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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella Typhimurium Peanut Products Update – 683 sickened in 46 States – 23% Hospitalized and 9 Deaths – With Movie

CDC now reports 683 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 46 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2), Arizona (13), Arkansas (6), California (76), Colorado (17), Connecticut (11), Florida (1), Georgia (6), Hawaii (6), Idaho (17), Illinois (11), Indiana (10), Iowa (3), Kansas (2), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (1), Maine (5), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (48), Michigan (38), Minnesota (42), Missouri (15), Mississippi (7), Montana (2), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (13), New Jersey (23), New York (34), Nevada (6), North Carolina (6), North Dakota (17), Ohio (99), Oklahoma (4), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (19), Rhode Island (5), South Dakota (4), Tennessee (14), Texas (10), Utah (6), Vermont (4), Virginia (21), Washington (23), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (5), and Wyoming (2). Additionally, one ill person was reported from Canada.

Among the persons with confirmed, reported dates available, illnesses began between September 1, 2008 and February 13, 2009. Patients range in age from <1 to 98 years. The median age of patients is 16 years which means that half of ill persons are younger than 16 years. 21% are age <5 years, 17% are >59 years. 48% of patients are female. Among persons with available information, 23% reported being hospitalized. Infection may have contributed to nine deaths: Idaho (1), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), and Virginia (2).  See the below video on how this nasty bug works.

1. Salmonella has a dramatic way of invading the host cell.
2. The surface of intestinal cells is covered with microvilli.
3. Like the enteropathogenic E. coli, Salmonella uses a specialized syringelike mechanism to inject proteins through the host membrane surface and into the cytoplasm.
4. The injected proteins trigger the epithelial cell membrane to extend outward (ruffle), and as a result, the bacterium is engulfed and dragged inside the host cell.
5. Once many bacteria have adhered to the intestinal lining, symptoms of the infection (diarrhea and cramping) commence.
6. The process of engulfing the bacterium ends up with the bacterium completely encased in a vacuole made up of the host cell membrane. The vacuole is dragged inside the cell by actin filaments.
7. Under normal circumstances, the host cell has the bacterium exactly where it wants it. The normal mechanism for dealing with a foreign body invading a cell involves lysosomes of the cell fusing with the vacuole surrounding the invader and showering it with a concentrated mix of digestive enzymes, which degrade the intracellular pathogen. So, unless the Salmonella can do something fast, it is doomed.
8. However, the Salmonella has injector system to inject other bacterial proteins into the surrounding vacuole and adjacent area. This second injection alters the vacuole structure (shown as a white-blue glow in the animation). The vacuole is now blocked from fusion with toxic lysosomes (shown as red balls).
9. Now safe and sound, Salmonella begins to divide inside the vacuole. The bacteria continue to divide while the vacuole grows.
10. The Salmonella infection may now spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites.

Also, today "FDA issues peanut safety guidelines for foodmakers."  As I said:


Bill Marler, a Seattle-based lawyer who is representing 85 clients who got sick from eating tainted food, said the recommendations are just common sense for any manufacturer that uses outside suppliers.

"What the FDA does in this suggestion memo is to say make sure you are buying your parts from reputable people who have a plan," Marler said in a telephone interview.

"These are all great ideas and all things that the industry should have known. Some did know. Some practiced it, but clearly a lot of people weren’t paying attention."

Marler said he has filed six lawsuits in federal court against Peanut Corp; its owner, Stewart Parnell; and Kellogg Co (K.N), which used some of the recalled peanuts as ingredients.

Peanut Corp had a $12 million insurance policy for personal injury liability, he said, but that will not be enough to cover the claims of people filing personal injury and wrongful death cases.

He said the company also had a recall insurance policy worth about $7 million. Otherwise, the company was about $400,000 in debt.

Marler also has filed lawsuits against Kellogg and Ohio-based food distributor King Nut individually, and said he plans to file more by the end of the week.

And, if you still want to read more about peanuts:

Attorney: Food producers need more oversight

Blaine man sues Kellogg Co. over salmonella case