On May 9, 2005, the Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) received reports of five recently diagnosed cases of Salmonella species in Macomb County residents. All five had sought care at area hospitals and three had been admitted for in-patient care. Isolates obtained from culture of stool specimens obtained from case patients were sent to the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Public Health Laboratory where they were serotyped as Salmonella enteritidis (S. enteritidis).
The facts of this most unfortunate incident are well known to you, your client, your insured, and the people who became ill. It was covered well by the local media. However, the report issued by the Macomb County Health Department on May 1, 2002 sets forth the facts as a jury will hear them.
Of note, the illnesses were “associated with the consumption of cannolis and cassata cake from Black Forest Cakes and Pastries.”
Laboratory investigation showed that 46 stool cultures tested positive for Salmonella enteritidis as did 4 leftover food samples. Six culture isolates (4 stool specimens and 2 food samples) were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for phange typing. All 6 isolates were identified as Salmonella enteritidis phange type 8. This was significant because it convincingly shows that the source of the illnesses was the bakery products and that the illness has a common source.
According to the report, during the early spring of this year “an outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis infections resulted in 196 reported ill persons, 24 of which required hospitalization.”
During June of 1999, both the Washington State Health Department and the Oregon Health Division independently investigated clusters of diarrheal illness attributed to Salmonella serotype muenchen infections in each state. As of July 13, 1999, 15 states and two Canadian provinces had reported 207 confirmed cases associated with this outbreak; additional 91 cases of S. muenchen infection were reported, and were still under investigation. By early July 1999, 85 persons with this illness were identified in Washington State alone.
This outbreak arises out of Salmonella enteriditis infections that occurred at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas during March and April of 2002. According to Robert Tauxe, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Wyndham Salmonella outbreak is geographically the largest in history and the first outbreak to involve the residents of all 50 states.
On December 1, 2000, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a press release stating that 17 Minnesota citizens had been infected with the same strain of the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria during November 2000. Most of the individuals consumed ground beef from SuperValu/Cub Food stores, and days later began to show signs of infection. At the urging of state health officials, SuperValu/Cub Foods removed all fresh ground beef products from its stores in affected areas within Minnesota.
On June 30, 2003, Lake County Health Department (LCHD) received a report from Lake Forest Hospital indicating that a patient was ill with a Salmonella infection. The LCHD immediately contacted the patient and interviewed him, using a questionnaire that is standard for the epidemiological investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks. One of the first things learned by the interviewer was that the patient had recently eaten at the Chili’s Grill & Bar in Vernon Hills, Illinois.
In mid-October, 1999, an unusually high number of hepatitis-A cases were reported among individuals residing in Northeast Seattle and Snohomish County. At the same time, the Snohomish Health District reported an increased number of hepatitis-A cases reported among individuals who resided in Snohomish County, but who worked in the Northeast Seattle area. Because the infected individuals had no other identified risk factor for hepatitis A, health department officials quickly suspected the existence of an hepatitis-A outbreak with a common foodborne source located in Northeast Seattle.
According to the Final Reports issued by the State on October 6 and 9, 2000, the outbreak was first noted on July 24 when staff at Children’s Hospital notified the City of Milwaukee Health Department regarding a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases. Eventually, sixty-four confirmed cases were discovered – 62 linked to the Layton Sizzler and two linked to the Mayfair Sizzler. Dozens of these individuals were hospitalized; four developed HUS and one of those died. In addition to the confirmed cases, the State noted that there were reports of 551 probable cases, and another 122 possible cases.
Doctors at Penrose St. Francis Health Services in Colorado quickly determined that the cause of William and Alexander’s diarrheal illness was likely to be infectious since both boys were experiencing similar symptoms. Each child submitted a stool specimen on August 16, 2005. Preliminary laboratory results were released on August 18 and showed that “sorbitol negative Escherichia coli” had been cultured from both Alexander and William’s specimens. Isolates were sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Public Health Laboratory for confirmatory testing and O157:H7 subtyping. A final laboratory report documenting the boys’ E. coli O157:H7 infection was issued on September 7, 2005.
BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. (“BJ’s”) is a membership-only supermarket that offers, according to its website, a “no-frills” environment [that] helps keep prices low. When you walk into a BJ’s, you’ll find cement floors, open-beamed ceilings, simple shelving – and plenty of savings.” What BJ’s members are not supposed to find are ground beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. On May 11, 2002, BJ’s ground, packaged, and sold several packages of 90% lean ground beef. Lora Langan purchased one of these packages, took it home, and divided the ground beef for two meals. That evening, the Langan family enjoyed hamburgers made with the fresh beef, and on May 14, Lora made meatloaf with the remaining ground beef.