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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

CDC Reports Salmonella Agona in Colorado (1), Delaware (1), Maine (3), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (1), North Dakota (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (4), New York (3), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), and Vermont (1) Tied to Malt-O-Meal

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states across the United States and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Agona infections. An investigation that includes interviews of persons with Salmonella Agona infections and comparison of the DNA fingerprints suggests that cereal from Malt-O-Meal unsweetened Puffed Rice Cereals and unsweetened Puffed Wheat Cereals is likely related to these illnesses.

As of April 22, 2008, state and city health departments from 12 states have identified 21 ill persons infected with same genetic fingerprint of Salmonella Agona. Ill persons with the outbreak strain have been identified from Colorado (1), Delaware (1), Maine (3), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (1), North Dakota (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (4), New York (3), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), and Vermont (1). Onset dates, which are known for 13 patients, ranged from January 22 to March 8, 2008. Patients’ ages ranged from 4 months to 95 years with a median age of 66 years. Five hospitalizations and no deaths have been reported.

This might sound a bit familiar:

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Serotype Agona Infections Linked to Toasted Oats Cereal — United States, April-May, 1998

During April-May 1998, a total of 11 states reported an increase in cases of Salmonella serotype Agona infections; as of June 8, a total of 209 cases have been reported and at least 47 persons have been hospitalized, representing an eightfold increase over the median number of cases reported in those states during 1993-1997. The states reporting increases were Illinois (49 cases), Indiana (30), Ohio (29), New York (24), Missouri (22), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (15), Iowa (8), Wisconsin (6), Kansas (4), and West Virginia (2). This report summarizes the outbreak investigation by local, state, and federal public health officials, which implicated Millville brand plain Toasted Oats cereal manufactured by Malt-O-Meal, Inc. as the cause of illness. Among 162 patients in this outbreak for whom information was available, 85 (52%) were female. Most cases occurred in children and the elderly (47% in persons aged less than 10 years and 21% in persons aged greater than 70 years).