On May 12, 2021, The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced a multi-county outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that began as a Public Health-Seattle & King County investigation involving several children with E. coli. The outbreak is linked to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy.

Update June 17, 2021:

One new child case has been identified who was infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 and was hospitalized for their illness. This brings the total number of outbreak-associated cases to 16.

The two Arizona cases infected by the outbreak strain of E. coli O157 did not consume PCC or Pure Eire brand yogurt.

  • The first Arizona case is considered a secondary infection. This person was infected after having close contact with a Washington state resident who regularly ate Pure Eire yogurt and developed diarrhea (but was not tested) shortly before traveling to Arizona.
  • The newest Arizona case added on 6/17/2021 is also considered a secondary infection.

 Public health message

  • If you have PCC Community Market brand yogurt or Pure Eire yogurt at home, do not eat it and throw it away.
  • E. coli infections can cause serious complications. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps and blood in the stool.
  • If you notice symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea, contact your health care provider right away.

Case information

DOH is reporting confirmed cases infected with bacteria that have been genetically linked. Local health jurisdictions may report higher numbers for their counties that include cases still under investigation and may provide additional detail on their cases.

Case information will be updated twice a week, as new information is available.

Last updated: May 25 at 5:42 p.m.

Summary

Statewide total

Cases

Confirmed cases – updated 6/17/21

16

Hospitalized – updated 6/17/21

10

Developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)

4

Died

0

Cases by county of residence

County

Cases

Benton

1

Clark

1

King

9

Snohomish

2

Walla Walla

1

Yavapai (AZ)

1

Maricopa (AZ) – updated 6/17/21 1

Cases by age

Age range

Cases

0-9 years old – updated 6/17/21

10

10-19 years old

2

20-29 years old

1

30-39 years old

1

40-49 years old

1

50-59 years old

0

60-69 years old

0

70-79 years old

1

80+ years old

0

Public health action

DOH works closely with local health jurisdictions to collect data from interviews of sick individuals to help identify common exposures between, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and other partner agencies on this type of outbreak investigation.

DOH’s role includes:

  • Coordinating with local health and Washington State Public Health Laboratories to identify cases related to the outbreak using genetic testing of the bacteria
  • Collecting data from in-depth interviews conducted by local health jurisdictions with patients about the food they’ve eaten
  • Identifying foods in common between cases and working with partner agencies to trace back foods that may have caused the illness
  • Working with partners to notify food manufacturers and retailers whose products may be linked to the outbreak
  • Supporting partners working to test product samples for presence of bacteria

The investigation process can be long and complex. Only those who are severely ill tend to visit a healthcare provider and get tested, and each step of the process takes time.

Sometimes people don’t get sick until several days after they eat food containing E. colibacteria. It can take a lot of time and effort to test samples from people who are ill, interview them for a detailed history of foods they’ve eaten and look for commonalities between cases.

Linked product information

On May 15, DOH announced a link to PCC Community Market brand yogurt produced by Pure Eire Dairy. Pure Eire Dairy issued a voluntary recall of affected products and PCC removed the products from shelves. Anyone who has PCC Community Market or Pure Eire brand yogurt at home should not eat it and should throw it away.

The investigation is ongoing, and we may identify additional links to products as we continue to gather information from new cases. DOH will provide updates as the investigation progresses.

Over 1,000 sickened with over 200 dead from Listeria tainted polony.  I have the honor to be working with counsel in South Africa – See Listeria Class Action.

Following the declaration of the Listeria outbreak in December 2017, a multi-sectoral outbreak response was initiated. Findings were shared by the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi at a public media briefing on 4 March 2018 (statement available at www.nicd.ac.za), and are summarized below. In addition, the National Department of Health requested a full recall of implicated processed meat products.  According to Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi:

In our constant search for the source of the outbreak and the treatment of people who are affected, a team from the NICD has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill. Ninety-three (85%) people reported eating ready-to-eat (RTE) processed meat products, of which polony was the most common followed by viennas/sausages and then other ‘cold meats’.

On Friday 12th January, nine children under the age of 5 years presented to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital with febrile gastro-enteritis. The paediatrician suspected foodborne disease, including listeriosis, as a possible cause. The environmental health practitioners (EHPs) were informed and on the same day visited the crèche, and obtained samples from two unrelated polony brands (manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL) respectively) and submitted these to the laboratory for testing.

Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from stool collected from one of the ill children, and from both of the polony specimens collected from the crèche. These isolates were sent to the NICD Centre for Enteric Diseases, and underwent whole genome sequencing and genomic analysis. The ST6 sequence type was confirmed on all three isolates on Saturday 27th January. Remember that in the last press conference I informed you that from clinical isolates obtained from patients (patient blood), 9 sequence types of Listeria monocytogenes were isolated and 91% were of sequence type 6 (ST6). We had then concluded that time that this outbreak is driven by ST6.

Following the lead from the tests performed on these children from Soweto and the food they had ingested, the EHPs (Environmental Health Practitioners), together with the NICD and DAFF representatives, accompanied by 3 technical advisors from the World Health Organisation in Geneva, visited a food- production site in Polokwane and conducted an extensive food product and environmental sampling.

Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from over 30% of the environmental samples collected from this site, which happens to be the Enterprise factory in Polokwane.

To conclude the investigation, whole genome sequencing analysis was performed from this Enterprise factory and the results became available midnight or last night. The outbreak strain, ST6, was confirmed in at least 16 environmental samples collected from this Enterprise facility. 

THE CONCLUSION FROM THIS IS THAT THE SOURCE OF THE PRESENT OUTBREAK CAN BE CONFIRMED TO BE THE ENTERPRISE FOOD-PRODUCTION FACILITY IN POLOKWANE

According to the Centre for Enteric Diseases (CED) and Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Outbreak Response Unit (ORU), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)/ National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) the current number of ill and deceased are as follows:

As of 26 July 2018, 1060 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD from all provinces since 01 January 2017.

To date, 749 cases were reported in 2017, and 311 cases in 2018. Females account for 56% (549/979) cases where gender is reported. Neonates ≤28 days of age are the most affected age group, followed by adults aged 15 – 49 years of age. Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (58%, 614/1060) followed by Western Cape (13%, 136/1060) and KwaZulu-Natal (8%, 83/1060) provinces. Final outcome data is available for 76% (806/1060) of cases, of which 27% (216/806) died.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that today Real Water Inc., a Nevada-based bottled water manufacturer, agreed to cease operations until they can comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and other requirements listed in a consent decree.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey entered a consent decree of permanent injunction on June 1between the U.S. and AffinityLifestyles.com Inc. (majority shareholder of Real Water Inc.), Real Water Inc., Brent A. Jones, president of Real Water Inc., and Blain K. Jones, vice president of Real Water Inc.

“We are committed to preventing harmful products from entering the nation’s food supply, and we will take enforcement action when a company fails to follow the law,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D. “The FDA, together with our federal counterparts at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), aggressively pursued this injunction and we will continue to take swift action to protect consumers.”

According to the complaint filed by DOJ on behalf of the FDA, defendants violate the FD&C Act by operating facilities that fail to meet preventive controls requirements to control food hazards. The complaint also alleges that defendants violate the FD&C Act by failing to follow current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements for bottled water. The complaint further alleges that defendants’ products are adulterated within the meaning of the FD&C Act because they have been prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health. Additionally, the complaint alleges the defendants’ products are misbranded because their labels fail to declare the common or usual name of each ingredient.

The consumption of “Real Water” brand alkaline water was the only known common link between five cases of acute liver failure in children that occurred in November and December 2020 that was reported to the FDA in March. Since then, 11 additional cases of acute non-viral hepatitis in adults, including one death of a woman with underlying medical conditions, have been identified as possibly linked to the consumption of Real Water brand alkaline water. The FDA issued an outbreak advisory on March 16 and continues to investigate, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Southern Nevada Health District. On March 24, Real Water Inc. of Mesa, Arizona, and Henderson, Nevada, issued a recall of all sizes of its Real Water brand drinking water and concentrate.

The consent decree requires defendants to cease operations until they complete corrective actions, including, hiring a qualified independent expert to inspect their facilities to ensure they comply with the FD&C Act and its implementing regulations. Under the consent decree, defendants may not resume operations until they establish and implement procedures that are adequate to ensure continuing compliance with CGMP and preventive controls requirements and receive authorization from the FDA.

Consumers who think they may have been sickened by defendants’ products, including Real Water Drinking Water, Real Alkalized Water and Real Alkalized Water Concentrate, should seek the assistance of a health care professional and contact the FDA to report problems with this or any FDA-regulated product.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionally affecting vulnerable and marginalized people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict, and migrants. An estimated 420 000 people around the world die every year after eating contaminated food and children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.

World Food Safety Day on 7 June aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other relevant organizations. This international day is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe, mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.

I think about it more on a personal level.  It has been over 28 years since the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak sickened several hundred – many with kidney failure – some died – and, changed the trajectory of my legal work.  It was about this time in 1993 that Bri Kiner – who became the face of the litigation – was still months from discharge from the hospital – see Video 

I still recall visiting her and her family in the hospital – I still remember the smell of the room and the look of a shriveled 9-year-old with a gapping wound where once were her large intestines.  It was an honor to try and do justice for her – see the book Poisoned – soon to be a documentary.

I could not even begin to to list all the people around the world that have been impacted by the failures of the food safety system that I have met or represented.  But, there are many that I cannot forget:

Linda Rivera – hospitalized for two years after eating Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough and developing one of the most complex E. coli infections for anyone that survived the acute phase of the infection – see also the Washington Post.

Stephanie Smith – a dancer who lost her ability to even walk because of a E. coli tainted Cargill hamburger – see Pulitzer Prize winning article in the New York Times.

Clifford Tousignant – a Korean War Purple Heart winner who died from Salmonella tainted peanut butter.

Dr. Michael Hauser – who was one of at least 33 people who died from Listeria tainted cantaloupe.

Lucas Parker – a 4-year-old who cannot walk, talk or feed himself due to the severity of his E. coli infection.

You get my point, it has impacted me deeply, but tragically impacted these people and their families.  I could spend hours talking about the Listeria tragedy in South Africa – 1,000 sickened with 200 dead and three years later no justice.

These people all need our concerted efforts.

To all food safety I professionals – we have still much to do.

I will leave you with this video – this, I can never shake.

Yesterday, the CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) announced a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw frozen breaded stuffed chicken products. As of June 2, 2021, a total of 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 6 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 21, 2021 to May 7, 2021.

Sounds a bit familiar?  Why does the USDA-FSIS ignore this risky product?

2018 Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Linked to Frozen Breaded Chicken Products Distributed Ruby’s Pantry Pop-Up Locations

States:  Minnesota, Wisconsin

Cases:  13

Hospitalizations:  8

Deaths:  0

REFS:

2018_Rubys_MN_DOH_June_1,_2018.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2018_Rubys_WI_DHS_June_1,_2018.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2015 Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Linked to Raw, Frozen Chicken Entrees Produced by Aspen Foods

States:  Minnesota

Cases:  5

Hospitalizations:  2

Deaths:  0

REF:

2015_Aspen_Foods_CDC_Final_Update,_Oct._16,_2015_.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2015 Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Linked to Barber Foods Chicken Kiev

States:  Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Wisconsin

Cases:  15

Hospitalizations:  4

Deaths:  0

REF: 2015_Barber_Foods,_CDC_FInal_Update_Oct._16,_2015_.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2014 Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Linked to Antioch Farms “A La Live” Stuffed Chicken Breast

State:  Minnesota

Cases:  8

Hospitalizations:  1

Deaths:  0

REF:

2014_Antioch_Farms_MDA_announcement.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2014_Antioch_Farms,_MDH.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2012-2013 Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O121 Infections Linked to Farm Rich Brand Frozen Mini Meals and Snack Items

States:  Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

Cases:  19

Hospitalizations:  9

Deaths:  0

REF:  Farm_Rich_Outbreak-CDC_Final_Summary.pdf (outbreakdatabase.com)

2010 Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Chester Infections Linked to Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken and Rice Frozen Entrees

States:  Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington

Cases:  44

Hospitalizations:  16

Deaths:  0

REFS:  CDC – Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Chester Infections – September 9, 2010 – Salmonella

2006 Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Cub Brand Frozen, Stuffed Chicken Entrees

State:  Minnesota

Cases:  3

Hospitalizations:  2

Deaths:  0

REF:  Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 71, No. 10, 2008, Pages 2153–2160

2005 Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Linked to Frozen, Stuffed Chicken Entrees Distributed by Serenade Foods and Aspen Foods

States:  Michigan, Minnesota

Cases:  27

Hospitalizations:  3

Deaths:  0

REF:  Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 71, No. 10, 2008, Pages 2153–2160

2005 Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Associated with Cub Brand Chicken Broccoli and Cheese Frozen Entrée

State: Minnesota

Cases:  4

Hospitalizations:  1

Deaths:  0

REF:  Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 71, No. 10, 2008, Pages 2153–2160

1998 Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Chicken Kiev

State:  Minnesota

Cases:  33

Hospitalizations:  3

Deaths:  0

REF:  Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 71, No. 10, 2008, Pages 2153–2160

INTERNATIONAL OUTBREAKS

1998 Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Chicken Nuggets, Australia

State:  South Australia

Cases:  10

Hospitalizations:  unk

Deaths:  unk

REF:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10330731

2003 Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Frozen Chicken Nuggets, Canada

Province:  British Columbia

Cases:  23

Hospitalizations:  10

Deaths:  0

REF:  MacDougall, L., M. Fyfe, L. McIntyre, A. Paccagnella, K. Cordner, A. Kerr, & J. Aramini, (2004). Frozen chicken nuggets and strips – a newly identified risk factor for Salmonella Heidelberg infection in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Food Protection: 67 (6) 1111-1115.

When someone talks about having “the stomach flu,” they are probably describing acute-onset gastroenteritis caused by one of the noroviruses. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that noroviruses cause nearly 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis annually, making noroviruses the leading cause of gastroenteritis in adults in the United States. Norovirus is highly contagious and transmitted by infected individuals at an enormous rate. According to CDC estimates, this translates into about 2,500 reported norovirus outbreaks in the United States each year. Norovirus outbreaks have been reported in many settings, including healthcare facilities, restaurants and catered events, schools, and childcare centers. Cruise ships account for a small percentage (1%) of reported norovirus outbreaks overall. Norovirus outbreaks occur throughout the year but are most common from November to April. The most common symptoms are sudden onset of vomiting and watery diarrhea, although stomach cramps and pain also often occur. Some people experience fever and body aches. Symptoms usually start 12 to 48 hours after being exposed and typically last about 1 to 3 days.

Remember, FSIS does not consider Salmonella to be an adulterant.

For a bit(e) of reading on the topic, see Seriously, FSIS and Congress, it is time to deem Salmonella an Adulterant

As part of the investigation, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected frozen, raw, breaded, stuffed chicken products from a retail store for testing. The raw product samples tested positive for the outbreak strain of SalmonellaEnteritidis. At this time, the production lots tested in Minnesota are not known to have been purchased by any of the case patients. FSIS has not received any purchase documentation, shopper records, or other traceable information at this time. Therefore, FSIS does not have the necessary information to request a recall. FSIS will continue to evaluate any new illness or traceable information as it becomes available. The investigation is ongoing, and FSIS continues to work with the CDC and state partners.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Enteritidis that may be associated with frozen, raw, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products. These items may be labeled “chicken cordon bleu”, chicken with “broccoli and cheese”, or “chicken Kiev”. This public health alert is being issued to remind consumers about the proper handling and cooking of raw poultry products.

FSIS is investigating a Salmonella Enteritidis illness cluster with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state partners. FSIS suspects that there may be a link between the frozen, raw, breaded, and pre-browned stuffed chicken products and this illness cluster based on information gathered in conjunction with the CDC and state partners. Cases have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from February 21, 2021 to May 7, 2021.

The CDC reports:

As of June 2, 2021, a total of 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 6 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 21, 2021 to May 7, 2021.

Sick people range in age from 3 to 83 years, with a median age of 52 years, and 60% are female. Of 13 people with information available, 8 (62%) have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 12 people interviewed, 10 (83%) reported preparing and eating frozen breaded stuffed chicken products. People reported buying many different brands of raw frozen breaded stuffed chicken products from multiple stores. When asked about how the products were prepared at home, seven people reported undercooking, microwaving, or air frying the product.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected for testing five raw frozen breaded stuffed chicken products from a grocery store where an ill person purchased these products. The outbreak strain was identified in two samples of Kirkwood’s Chicken Cordon Bleu.

The products of concern may appear to be ready-to-eat but are in fact raw and need to be fully cooked before consumption. Many of these stuffed chicken products were labeled with instructions identifying that the product was uncooked (raw). The labels also identified cooking instructions for preparation in an oven. Some of the patients reported that they did not follow the cooking instructions and reported microwaving the product, cooking it in an air fryer or cooking it in the oven for less than the recommended time and without using a meat thermometer to confirm the recommended temperature was achieved. Thus, FSIS advises all consumers that particular attention needs to be taken to safely prepare and cook these frozen, raw poultry products to a temperature of 165 F. The only way to confirm raw poultry products are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, as indicated in this chart. Additionally, FSIS advises all consumers to keep raw poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use one cutting board for raw poultry and a separate one for fresh produce and cooked foods.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 6 hours to 6 days after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

I felt another blog post coming on after reading Spectrum 1’s headline:

More vaccination clinics offered this week after possible Hepatitis A exposure at Fredonia restaurant

There will be two more Hepatitis A vaccination clinics in Chautauqua County this week after a potential exposure to the virus at a restaurant.

The Chautauqua County Health Department says anyone who ate at The Mustard Seed in Fredonia between April 1 and May 19 could have been exposed and should consider getting vaccinated.

There is a drive-up clinic Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Cassadaga Valley Central School bus garage. Another will be held on Friday from 3-7 p.m. at SUNY Fredonia’s Steele Hall.

Doctors say most people don’t get sick when an employee at a restaurant has Hepatitis A, but there is still a risk. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and nausea.

It is important to note the vaccine is only effective within two weeks of exposure.

As I said before:

It is Irresponsible for Restaurants to not offer Hepatitis A Vaccines to Employees

Or, ignore the issue, sicken your customers and be assured, you will be sued.

A fact from the CDC: “Since the hepatitis A outbreaks were first identified in 2016, more than 39,000 cases, 24,000 hospitalizations, and 374 deaths as a result of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection have been reported.”

True, some of the above have been the homeless or drug addicts, but how many of those work at restaurants?  Where exposed at restaurants? Note: 30% to 40% of the people impacted are NOT the homeless or drug addicts.

Hardly a day passes without a warning from a health department somewhere that an infected food handler is the source of yet another potential hepatitis A outbreak.

Absent vaccinations of food handlers, combined with an effective and rigorous hand-washing policy, there will continue to be more hepatitis A outbreaks. It is time for health departments across the country to require vaccinations of food-service workers, especially those who serve the very young and the elderly.

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that spreads from person-to-person. It is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is the only foodborne illness that is vaccine-preventable. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the inception of the vaccine, rates of infection have declined 92 percent.

CDC estimates that 83,000 cases of hepatitis A occur in the United States every year and that many of these cases are related to foodborne transmission. In 1999, more than 10,000 people were hospitalized due to hepatitis A infections, and 83 people died. In 2003, 650 people became sickened, four died, and nearly 10,000 people got IG (immunoglobulin) shots after eating at a Pennsylvania restaurant. Not only do customers get sick, but also businesses lose customers or some simply go out of business.

Although CDC has not yet called for mandatory vaccination of food-service workers, it has repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of worker-contaminated food is a major cause of foodborne illness in the U.S.

Hepatitis A continues to be one of the most frequently reported, vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S., despite FDA approval of hepatitis A vaccine in 1995. Widespread vaccination of appropriate susceptible populations would substantially lower disease incidence and potentially eliminate indigenous transmission of hepatitis A infections. Vaccinations cost about $50. The major economic reason that these preventive shots have not been used is because of the high turnover rate of food-service employees. Eating out becomes a whole lot less of a gamble if all food-service workers faced the same requirement.

According to the CDC, the costs associated with hepatitis A are substantial. Between 11 percent and 22 percent of persons who have hepatitis A are hospitalized. Adults who become ill lose an average of 27 days of work. Health departments incur substantial costs in providing post-exposure prophylaxis to an average of 11 contacts per case. Average costs (direct and indirect) of hepatitis A range from $1,817 to $2,459 per case for adults and from $433 to $1,492 per case for children younger than 18. In 1989, the estimated annual direct and indirect costs of hepatitis A in the U.S. were more than $200 million, equivalent to more than $300 million in 1997 dollars.  A new CDC report shows that, in 2010, slightly more than 10 percent of people between the ages of 19 and 49 got a hepatitis A shot.

Vaccinating an employee make sense.  It is moral to protect customers from an illness that can cause serious illness and death. Vaccines also protect the business from the multi-million-dollar fallout that can come if people become ill or if thousands are forced to stand in line to be vaccinated to prevent a more serious problem.

Or, ignore the issue, sicken your customers and be assured, you will be sued.

I don’t watch Fox, I value my grey matter.

Someone sent me Tucker’s Friday segment “asking” about the CDC warning of the risks of poultry and Salmonella.

The Fox News host invited Tiara Soleim, a “poultry enthusiast” and former contestant on “The Bachelor,” onto his show Friday night to discuss her love for cuddling chickens and her distaste for the CDC.

Seriously, Tucker, Shut the Cluck up!

As of May 20, 2021, a total of 163 people infected with one of the outbreak strains have been reported from 43 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 12, 2021, to April 25, 2021.

Sick people range in age from less than 1 to 87 years, with a median age of 24 years, and 58% are female. Of 109 people with information available, 34 (31%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the animals they came into contact with in the week before they got sick. Of the 92 people interviewed, 81 (88%) reported contact with backyard poultry before getting sick.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause gastrointestinal illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This means that people in this outbreak likely got sick from the same type of animal.

On April 15, public health officials in Ohio collected samples from a sick person’s ducklings for testing. WGS showed that the bacteria, Salmonella serotype Hadar, in duckling poop are closely related to bacteria from sick people. This means that people likely got sick from contact with backyard poultry.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonellaattorneys for a free case evaluation.