CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections.

As of January 12, 2018, 25 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- (24 people) or Salmonella Newport (1 person) have been reported from 9 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Washington. One more ill person infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- has been reported from Canada.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2017 to November 4, 2017. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 82, with a median age of 19. Among ill people, 19 (76%) are male. Six people (24%) report being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut is the likely source of this multistate outbreak. This investigation is ongoing.

Throughout the outbreak investigation, state and local health officials have collected different food items from restaurants where ill people consumed Asian-style dessert drinks. In November 2017, laboratory testing of a sample from coconut milk made in one restaurant in New York did not identify the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-, but did identify a strain of Salmonella Newport. This sample was from coconut milk made with Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut, as well as other ingredients. WGS showed that the Salmonella Newport isolated from the coconut milk was closely related genetically to a Salmonella Newport isolate from an ill person from Massachusetts who had consumed an Asian-style dessert drink.

In December 2017, officials in Massachusetts collected food items from a restaurant where that ill person had consumed Asian-style dessert drinks. One sample from frozen shredded coconut identified a strain of Salmonella that was new to the PulseNet database and has not been linked to any illnesses. This sample was from an unopened package of Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut. As a result, on January 3, 2018, Evershing International Trading Company recalled all Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut. The recalled product was packaged in 16-ounce plastic bags.

Officials in Massachusetts returned to the restaurant and collected more Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut in January 2018. On January 12, laboratory testing confirmed that samples from that frozen shredded coconut identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-. Laboratory testing of other samples identified several types of Salmonella bacteria, including Salmonella Javiana, Salmonella Rissen, and Salmonella Thompson. These samples were from unopened packages of Coconut Tree Brand Frozen Shredded Coconut sold before January 3, 2018. CDC is reviewing the PulseNet database to determine if the other Salmonella isolates from the frozen shredded coconut are linked to any illnesses.

The frozen shredded coconut linked to this outbreak was used as an ingredient in Asian-style dessert drinks served at restaurants. The product was also sold in grocery stores and markets in several states. Frozen shredded coconut can last for several months if kept frozen and may still be in retail stores or in people’s homes. CDC recommends that retailers not sell, restaurants not serve, and consumers not eat recalled Coconut Tree Brand frozen Shredded Coconut.

The South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) revealed on Friday that the death toll has risen from 61 to 67‚ and still the source of the outbreak — said to be the worst on record in world history — remains unknown.

About 40% of those who have died were babies less than four weeks old‚ pregnant woman being 20 times more likely to contract listeriosis from eating food contaminated with the listeria pathogen than other healthy adults.

The NICD reported that “final data” was only available for 21% of the 748 confirmed cases of listeriosis‚ of which 42% had died; the average mortality rate is between 20% and 25%.

Those with confirmed listeriosis were patients in state and private hospitals — roughly two thirds in state hospitals (65%) and a third (35%) in private hospitals.

The NICD has warned that because of “recent challenges” in state laboratory information system data since mid-November “and a possible lag in reporting as a result of the public holidays”‚ case numbers for the last six weeks of 2017 were likely to change on a daily basis “and trends must be interpreted with caution”.

Via genome sequencing, the NICD has established that, in most cases‚ the listeria came from a single source‚ thought to be a particular product or range of products. Pretoria-based microbiologist and food safety expert Dr Lucia Anelich said the “culprit” was most likely a product eaten by consumers across the country and “extremely often”.

Listeriosis symptoms develop any time between two and 30 days after eating food contaminated with the listeria pathogen. In pregnant women, they include mild, flu-like symptoms‚ headaches‚ muscle aches‚ fever‚ nausea and vomiting‚ and if the infection spreads to the nervous system it can cause a stiff neck‚ disorientation or convulsions.

High on the list of foods known to have caused other listeriosis outbreaks are ready-to-eat foods that consumers don’t cook or heat before eating‚ primarily deli meats — such as slices of ham‚ polony and cooked chicken.

“Deli meats are obviously consumed by a wide variety of people in the population‚ whether it’s a cheaper cut or a more expensive one‚” Anelich said. “But other products might also be just as implicated‚ and it’s really difficult to point a finger in a specific direction‚ considering we have absolutely no other leads at this stage.”

E. coli bacteria

In the United States, CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continue to investigate a multistate outbreak of 24 STEC O157:H7 infections in 15 states. Since CDC’s initial media statement on December 28, seven more illnesses have been added to this investigation. The last reported illness started on December 12, 2017.

The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill.  Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale. Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there, but the source of the romaine lettuce or where it became contaminated is unknown.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in the United States is closely related genetically to the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in Canada. WGS data alone are not sufficient to prove a link; health officials rely on other sources of data, such as interviews from ill people, to support the WGS link. This investigation is ongoing. Because CDC has not identified a specific type of leafy greens linked to the U.S. infections, and because of the short shelf life of leafy greens, CDC is not recommending that U.S. residents avoid any particular food at this time.

In the United States, a total of 24 STEC O157:H7 infections have been reported from California (4), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Maryland (3), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017. Among the 18 ill people for whom CDC has information, nine were hospitalized, including one person in California who died. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

The Public Health Agency of Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada. In the United States, the likely source of the outbreak appears to be leafy greens, but health officials have not identified a specific type of leafy greens that sick people ate in common.

State and local public health officials continue to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens. Five (56%) of nine ill people specifically reported eating romaine lettuce. This percentage was not significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed.  Based on this information, U.S. health officials concluded that ill people in this outbreak were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce.  Ill people also reported eating different types and brands of romaine lettuce. Currently, no common supplier, distributor, or retailer of leafy greens has been identified as a possible source of the outbreak. CDC continues to work with regulatory partners in several states, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to identify the source.

Although the most recent illness started on December 12, there is a delay between when someone gets sick and when the illness is reported to CDC. For STEC O157:H7 infections, this period can be two to three weeks. Holidays can increase this delay. Because of these reporting delays, more time is needed before CDC can say the outbreak in the United Stated is over. This investigation is ongoing.

On January 10, 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections (STEC O157:H7) they had identified was linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over. As of January 10, 2018, there were 42 cases of E. coli O157 illness reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals were hospitalized. One individual died. Individuals who became ill were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination.

Reuters reported today that the death toll from an outbreak of Listeria in South Africa has jumped to 61 in the past month from 36 in December.  In addition, the total numbers rose from 557 to 720.

The Department of Health said it had closed a poultry abattoir operated by Sovereign Foods in the capital Pretoria after detecting listeria there, and had banned the facility from preparing food in December.

The department said it did not yet know whether this abattoir was the source of the outbreak, which the NICD said was still unknown.

The department said it did not yet know whether this abattoir was the source of the outbreak, which the NICD said was still unknown.

Listeria food poisoning is a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed in time. The bacteria can be found in animal products including cold cut meats, poultry and unpasteurised milk, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

The disease can cause flu-like symptoms and diarrhea, and in more severe cases spread from the intestine to the blood, causing bloodstream infections, or to the central nervous system, causing meningitis.

The Listeria strain known as ST6 had been identified in nine out of 10 of the South African cases. That should make tracing the source easier, “because now we know that it probably originates from one processing facility”.

Health officials are investigating a series of recent illnesses from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria that may be linked to romaine lettuce.  Five people in the U.S. have been hospitalized and one has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  There has also been one death reported in Canada.

Food safety experts at Consumer Reports are advising that consumers stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and that product is removed from store shelves.

Over the past seven weeks, 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have become ill from the strain of E. coli (0157:H7). In the U.S., the infections have occurred in 13 states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state.

Canadian health authorities identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada, and are advising people in the country’s eastern provinces to consider eating other types of salad greens until further notice. In the U.S., government health officials are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food.

Thanks to Canada for telling US about what’s happening in the US

According to Alex McKeen of the Star, the Center for Disease Control is reporting 17 cases of E. coli infection across 13 American states, dating as early as Nov. 15, 2017.

While the cases extend coast-to-coast, from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington, the bulk of the U.S. instances of the infection were in the northeast part of the country.

Of the 17 U.S. cases, five people have been hospitalized, one of whom has died. Two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, which Canada’s public health authority calls a rare life-threatening symptom of E. coli infection.

The Center for Disease Control has not yet determined whether the people sick with E. coli infection in that country have a type of food in common, but Canada has linked the cases in this country to romaine lettuce.

There are 40 sick in Canada with 1 death in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

With a Hepatitis A outbreak boiling in southeast Michigan for the last year, one would think common sense would dictate vaccinating employees and protecting your customers?

Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) has confirmed a second case of Hepatitis A in an individual who works at a local restaurant. MCHD is providing information to alert residents and guests to the possible exposure and to recommend prompt Hepatitis A vaccination or Immune Globulin (IG) treatment to potentially exposed individuals.

The diagnosed individual works at Tim Hortons Restaurant located at 404 S. Monroe Street in Monroe. Anyone who consumed food and/or drink from the restaurant between December 10, 2017 and December 28, 2017 may have been exposed.

MCHD is working with the restaurant to vaccinate all employees, determine if there are any additional cases and to eliminate any additional risk of exposure. Concerned individuals are urged to contact MCHD or their health care provider with questions.

Anyone who has consumed food and/or drink at Tim Hortons from December 10th to December 28th, should monitor for symptoms of Hepatitis A which include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Most children less than 6 years of age do not experience symptoms. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure. Individuals with symptoms should call their health care provider and seek medical care.

Earlier, The Department extended the free Hepatitis A walk-in clinic, through the week of December 18 through the 22 where at least 1,800 people were vaccinated after the first employee with hepatitis A was announced. The clinic was for anyone who consumed food and/or drink between November 21 and December 8 from the same Tim Horton’s location.

Hepatitis A vaccine or Immune Globulin (IG) treatment may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks of exposure. Anyone potentially exposed to Hepatitis A should contact their healthcare provider to be assessed for vaccination or IG treatment. Hepatitis A vaccine is available from health care providers, pharmacies and at MCHD. People who have had Hepatitis A disease or have previously received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be vaccinated.

Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A virus, and it can cause damage to the liver and cause other health problems.

The most effective method to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The Hepatitis A vaccine is now routinely recommended for children at 1 year of age. Most adults, however, may not be vaccinated, unless they did so for travel or other risk factors.

The Hepatitis A virus is most commonly spread from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. Most infections result from contact with an infected household member or sex partners. Sometimes, infection results from food or drink that is contaminated with the virus. It is not spread through coughing or sneezing. Anyone who has Hepatitis A can spread the virus to others for 1-2 weeks prior to symptoms appearing.

Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water after using the restroom and before handling food can help prevent the spread of Hepatitis A. Thoroughly preparing foods can also help prevent infection. Freezing food does not kill the virus.

Outbreak in Southeast Michigan From August 2016 to December 20, 2017 there have been 630 cases of Hepatitis A diagnosed in Southeast Michigan. Monroe County has 14 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A.

Affected states include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.  Link to recent Canadian Outbreak.

Federal and state health officials are investigating a multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened 17 people in 13 states, and preliminary tests by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the outbreak strain is closely related to one in Canada that has been associated with romaine lettuce.

The CDC said illness onsets range from Nov 15 through Dec 8, according to a press release today sent to journalists.

State and local authorities are interviewing sick people to see what they ate in the week before they became ill. Because a source of the US infections hasn’t been identified, the CDC said it is unable to recommend if US residents should avoid a particular food. “This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available,” it said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued its first announcement about an E coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce on Dec 11. In a Dec 21 update, it said it is so far investigating 41 cases from five provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. There was one reported death. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination.

Public Health England has linked a 12 cases of E. coli to Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Aberdeen Angus quarter-pounder burgers, 454g packets, which are sold in the frozen section. Product: Taste the Difference 4 pack Aberdeen Angus British Beef Quarter Pounders (Frozen). Batches with ‘Best Before’ dates: July 2018, September 2018 and October 2018

The Public Health Agency of Canada says 40 E. coli illnesses are under investigation as possibly being linked to romaine lettuce. People who have reported illnesses have said that they ate romaine at home, at restaurants and in prepared salads purchased from grocery stores. The people infected are between the ages of 4 to 80 years of age and 70 % are women. One person has died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have linked one person’s Salmonella Oranienburg infection to taking rattlesnake pills. Rattlesnake pills are often marketed as remedies for various conditions, such as cancer and HIV infection. These pills contain dehydrated rattlesnake meat ground into a powder and put into pill form. CDC recommends that you talk to your health care provider if you are considering taking rattlesnake pills, especially if you are in a group more likely to get a severe Salmonella infection.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that one person in Kansas became sick after taking rattlesnake pills purchased in Mexico. The ill person reported taking rattlesnake pills in the week before getting sick. Advanced laboratory testing called whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella that made the person sick matched the Salmonella found in rattlesnake pills from Mexico collected in an earlier, unrelated investigation.

Reptiles and their meat can carry Salmonella and make people sick. Past outbreak investigations have identified rattlesnake pills as a source of human Salmonella infections.

People in the following groups are more likely to get a severe Salmonella infection: People with weakened immune systems, including people who are receiving chemotherapy or have HIV; pregnant women; children younger than 5 years; and older adults. If you get sick after taking rattlesnake pills, contact your health care provider.