizations that cannot be confirmed at this time."
"It is too early to speculate on the cause of the outbreak," Allen said.
CDC spokesperson Lola Russell told CNN ,"on initial interviews, many of the ill persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill."
The FDA is working with the CDC and state officials to identify the source of the outbreak. Investigators conduct interviews with sick patients about what they've eaten and analyze menus and food ingredients to trace the path of the bacteria.
The memo notes there is likely a 30-day lag time between when people become sick and when cases are reported to health officials.
Previous outbreaks of salmonella barely have been linked to bean sprouts, which are grown in warm, damp conditions.

This article taken from:

Salmonella in Curry Powder (Canada) and E. coli In No Name Beef Burgers And Beef Steakettes (Canada)

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 4:41pm -- SRutledge

Salmonella in Curry Powder (Canada)
OTTAWA, The public warning issued on March 8, 2012 has been expanded to include additional lot codes.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and G. Dion Foods are warning the public not to consume the Dion brand curry powder described below because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The following Dion brand product is affected by this expanded alert:
Product Organic Curry powder
Size 36 g
UPC 6 20383 02007 7
Lot Code 01B12G & 12A05G

This product has been distributed in Quebec and Ontario.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.
Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. In young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, salmonellosis may cause serious and sometimes deadly infections. In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.
The Manufacturer, G. Dion Foods, Saint-Jerome, Quebec, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.
For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers: G. Dion Foods at 1-877-569-8001

This recall taken from:

E. coli In No Name Beef Burgers And Beef Steakettes (Canada)
OTTAWA, The public warning issued on February 25, 2012 has been expanded to include additional products and distribution information.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and New Food Classics are warning the public not to consume the no name beef burgers and beef steakettes described below because the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The following products are affected by this alert:
Product no name 12 Beef Burgers Size 1.36 kg
UPC 0 60383 37333 7 Lot Code BB 2012 AL 22 EST 761
Product no name Club Pack Beef Steakettes Size 2.27kg
UPC 0 60383 01321 9 Lot Code BB 2012 AL 22 EST 761

These products have been distributed by Loblaws nationally.
There has been one reported illness associated with the consumption of these products.
Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria my cause serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea. Some people may have seizures or strokes and some may need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Others may live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.
The manufacturer, New Food Classics, Burlington, ON is voluntarily recalling the affected products from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.
For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers: New Food Classics at 1-855-344-1825

This recall taken from:

Public Health Confirms Four <em>Salmonella </em>Cases (Canada)

Tue, 02/28/2012 - 3:46pm -- SRutledge

By Kate Wilkinson
Four cases of salmonella have been confirmed and another 36 are being investigated by Hamilton’s public health department.
Public health says it believes the cases are connected to the Eat a Pita restaurant on Main Street East at Kenilworth Avenue.
Dr. Chris Mackie, an associate medical officer of health, says the restaurant has been temporarily shut down, and may remain closed for days.
During a scheduled health inspection of Eat a Pita on Feb. 1, inspectors found that cooked chicken wasn’t being kept at a high enough temperature. Similar problems were discovered during a followup inspection on Thursday.
Mackie says that one case of salmonella and one case of gastrointestinal illness came to public health’s attention last Friday. Lab results confirmed the two cases were connected to the same facility as two others, leading health officials to declare a salmonella outbreak late Wednesday.
The decision was made to reach out publicly to those who might be affected by the outbreak.
“In this case we determined that we couldn’t contact everyone directly,” says Mackie. “We investigate these things thoroughly to make sure that there isn’t something at play that might be affecting a much broader population.”

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E. coli Sprouts Outbreak Linked To Jimmy Johns

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 11:55am -- SRutledge

By Andy Nelson

An E. coli outbreak has been linked to sprouts served at the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain.

On Feb. 15, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 12 people had been infected with E. coli 026. Preliminary tests link the illnesses to raw clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s.

Five of the infected people are from Iowa, three from Missouri, two from Kansas and one each from Arkansas and Wisconsin.

Jimmy John’s officials weren’t immediately available.

Jimmy John’s recalled alfalfa sprouts in 2010 after about 100 people became ill from salmonella. In January 2011, the company switched to clover sprouts. Following several outbreaks in late 2011 — although not linked to Jimmy John’s — the sandwich chain in January pulled sprouts from restaurants in Jefferson City, MO, Kansas City, KS, and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

In the most recent outbreak, two of the people were hospitalized but no deaths have been reported. Those sickened were all female and ranged in age from 9 to 49. The onset of illnesses ranged from Dec. 25 to Jan. 25.

It’s the latest in a string of food safety outbreaks involving sprouts, some traced to Jimmy John’s. In January, restaurant chain Jason’s Deli announced it would not serve sprouts throughout 2012.

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Salmonella outbreak linked to watermelons

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 4:47pm -- SRutledge

Health watchdogs have reminded people to wash fruit and vegetables, as they investigate whether a salmonella outbreak in which 35 people in the UK are known to have been infected is linked to watermelons.

One person has died, although it is understood they had underlying health complications.

Eastern England has been the area most affected by the outbreak of salmonella newport, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said. Those with the infection ranged from age six months to 85.

Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at the HPA, which is investigating 30 cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said: "Although it's too soon to say with certainty what the likely cause of infection is, early indications suggest that a number of people became unwell after eating watermelon. This has also been noted in the cases in Scotland and Germany, although further investigation is ongoing.

"It's important to remember that the risk of becoming unwell after eating watermelon is very low. These cases only represent a very small proportion of total consumption. It is always advisable to wash fruits and vegetables – including watermelon – before consumption to reduce the risk of possible illness."

All of the cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were reported in December. Health Protection Scotland said none of the five cases there were reported to have needed hospital treatment and no new cases had been reported since early last month.

Infection with salmonella newport causes a similar illness to other forms of salmonella, with symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.

The HPA said it had identified salmonella newport from a ready-to-eat sliced watermelon imported from Brazil, in a local food survey in north-west England in November 2011. Subsequently, a number of people who became unwell were found to be infected with the same strain identified in the survey.

Ten out of 15 cases followed up by telephone interview reported eating watermelon in the three days prior to the onset of their symptoms, although the agency did not know where their fruit had come from.

An agency spokeswoman said: "Further investigations by the FSA [Food Standards Agency] are ongoing and as soon as any particular producer or distributor of infected watermelons has been identified, steps will be put in place to inform the public and remove any affected items from the food chain."

There were two possible routes of infection. Either the melon surface was contaminated and the bug transferred to flesh during the cutting process or it may have transferred through the cut stem while the melons were stored or washed in contaminated water.

The FSA ,which is involved in the investigations, said it was monitoring the situation and working closely with the food industry, the European commission and other countries. Five cases have been reported in Ireland and 15 in Germany.

In a normal year, about 200 people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are infected with this type of salmonella newport strain. Last year there was a big outbreak in Germany and the Netherlands caused by bean sprouts. Germany also experienced a big E coli outbreak linked to bean sprouts.

Six Sick from Raw Milk

Mon, 01/30/2012 - 11:39am -- SRutledge

By Meredith Cohn

Six people were infected with Campylobacter by raw milk from the Family Cow dairy store in Chambersburg, Pa., including three in Maryland, the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Friday.

The bacteria causes diarrhea, nausea and vomiting and can progress into a more serious bloodstream infection, usually two to five days after exposure. The state agency and the health department in Pennsylvania are advising consumers to discard any product bought from this farm since Jan. 1.

The implicated milk comes in plastic gallon, half gallon and pint containers and is sold directly to consumers on the farm and at drop off points and retail stores in Pennsylvania. It's illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in Maryland, though some consumers have reported getting it anyway at pre-determined drop off points.

Raw milk has become popular with some people who believe it has superior nutrition because it's not heated to kill germs like pasteurized milk. Studies, however, have not confirmed this, and federal and state authorities continue to warn about the dangers of unpasteurized milk, ice cream, yogurt and some cheeses.

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146 Norovirus Cases Linked To Bob Chinn's

Tue, 01/17/2012 - 3:53pm -- Anonymous

(WHEELING, Ill.) (WLS) -- A Cook County Health Department spokeswoman says test results have confirmed that the number of people who contracted norovirus food poisoning connected to Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling has now risen to 146.
Case investigations are ongoing, but at this time a source for the virus has not been identified.
Bob Chinn's, which bills itself as the nation's fourth busiest restaurant, reopened Wednesday afternoon, one day after it voluntarily closed its doors in the wake of several customers becoming sick.

"We worked with the [Cook County Department of] Public Health to clean and sanitize the restaurant," said Dan Erdman, a restaurant spokesman. "We've satisfied all of the requirements, and they've allowed us to reopen."
Amy Poore, a Public Health spokeswoman, confirmed Wednesday evening that 146 people with the gastrointestinal illness "have been linked to eating at Bob Chinn's restaurant."
Poore said her agency has received dozens of calls from people who said they became sick after eating at the restaurant, but that it's unclear at this point - because gastrointestinal illness is common this time of year - whether the eatery is the source of illness in all of those cases.

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