07/16,2012
ISSUE:504

                                 

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$600,000,000 in 20 Years of E. coli Litigation
Source: http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/600000000-in-20-years-of-e-coli-litigation---video/
By Bill Marler (July 14, 2012)
With the Ohio E. coli O157:H7 outbreak hitting 61 and likely to go higher, it might be good to take a look at the history of E. coli litigtion in the United States.
E. coli O157:H7 was identified for the first time at the CDC in 1975, but it was not until seven years later, in 1982, that E. coli O157:H7 was conclusively determined to be a cause of enteric disease. Following outbreaks of foodborne illness that involved several cases of bloody diarrhea, E. coli O157:H7 was firmly associated with hemorrhagic colitis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 1999 that 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 60 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and complications. The majority of infections are thought to be foodborne-related, although E. coli O157:H7 accounts for less than 1% of all foodborne illness.  The CDC also estimates that non-O157 STECs (like O26, O45, 0103, O111, O121, and O145) cause another 36,700 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations and 30 deaths in America each year.  E. coli is the leading cause of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
While the majority of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with E. coli O157:H7 have involved ground beef, such outbreaks have also involved unpasteurized apple and orange juice, unpasteurized milk, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, spinach and water. An outbreak can also be caused by person-to-person transmission of the bacteria in homes and in settings like daycare centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. We have been involved in representing families of children who have suffered from this bacterium in the following cases:
..;AFG / Supervalu E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Minnesota (2000)
..;AgVenture Farms Petting Zoo E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Lawsuits - Florida (2005)
..;Aunt Mid’s Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Michigan, Illinois, and Ontario (2008)
..;Bauer Meat E. coli Litigation - Georgia (1998)
..;Baugher’s Apple Cider E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Maryland (2010)
..;Big Fresno Fair E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - California (2005)
..;BJ’s Wholesale Club E. coli Litigation - New York and New Jersey (2002)
..;Bravo Farms Gouda Cheese E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Southwestern US (2010)
..;Camp Bournedale-South Shore Meats E. coli Outbreak Litigation - Rhode Island, Massachusetts (2009)
..;Cargill E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Minnesota, Tennessee (2007)
..;Carneco / Sam’s Club E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Wisconsin & Minnesota (2004)
..;CCC Alternative Learning Daycare E. coli Outbreak lawsuit - Texas (2002)
..;China Buffet E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Minnesota (2001)
..;ConAgra Ground Beef E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2002)
..;Country Cottage Restaurant E coli O111 Outbreak Lawsuits - Oklahoma (2008)
..;Cozy Valley Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Washington State (2011)
..;Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - North Carolina (2004)
..;Cuyahoga County E. coli outbreak - Ohio (2009)
..;Dee Creek Farm E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Washington & Oregon (2005)
..;Dole Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon (2005)
..;Dole Spinach E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2006)
..;Emmpak E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Wisconsin (2002)
..;Excel E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Georgia (2001)
..;Fairbank Farms E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
..;Finley Elementary School E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Washington (2001)
..;Flanders Provision Co. E. coli Outbreak Litigation - Colorado, Nationwide (2005)
..;Forest Ranch Fire Department Fundraiser E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - California (2008)
..;Freshway Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Multistate (2010)
..;Fresno Meat Market E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - California (2007)
..;Gold Coast Produce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - California (2003)
..;Golden Corral E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nebraska (1999)
..;Habaneros E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Missouri (2003)
..;Herb Depot & Autumn Olives Farm Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Missouri (2008)
..;Interstate Meat E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Oregon, Washington & Idaho (2007)
..;Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Washington (2008)
..;Jack in the Box E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Western States (1993)
..;JBS Swift E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
..;Jimmy John’s and Sprouts Extraordinaire E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Colorado (2008)
..;Jimmy John’s Clover Sprouts E. coli O26 Outbreak Lawsuits - Multistate (2012)
..;Karl Ehmer Meats E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit – New Jersey (2000)
..;KFC E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Ohio (1999)
..;Kid’s Korner Daycare E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Missouri (2004)
..;Kindercare E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - California (2000)
..;King Garden Restaurant E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Ohio (2002)
..;Lane County Fair E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Oregon (2002)
..;National Steak and Poultry E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
..;Nebraska Beef E. coli Outbreak - Nationwide (2008)
..;Nebraska Beef E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Minnesota (2006)
..;Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
..;Odwalla E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Western States (1996)
..;Olive Garden E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Oregon (2005)
..;Organic Pastures E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - California (2006)
..;Parsley E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Washington & Oregon (2005)
..;Peninsula Village E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Tennessee (1999)
..;PM Beef Holdings, Lunds & Byerly’s E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Minnesota (2007)
..;Robeson Schools E. coli Outbreak Litigation - North Carolina (2001)
..;Robinswood Pointe Senior Living Facility E. coli Outbreak Litigation - Washington (2005)
..;Rochester Meat Company E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Wisconsin, California (2008)
..;Rocky Mountain Natural Meats Bison E. coli Outbreak Lawsiut - Colorado, New York (2010)
..;Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Washington State (2008)
..;S & S Foods - Goshen Boy Scout Camp E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Virginia (2008)
..;Schnucks Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Missouri, Multistate (2011)
..;Sizzler E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Wisconsin (2000)
..;Sodexho Spinach E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - California (2003)
..;Spokane Produce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Washington, Oregon, Idaho (2002)
..;Stop & Shop E. coli Case - New Hampshire (2007)
..;Taco John’s E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits – Iowa and Minnesota (2006)
..;Topps and Price Chopper E. coli Case - New York (2005)
..;Topps Meats E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2007)
..;Tyson Fresh Meats E. coli Lawsuit - Ohio (2011)
..;United Food Group E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Western States (2007)
..;Valley Meats E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania (2009)
..;Wendy’s E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Oregon (2000)
..;Wendy’s E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Utah (2006)
..;White Water Water Park E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Georgia (1998)
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

Food Safety After A Flood
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/food-safety-after-a-flood/
By Carla Gillespie (July 15,2012)
When in doubt, throw it out is a good rule of thumb for any situation where food safety is in question. That’s one of the tips the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has included on its recommendations to residents of flood-ravaged southeastern Texas.
Historic levels of rain have swamped Houston and surrounding areas and power has been knocked out in some neighborhoods. While Harris County tries to assess the extent of flood damage, USDA officials are hoping to minimize illnesses that are sometimes associated with weather emergencies. “Refrigerated and frozen foods may reach unsafe storage temperatures when homes lose electricity, and food is also unsafe to eat if it has come into contact with flood waters,” USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said in a statement.
Consumers can use their cell phones to access agency’s virtual food safety representative, “Ask Karen,” on the internet which has a database of over 1,300 food safety questions and answers. Or, they can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.
In the event of a weather emergency, the USDA FSIS advises consumers to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. With the door closed, a refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours. In a full freezer, food will stay good for 48 hours. If it’s half full, the food will keep for 24 hours.  A 50-lb block of dry ice will keep food in a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. Never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. Throw out all perishable items such as meat, eggs, poultry, fish or dairy products that were in a refrigerator without power for more than four hours.
Any food that comes into contact with floodwaters and is not in a waterproof container must be thrown out, FSIS advises. Some containers that may seem waterproof, actually aren’t including those that have screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. All plastic and wooden utensils or containers including baby bottles, nipples and pacifiers should also be thrown out.
Metal or ceramic pans, dishes and utensils can be kept and cleaned by washing them with hot soapy water and then sanitizing them with boiling water or submerging them in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water. Food in metal cans and retort pouches can also be saved by following the steps outlined in Steps to Salvage All-Metal Cans and Retort Pouches.

Colorado cantaloupes return after listeria outbreak; growers push safety
Source : http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018688651_listeria15.html
By The Associated Press (July 14,2012)
Melon growers in Colorado have trademarked a type of cantaloupe and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on safety upgrades after a deadly listeria outbreak last year. Now, with the produce back in supermarkets, farmers are trying to convince consumers that the fruit is safe to consume.
GLENDALE, Colo. — Nearly a year after the nation's deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in more than two decades, Colorado cantaloupes are back in supermarkets.
Farmers near the town of Rocky Ford are going on the offensive to restore the fruit's reputation a year after melons from one of the area's farms caused a nationwide listeria outbreak.
They have banded together to trademark Rocky Ford melons and fund $800,000 worth of safety upgrades to prevent future outbreaks, but they must convince buyers that the melons are safe.
Last fall's listeria outbreak traced to Jensen Farms in eastern Colorado was blamed for the deaths of 30 people. It infected 146 people in 28 states with one of four strains of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some farmers who had raised melons for decades decided to stop growing Rocky Fords this year. Only about a third of the land devoted to growing the cantaloupes last year is now growing this year's crop, according to the USDA's Farm Service Agency.
The Food and Drug Administration said last year that melons at Jensen Farms likely were contaminated in the operation's packing house.
The FDA concluded that dirty water on a floor, and old, hard-to-clean equipment probably were to blame.

Norovirus cause of sickness at Notre Dame
Source :http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-norovirus-cause-of-sickness-at-notre-dame-20120629,0,6226797.story?track=rss&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeedBy South Bend Tribune (June 29,2012)
Laboratory tests have confirmed norovirus as the cause of a gastrointestinal outbreak that affected 106 students attending sport camps earlier this week at the University of Notre Dame, St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Thomas A. Felger said Friday.
A total of 29 students were treated and released from local emergency departments for the intestinal illness.
Norovirus is a contagious virus, and is the most common “stomach bug” in the United States, Felger said.
Norovirus can be spread by an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms usually occur 12 to 48 hours after exposure, and include diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Most people recover in 1 to 3 days, but remain contagious for up to two weeks after recovery.
Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of norovirus, according to the county health department.

FDA Issues Warning Over Mexicali Cheese Corp. Products
http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/07/fda-issues-warning-over-mexicali-cheese-corp-prod.aspx
By Food Product Design (July 13, 2012)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to purchase or consume any products from the Mexicali Cheese Corp. of Woodhaven, N.Y., because Listeria monocytogenes was found in the products and at the company’s production facility.
The affected products include 14-ounce tubs of Mexicali Queso Fresco Mexicano, Mexican Style Fresh Cheese; Acatlan Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese; Mi Quesito Mexicano, Mexican Cheese; and Quesillo Ecuatoriano, Ecuadorian Style Cheese distributed in the New York City area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. FDA is asking retailers to remove any Mexicali cheese products from their shelves, and is warning consumers that products may have moved beyond those states. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets issued warnings on June 29 and July 2, 2012.
Under a May 1, 2012, consent decree of permanent injunction, Mexicali Cheese was required by a court order to stop manufacturing and distributing any articles of food until it completed FDA-approved measures to correct food-safety deficiencies, decontaminate its facility and take other steps needed to comply with the law. They did not comply with the requirements.

Rep. Louise Slaughter Reveals Results of Meat Antibiotic Survey
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/rep-louise-slaughter-reveals-results-of-meat-antibiotic-survey/
By Carla Gillespie (July 05,2012)
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) released findings from her survey of 60 fast food chains, meat processors, grocery store chains, and meat producers asking them about their policies on antibiotic use in meat and poultry production.
Here are the key findings from the survey:
¡áSome companies are providing exclusively antibiotic-free meat and poultry products, including Whole Foods, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Niman Ranch, and Sweetgreen. The companies also offer a high degree of transparency regarding the food production practices they support.
¡áMost companies, in fact, the “overwhelming majority” according to the report, regularly use antibiotics in food animals as preventative measures (sub-therapeutic doses), and to promote growth. Those are the two uses of antibiotics in farm animals most criticized by scientists and researchers as promoting the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
¡áThe law, as written, fails to address the threat of superbugs.
Rep. Slaughter said that only 31 companies responded directly to her query. She divided the companies she queried into several categories: full disclosure, some questions answered, and minimal disclosure. She also rated them by these categories: antibiotic-free only, moderate antibiotic use, and routine antibiotic use. You can see the survey results at her web site.
According to the survey, these are the companies that follow an antibiotic-free policy, have transparent policies, and offer antibiotic-free options to their customers:
¡áChipotle Mexican Grill
¡áSweetgreen
¡áWhole Foods
¡áApplegate Farms
¡áBell & Evans
¡áColeman Natural Foods
¡áMurray’s Chicken
¡áNiman Ranch
¡áOzark Mountain Pork
These are some of the companies which had low transparency, no antibiotic-free policies, and offered no options to consumers:
¡áDomino’s
¡áRoy Rogers
¡áSonic
¡áWhite Castle
¡áA&W Restaurants
¡áWalmart
¡áTrader Joe’s
¡áTarget
¡áCargill
¡áHormel
¡áKraft Foods
¡áTyson
In a statement, Slaughter said, “my findings finally provide consumers with valuable information about the food they eat, and answer the question, ‘what’s in the beef?’ I urge consumers to consider today’s findings when shopping, and I urge the FDA and my colleagues in Congress to strengthen our laws in order to fight the growing threat of superbugs. Until we do, the routine use of antibiotics will continue to breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.”

Cargill's Excel found liable for damages in Sizzler E. coli case
Source:http://www.meatingplace.com/Industry/News/Details/34504?allowguest=trueBy Meatingplace Editors (July 12, 2012)
Sizzler USA Franchise Inc. can recover damages from Cargill’s Excel Corp. in the case of a little girl who died 12 years ago from E. coli contamination after eating at a Milwaukee area restaurant, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has ruled.
The court upheld an appeals court's decision in the case involving about 150 people who were sickened after eating food contaminated by E. coli pathogens at two Sizzler Steak House restaurants in the Milwaukee area in late July and early August 2000. Three-year-old Brianna Kriefall died.
Excel processed and distributed the contaminated meat that was the source of the E. coli pathogens. The company's role was confirmed by tests of sealed packages of its tri-tip beef that were shipped to Sizzler restaurants.
“The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in this 12-year-old case is final and we must respect it,” Mike Martin, spokesman for Excel parent Cargill Inc., told Meatingplace via email. “All of the consumers who made claims were compensated over the past 12 years.”
He said the company is committed to ensuring a safe food supply and uses advanced technologies throughout its plants. “Producing the safest foods possible is absolutely critical to the ongoing success of Cargill’s business,” he said.
He declined to specify the total costs for the case to Cargill.
In its 40-page majority opinion, the Wisconsin high court held that Sizzler USA can recover damages as a result of Excel and American Home Assurance Co.'s breach of warranties implied in the companies’ meat supply contract.  Excel was found responsible for 80 percent of the liability and costs, restaurant operator E&B Management was found liable for 20 percent, and Sizzler was found not responsible for the E. coli-contaminated food.
The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services classified the two outbreaks as separate occurrences caused by different food handling errors.
The plaintiffs' claims were classified into two groups: the Kriefall plaintiffs and the "non-Kriefall plaintiffs." Prior to trial, the Kriefall plaintiffs settled with Excel, E&B, Sizzler and their insurers for $10.5 million. Excel paid the entire amount.
The 138 non-Kriefall plaintiffs also settled their claims, receiving different amounts depending on the severity of their injuries. A fund administered by one of E&B’s insurers paid about $3.5 million to the non-Kriefall plaintiffs and $1 million to the Kriefalls.


Sturbridge restaurant closes because of E. coli
Source : http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120712/NEWS/120719805
By Craig S. Semon TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF(July 12, 2012)
Roy Rogers Restaurant is temporarily closed because its well water tested positive for E. coli bacteria.
Routine testing done by a contractor for the restaurant, at 234 Haynes St. (Route 15), found the E. coli and coliform bacteria, which can cause intestinal distress, prompting the restaurant to close on Wednesday and notify the local Board of Health and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP issued a boil-water order, meaning that no water could be served to the public without being boiled.
The agency also ordered the restaurant to post the boil-water order, disconnect its ice machines, chlorinate the well and 20,000-gallon storage tank, flush the system until the chlorine is gone, and then collect five bacteria samples in a row both from the well and from the distribution system.
Once both rounds of samples come back negative, the boil order will be lifted, the agency said.
The agency also ordered the restaurant to immediately correct “several significant deficiencies” in its water system uncovered in a DEP sanitary inspection on March 8.
The agency said the restaurant was past its deadline for doing the corrective actions.

Salmonella strain causes 500 schoolchildren in Thailand to fall ill
Source : http://www.congoo.com/news/2012July12/Salmonella-strain-causes-schoolchildren-Thailand
By Ekkapomg Praditpong (July 12, 2012)
A drug-resistant strain of Salmonella bacteria, that was found in eggs causing 500 schoolchildren in Thailand to fall ill, might continue lingering and re-infect them for another three months.
The provincial health office will send a team to tackle the situation and set food-safety measures at all schools in Chiang Mai, especially those that take boarders. The authorities insist that Salmonella-infected eggs have not hit the general markets.
After several cases of severe diarrhoea were reported at Suksa Songkhro Chiang Mai School on Monday, more students were admitted at nine hospitals in the province, bring the number of hospitalised children up to 500 as of yesterday morning. Though 367 were discharged, 127 are still in hospital for septicaemia, which requires the strongest type of antibiotics. A 17-year-old schoolgirl suffered from shock due to severe septicaemia and low blood pressure.
Chiang Mai health official Dr Wattana Kanchanamol said lab tests confirmed that the diarrhoea had been caused by a strain of Salmonella bacteria, which is drug resistant because of antibiotics mixed in chicken feed. The bacteria, living on fowl faeces, contaminated the eggs, he explained. He estimated that 300 of the 10,000 eggs donated to the school were found to be carrying the bacteria, adding that 26 of the patients have already had a relapse and nine had to be hospitalised.
Wattana said that though the bacteria's 72-hour incubation period has passed, the children would be carrying the bacteria for another three months, hence they might have a relapse or infect others.
A medical team has interviewed the donor's family and collected samples of their faeces to see if they might be carrying the bacteria, he said, declining to reveal the donor's identity on grounds that the donation had been made with good intentions. Meanwhile, livestock officials were dispatched to inspect a chicken farm in Hang Dong district, he added.
Wattana said the donor family had boiled the eggs on Friday and Saturday but instead of refrigerating them, they had stored them on egg trays.
On Sunday, they presented the eggs as an offering to the Kruba Sriwichai Monument and later delivered them to schools to serve with dinner the same evening. Some of the eggs also went to nine agencies and a community, and when a student from the Northern Region School for the Blind became ill after eating an egg, authorities managed to alert the donation receivers to get rid of the eggs.
Saying the outbreak had not affected the public at large and markets, he urged people to ensure that all eggs are properly cooked before consumption and always keep them refrigerated because Salmonella grows fast in hot weather.

Handwashing is never enough: findings from E. coli O157 2009 outbreak in UK published
Source : http://barfblog.foodsafety.ksu.edu/blog/155719/12/07/12/handwashing-never-enough-findings-e-coli-o157-2009-outbreak-uk-published
By Doug Powell (July 12, 2012)
In the fall of 2009, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak at Godstone Petting Farm in the U.K resulted in 93 illnesses – primarily little kids.
An initial report by Professor George Griffin found that it could have been avoided if visitors had been kept away from animal feces, and was made worse by the slow reaction of health authorities before the petting farm in Surrey was closed.
Eight of the children infected required dialysis and some have been left with permanent kidney damage. At one point during the outbreak victims were occupying all the children's acute renal support services in London.
As part of the response, U.K. health types recommended handwashing stations with soap and water only (no wipes or sanitizers).
But while some studies suggest inadequate handwashing facilities may have contributed to disease outbreaks, or washing hands was protective against illness, others suggest bugs like E. coli O157 may be aerosolized and inhaled, thus not prevented with handwashing.
Add the latest paper on the 2009 outbreak to the list: a bunch of U.K. researchers conclude that in the Godstone outbreak, “handwashing conferred no demonstrable protective effect.
“Moreover, from the findings of many previous published studies, it must be assumed that all petting or open farms are potentially high-risk environments for the acquisition of VTEC O157 infection.”
A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.
Large outbreak of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 infection in visitors to a petting farm in South East England, 2009
Epidemiology and Infection August 2012 140 : pp 1400-1413
C. Ihekweazu, K. Carroll, B. Adak, G. Smith, G. C. Pritchard, I. A. Gillespie, N. Q. Verlander, L. Harvey-Vince, M. Reacher, O. Edeghere, B. Sultan, R. Cooper, G. Morgan, P. T. N. Kinross, N. S. Boxall, A. Iversen and G. Bickler
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8634028’
In the summer of 2009, an outbreak of verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157 (VTEC O157) was identified in visitors to a large petting farm in South East England. The peak attack rate was 6/1000 visitors, and highest in those aged <2 years (16/1000). We conducted a case-control study with associated microbiological investigations, on human, animal and environmental samples. We identified 93 cases; 65 primary, 13 secondary and 15 asymptomatic. Cases were more likely to have visited a specific barn, stayed for prolonged periods and be infrequent farm visitors. The causative organism was identified as VTEC O157 PT21/28 with the same VNTR profile as that isolated in faecal specimens from farm animals and the physical environment, mostly in the same barn. Contact with farm livestock, especially ruminants, should be urgently reviewed at the earliest suspicion of a farm-related VTEC O157 outbreak and appropriate risk management procedures implemented without delay.

CDC: Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Mt. Healthy Live Poultry Grows
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cdc-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-mt-healthy-live-poultry-grows17570/
By Kathy Will (July 12, 2012)
According to the CDC, as of July 12, 2012, there are now 144 people in 26 states who are sick with three outbreaks strains of Salmonella linked to live poultry from Mt. Heathy Hatchery in Ohio. Previously, 123 people were counted as part of the outbreak. The outbreak strains include Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, and Salmonella Lille.
The case count is as follows: Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Maine (4), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (16), North Carolina (14), Ohio (37), Pennsylvania (11), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (10), West Virginia (7). Thirty-two people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. One patient has died, but it’s not clear whether the infection contributed to that death. Thirty-six percent of the patients are children 10 years of age or younger.
Twenty-one new cases are from nine states: Arizona (1), Maine (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1) North Carolina (2), Ohio (7), Pennsylvania (1), Tennessee (3) and Virginia (4). According to the epidemiological curve, the CDC expects there will be at least five more cases in this particular outbreak.
Illnesses began between March 1, 2012 and June 22, 2012. The patients range in age from less than one year to 100 years. Fifty-five percent of patients are female. Of those questioned, 85% had contact with live chicks and ducklings before becoming ill. Any hatchery or outlet that sells live poultry should provide health information to consumers about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from the birds.

Ohio E. coli Outbreak should be a Food Safety Reminder
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/ohio-e-coli-outbreak-should-be-a-food-safety-reminder/
By Bill Marler (July 11, 2012)
The latest numbers bring the total sick to 55, with 10 hospitalized after eating food at customer appreciation picnic July 3 at Neff’s Lawn Care. The number of those hospitalized has increased to 10.  Health officials estimated that 200-300 people attended the picnic.  Hopefully, no one else becomes ill and those that are ill make a speedy recovery.  Here are five things to think about for your next picnic:
1.  Use a food thermometer to check that meats and poultry are hot enough to kill any harmful bacteria. Minimum safe internal temperatures are:
..;hamburgers (ground meats and sausages, including pork sausages): 160º F
..;steaks and other beef, veal, lamb, fish and shellfish: 145º F
..;poultry: 165º F
..;pork (except pork sausage): 145º F
2.  After cooking meat or chicken on the grill, keep it at 140º F or warmer until serving. If reheating fully cooked items such as baked beans or hot potato salad, head to 165º F.
3.  If you are using a cooler, keep it out of the sun and avoid opening it too often so it stays as cool as possible inside. Keep cold foods at 41º F or colder at all times.
4.  Don't cut vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods on the same cutting board as chicken or meat without thoroughly cleaning the knife and the cutting board first. Our recommendation for picnics, where proper washing facilities are not available, is to bring two separate cutting boards - one for meat, chicken, and fish, and the other for vegetables and other ready-to-eat foods.  Don't put cooked meat or poultry on the same platter that held the raw food.
5.  Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking, after touching raw meat, fish, or chicken, and especially after visiting the bathroom.
This advise brought to you by Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.  Cases that have involved residents of Ohio over the last decades include:
ConAgra Ground Beef E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2002)
Cuyahoga County E. coli outbreak - Ohio (2009)
Dole Spinach E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2006)
Freshway Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Multistate (2010)
JBS Swift E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
Jimmy John’s Clover Sprouts E. coli O26 Outbreak Lawsuits - Multistate (2012)
KFC E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Ohio (1999)
Nebraska Beef E. coli Outbreak - Nationwide (2008)
Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
Tyson Fresh Meats E. coli Lawsuit - Ohio (2011)
Valley Meats E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania (2009)
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

FDA found food safety gaps in 40% of egg-farm inspections
Source : http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/jul1012eggs.html
By Robert Roos (July 10, 2012)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found violations of its egg safety rules on about 40% of the farms it inspected in 2011, but only about 3% of the problems were serious enough to call for FDA action, according to an agency report released yesterday.
As it released the data, the FDA noted that rules to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) contamination of eggs took effect yesterday for medium-sized farms—those with 3,000 to 50,000 laying hens. The regulations became effective in July 2010 for farms with more than 50,000 hens.
The FDA said its own inspectors and state contract workers inspected 555 egg farms in 2011. Of those, 96 inspections were more comprehensive than the rest because they included environmental sampling.
On 14 (2.7%) of the inspections officials found problems that were considered "egregious" and warranted an official FDA response, such as a warning letter. "In large part, these inspections are the first inspection of the farm by FDA, and a warning letter is the appropriate administrative official action," the FDA said.
Another 195 (37.9%) inspections revealed "significant deficiencies" but ones that the operators "should be able to correct . . . without any official action by FDA," the agency said.
Significant problems included such things as the lack of a written SE prevention plan, failure to conduct environmental tests for SE, failure to divert eggs or begin egg testing after a positive environmental sample, and failure to keep required records.
In other findings, the FDA said SE was found in about 2.5% (51 of 2,030) of swabs taken in environmental sampling at the egg farms. The 51 positive swabs were among the 22 samples collected on 11 farms.
The agency used a risk-based approach to inspections, selecting farms on the basis of criteria that included the number of laying hens, registration status, and previous recalls and consumer complaints. The 50 highest-risk farms were picked for comprehensive inspections and environmental sampling, the FDA said.
The FDA's egg safety rule does not apply to farms that have fewer than 3,000 hens and those that sell all their eggs directly to consumers. Large operations (more than 50,000 layers) produce about 80% of the US egg supply, the agency said when it established the rules.
Under the safety rule, egg producers who don't use pasteurization must take a number of steps, including establishing pest-control and biosecurity measures, testing for SE in their poultry houses, cleaning and disinfecting houses that test positive, and refrigerating eggs during storage and transportation.

Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria Cases Must Be Filed by September 14
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/jensen-farms-cantaloupe-listeria-cases-must-file-by-september-14/
By Linda Larsen(July 10, 2012)
Jensen Farms, the company that grew and shipped the cantaloupes that caused the large Listeria outbreak last summer has filed for bankruptcy. The United States Bankruptcy Court in Colorado has approved the motion, and a date has been set for filing of claims.
All people who assert a claim based on the outbreak of listeriosis must file it by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on or before September 14, 2012. It’s important that anyone who was affected by this outbreak file a claim to receive compensation for their injuries. The law firm of Pritzker Olsen has several of these cases; please contact Fred Pritzker for more information.
The court is ordering that Jensen Farms make available $4 million in settlement money, from its insurance policy, insurers of the equipment the facility used, and from the third-party auditor who failed to discover contamination at the plant just before the outbreak occurred.
The company faces seven personal injury lawsuits and 12 wrongful death suits. That outbreak was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, killing at least 35 people and sicking 146 in 28 states before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the outbreak over on December 8, 2011 and released its final report. The outbreak began on September 2, 2011, when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment notified the CDC about seven patients who were sick with the same strain of Listeria bacteria.
This is the final outbreak toll, by state:
¡áAlabama: 1 case
¡áArkansas: 1 case
¡áCalifornia: 4 cases
¡áColorado: 40 cases, 8 deaths
¡áIdaho: 2 cases
¡áIllinois: 4 cases
¡áIndiana: 3 cases, 1 death
¡áIowa: 1 case, 1 miscarriage
¡áKansas: 11 cases, 3 deaths
¡áLouisiana: 2 cases, 2 deaths
¡áMaryland: 1 case, 1 death
¡áMissouri: 7 cases, 3 deaths
¡áMontana: 1 case
¡áNebraska: 6 cases, 1 death
¡áNevada: 1 case
¡áNew Mexico: 15 cases, 5 deaths
¡áNew York: 2 cases, 2 deaths
¡áNorth Dakota: 2 cases
¡áOklahoma: 12 cases, 1 death
¡áOregon: 1 case
¡áPennsylvania: 1 case
¡áSouth Dakota: 1 case>
¡áTexas: 18 cases, 2 deaths
¡áUtah: 1 case
¡áVirginia: 1 case
¡áWest Virginia: 1 case
¡áWisconsin: 2 cases
¡áWyoming: 4 cases, 1 death
In addition to these cases, seven pregnant women became ill, and three infants were born with listeriosis.
Unsanitary conditions on the farm were found to be the source of the bacteria. In January, Jensen Farms was fined for housing its migrant worker in unsanitary and crowded conditions.
Just before the outbreak occurred, Primus Labs gave the facility very high marks, leading to an investigation into the third-party auditing system by the United States House of Representatives.

Potentially deadly E. coli confirmed in Fredericton
Source : http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/07/09/nb-e-coli-fredericton-public-health.html
By Bill Carla Gillespie(July 09, 2012)
4 cases being investigated by public health
There have been four confirmed cases of a potentially deadly strain of E. coli in the Fredericton area, according to public health officials.
E. coli O157:H7 is the same strain that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ont. in 2000.
The source of the infectious bacteria that multiplies quickly remains unclear.
Public health is investigating to determine where the affected individuals in Fredericton ate, what they ate, and whether the cases might be connected, said Dr. Denis Allard, the province's acting chief medical officer of health, in a statement.
"Pending lab results could determine if the bacteria share the same DNA pattern, suggesting a common source," Allard said.
It could be next week before those results are available, he added, declining any further comment.
This particular strain of E. coli secretes a powerful toxin that can destroy red blood cells leading to severe illness, high blood pressure and kidney damage.
Allard says three of the Fredericton cases were hospitalized. Two have been treated and released.
The main symptom for this strain of E. coli is bloody diarrhea, but it can also cause vomiting and stomach cramps. Unlike other illnesses, there is no fever.
Those most at risk of developing serious complications include pregnant women, young children, seniors and people with a weakened immune system, such as those on chemotherapy.
Follows Miramichi outbreak
The confirmed cases come on the heels of an outbreak in Miramichi in April.
At least 13 people were infected with the potentially deadly strain and another 11 people may have also been infected by the same strain, officials had said.
Romaine lettuce was recently determined to be the likely source of that outbreak.
The Department of Health conducted a case control study that examined 55 people, including 18 individuals who were sick and 37 people who were not sick.
All of those in the study who were sick with E. coli appear to have consumed romaine lettuce that was used in salads, as an ingredient in wraps, or as a garnish for hamburgers, Dr. Eilish Cleary, the chief medical officer of health, said at the time.
The study focused on those who ate at Jungle Jim's in Miramichi between April 23 and 26.
The provincial government announced new food safety regulations in May.
As of July 1, restaurants must ensure one person on every shift is certified in safe food handling.
Steps to avoid the bacteria include:
regular hand washing, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
washing fruits and vegetables
properly cooking meat, using warm soapy water or a chlorine-based or other approved sanitizers to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, and any counters or surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish
During the Walkerton outbreak, the water supply had been contaminated.

Mad Cow Disease Spreads in Nervous System Before Detection
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/mad-cow-disease-spreads-in-nervous-system-before-detection/
By Bill Carla Gillespie(July 09, 2012)
A new study in the American Journal of Pathology has shown that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as “mad cow” disease”, spreads in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to the central nervous system (CNS) before it can be detected. Mad cow is a fatal disease in cattle that can be transmitted to humans who eat infected tissue.
There isn’t much that scientists know about the spread of the BSE prion in its early incubation period. Other studies have reported that the autonomic nervous system was affected only after the central nervous system is infected.
The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary actions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and the functions of major organs. It consists of the sympathetic ANS, the parasymphathetic ANS, and the enteric nervous system. The central nervous system is the part that controls your brain and makes up your consciousness; it consists of the brain and spinal cord.
It usually takes five years from infection before the disease can be detected. But in the study, 56 calves were infected orally with BSE; samples were collected every four months for the next three and a half years. Scientists found the pathological prion (a misfolded protein that is not alive) in the gut and in the ANS but not in the CNS.
Infection was found in the spinal cord of one animal only 16 months after infection. Dr. Martin H. Groschup, one of the study’s authors, said, “the clear involvement of the sympathetic nervous system illustrates that it plays an important role in the pathogenesis of BSE in cattle. Nevertheless, our results also support earlier research that postulated an early parasympathetic route for BSE.”
The study’s authors believe that there are three routes for the BSE prion to get to the brain: sympathetic, parasympathetic, and spinal cord, in order of importance. Knowing how the prion gets to the brain does have food safety implications.

Seneca Lake Spraypark Cryptosporidium Class Action
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/seneca-lake-spraypark-cryptosporidium-class-action/
By Bill Marler(July 09, 2012)
Welcome to the official website for information regarding the Seneca Lake Spraypark Cryptosporidium Class Action. Timothy Springer, et al. v. The State of New York, Claim No. 111361. This site is the proper location for periodic updates on the litigation. In addition, potential class members can retrieve the forms necessary for application to become members of the class.
Membership in the Class is now closed. There are nearly 2,500 people who have sought to join the Class. We are currently in active discovery with the State of New York to prove its responsibility for the outbreak. We have mailed all those who sought membership a Questionnaire (pdf) that we need to prove damage claims. While many of you have previously submitted much of this information, The Questionnaire (pdf) contains additional requests and is in a form that we can use to establish proof of claim. Therefore you need to complete and return This Questionnaire (pdf) with information for each claimant. A copy of The Questionnaire (pdf) can be printed from this page. The DEADLINE for returning The Questionnaire (pdf) has been extended to SEMPTEMBER 30, 2008. All Questionnaires (pdf) should be mailed to the following address:

Spanish Farmers Paid a Price for Europe's E. coli O104 Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/07/spanish-produce-paid-a-price-for-europes-o104-outbreak/
By Food Safety News Desk (July 09, 2012)
The Murcia region in southeastern Spain, where the Segura River is found, is known as Europe's orchid because of its abundant production of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
But Murcia is coming off a down year because of a variety of factors, not the least of which was the virulent E. coli outbreak last spring centered in northern Germany that resulted in some false alarms pointing fingers at produce that turned out not to be responsible for the outbreak, before European health officials finally settled on sprouts.
Before imported Egyptian-grown fenugreek seeds were found to be the source of the deadly 2011 E. coli O104:H4 outbreak, raw cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce were all suspected sources. These foods were either banned from countries outside Germany or slowed from crossing borders.
Combined with Europe's economic crisis and international market competition, the E. coli outbreak cut agricultural income from the Murcia region by 11.3 percent for the 2010-2011 growing season. 
German, French and English markets are the main consumers of produce grown in the the Murcia region. In a report by the Cajamar Foundation, a subsequent marketing campaign for the region worked for apricot, peach, and table grapes, but not so much for melons, tomatoes, lemons and oranges.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak involved at least 4,125 cases in 16 countries, including 908 with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) and 50 deaths.

 

Job openings
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07/13. Natural Res. Spec 3 (Food Safety) – Klamath Falls, O
07/12. Mgr, Lab, Food Safety & Commodity Programs - CA
07/11. Food Safety & Occ Safety Mgr – Oklahoma City, OK
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07/11. Food Safety – Technical Support – Hatfield, PA

 

Norovirus Outbreak at Lake Wazee in Wisconsin
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/norovirus-outbreak-at-lake-wazee-in-wisconsin/
By Kathy Will (July 14, 2012)
According to the Jackson County Health Department in Wisconsin, the beaches at Lake Wazee have been closed because of an outbreak of norovirus. At least 200 people have been sickened. The outbreak was discovered last week after many people who visited the lake experienced the symptoms of Norovirus.
According to a press release, food poisoning was suspected at first, but after public health officials began investigating, the lake water emerged as the suspected source. Testing has not revealed norovirus, but officials say that markers for feces, one of the sources of the virus, have been found at the beach.
Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and body aches. The symptoms appear quickly, within a few hours after exposure, and patients usually get better within a few days. But some people can become seriously ill with dehydration and require hospitalization. Because it is a virus, antibiotics are not used to treat this infection.
Samples from patients are being tested at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. When test results are released, we’ll let you know. The lake will remain closed through the weekend. Officials will re-test the water on Monday, July 16 and will reopen the beach if it is safe.
If anyone wants to scuba dive or fish away from the beaches, that is permitted, but the Health Department asks that you thoroughly wash your hands after those activities, and clean and sanitize all equipment. For more information, contact the Health Department

Shellfish from Oyster Bay in Nassau County NY Linked to Vibrio Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/shellfish-from-oyster-bay-in-nassau-county-ny-linked-to-vibrio-outbreak/
By Carla Gillespie(July 14, 2012)
The New York Department of Environmental conservation is advising food establishments to avoid using or selling shellfish harvested from areas in the town of Oyster Bay, N.Y. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, harvesting is no longer allowed in that area because of an illness outbreak caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a naturally occurring marine bacteria.
All of the underwater land in Oyster Bay Harbor in an area from the stone house on Plum Point to the northwestern point of Cover Point on Cove Neck are closed for harvest. This include about 1,980 acres on the north shore of Oyster Bay. You can see the map at the New York DEC site.
Three people who ate raw or undercooked shellfish in Nassau County have become ill. And five more people in other states are sick after eating shellfish harvested in Oyster Bay. The Vibrio bacteria increase in numbers when the water warms.  Symptoms of Vibrio infections include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal and stomach cramps, fever, and chills. Most illnesses resolve within a few days, but some people can become sick enough to require hospitalization.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Minnesota Denny's
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/07/salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-minnesota-dennys/
By News Desk(July 14, 2012)
Three people were hospitalized with Salmonella Montevideo infections after eating at Denny's in Rochester, MN. One more case has not been confirmed but is thought to be part of the outbreak.
The three patrons became ill between July 2 and July 7 after eating at the same Rochester Denny's between June 27 and July 5. Officials at Olmsted County Health Services are looking into how the bacteria might have entered the restaurant, and suspect that it was being carried by a customer or employee.
The restaurant has been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, taking all measures recommended by health officials. County and state health departments have discarded potentially contaminated foods, sanitized all food preparation surfaces, enforced glove use among all employees and excluded all ill or recently ill workers.
"We did not close down Denny's specifically because we were able to get into the restaurant early enough to start the intervention right away," said Shaylene Baumbach, an Olmsted County public health educator, according to the Post Bulletin.  
Officials continue to investigate whether other cases may be linked to the outbreak.
Symptoms of Salmonella usually develop about 12 to 72 hours after infection and include fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain and cramps. Symptoms usually resolve within a week, but 20 percent of illnesses lead to hospitalization.
If you think you may have contracted a Salmonella infection, contact your healthcare provider.

Germantown Ohio E. coli Victim Develops Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/germantown-ohio-e-coli-victim-develops-hemolytic-uremic-syndrome/
By Bill Marler (July 13, 2012)
According to the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department, as a result of eating food at a picnic at Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, at least 62 individuals have become ill. Of those, 13 have been hospitalized. Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County is continuing an investigation into the cause of the foodborne outbreak. Estimates are that as many as 300 people may have attended an annual customer appreciation picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care, 9400 Ekhart Road, on July 3. Of the ill, 11 have been confirmed to be infected by E. coli O157:H7. One four year old girl is in critical condition, experiencing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a disease that destroys red blood cells, and is the most common cause of sudden, short-term-acute-kidney failure in children.

Norovirus hits Wairau Hospital
Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/7272517/Norovirus-hits-Wairau-Hospital?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
By IAN ALLEN (July 13, 2012)
An outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim has been confirmed as norovirus, the Nelson Marlborough medical officer of health says.
Four more hospital staff were struck down by the bug this week, bringing to 20 the total number of staff affected since July 2, Dr Ed Kiddle said.
The outbreak was confirmed by laboratory tests yesterday.
Four patients had similar symptoms of gastroenteritis, vomiting and diarrhoea, last week but factors other than norovirus could have been the cause.
Norovirus was very infectious and not just a hospital problem, Dr Kiddle warned.
"It would probably be the most common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting in the community, and there are some basic precautions that people can follow to minimise spread," Dr Kiddle said.
"The incubation period is 12 to 48 hours after contact with the virus, usually after having direct contact with a sick person and not washing your hands well; by eating food that has been contaminated by the virus, or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth," he said.
Anyone with symptoms should not return to work until 48 hours after their last bout of diarrhoea or vomiting as people were still infectious until then, he said.
Children and adolescents should wait 48 hours before returning to school.
Immunity after a norovirus illness was thought to be short-lived - about 14 weeks - and might only relate to that strain, he said.
"If you are concerned about yourself or a family member, seek advice from a GP or practice nurse," Dr Kiddle said.
"If you are sick with diarrhoea or vomiting, you should stay away from child centres, school or work.
"It is also important to not visit rest homes, hospitals, or be out in large groups of people while you have symptoms, and for 48 hours after the symptoms stop.
"You should also not prepare food for others during this time."
Symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of diarrhoea and/or vomiting, nausea, fever, abdominal cramps, muscle aches or headaches.
"Although there is no specific treatment for norovirus, it is important to continue drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration," Dr Kiddle said. "Signs of dehydration can include a dry mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, cold hands and feet, and unusual sleepiness or lack of energy."
A Blenheim rest home was placed in quarantine last week after three residents and four staff were struck down by vomiting and diarrhoea.
Redwood Lifestyle Care and Village in Cleghorn St reopened on Monday. The cause of the outbreak had not been confirmed by yesterday.

Shigella Cases in Onondaga County Rise to 45
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/shigella-cases-in-onondaga-county-rise-to-4517564/
By Linda Larsen (July 12, 2012)
According to Kathy Mogel, Program Coordinator of the Onondaga County Health Department, there are now 45 cases of “confirmed, probable, and suspect” Shigella in that county. “The health department is continuing to investigate every case for linkages but the source remains unknown,” Ms. Mogel told Food Poisoning Bulletin.
Three weeks have passed since the initial outbreak announcement. Shigella bacteria is spread through drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, and cross-contamination through person-to-person contact. To prevent further spread of the disease, public health officials recommend the following: thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before preparation; cook foods to appropriate temperatures; minimize cross-contamination by washing cutting boards, knives, and other shared surfaces; do not prepare food for other people if you have diarrhea; wash hands with soap and water thoroughly and frequently after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing foods and beverages; supervise hand washing of toddlers and children after they use the bathroom; dispose of soiled diapers properly; disinfect diaper-changing areas after using them; and keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings.

Sixty-One Now Sickened with E. coli 0157 in Neff’s Lawn Care Picnic Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/sixty-one-now-sickened-with-e-coli-0157-in-neffs-lawn-care-picnic-outbreak17557/
By Linda Larsen (July 12, 2012)
According to Bill Wharton, spokesman for the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department in Ohio, 61 people have been sickened with E. coli 0157 after attending a picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown. Mr. Wharton said that 11 people have been hospitalized. Mr. Wharton said, “we aren’t releasing any information other than to say we’re investigating the outbreak.” The health department is interviewing picnic attendees and patients, looking at food sources, storage and handling practices, and cross-contamination potential.
Since 200 to 300 people attended the picnic, more cases may be reported. Doctors must report E. coli infections to public health officials. If you or anyone you know attended this picnic and have been sick, please call the Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department at 937-225-4460 to talk to a public health official.
Symptoms of E. coli infections include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea which is often bloody, a mild fever, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. E. coli 0157 infections cannot be treated with antibiotics, since that increases the risk that hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication, may occur.
These investigations are difficult, since many foods can be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Outbreaks in the past have been linked to lettuce, sprouts, chicken, beef, raw milk, bologna, hazelnuts, raw cookie dough, and cheese.

After the initial outbreak, person-to-person contact can occur. Anyone with an E. coli infection should not prepare food or handle or serve food to anyone else until they are healthy. After an E. coli infection, professional food handlers must have one, sometimes more, negative stool samples before they return to work. It’s important that anyone who handles food wash their hands frequently with warm water and soap to prevent cross-contamination

At least 55 sick after E. coli outbreak
Source : http://www.whiotv.com/news/news/local/least-55-sick-after-e-coli-outbreak/nPrCK/
By Peggy O'Farrell (July 11, 2012)
The health department is reporting at least another 19 people are sick and one more is hospitalized after an E. coli outbreak.
The latest numbers bring the total sick to 55, with 10 hospitalized after eating food at customer appreciation picnic July 3 at Neff's Lawn Care, according to Bill Wharton, a spokesman for the health department.
Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County officials are asking anyone who got sick after attending the picnic in Germantown to call (937) 225-4460 to report their illness.
Public Health officials have confirmed that five of the people taken ill are infected with E. coli 0157, said Bill Wharton, a spokesman for the health department.
E. coli 0157 is one of six strains of E. coli bacteria known to produce a toxin that can be fatal.
Wharton said that none of the people hospitalized are in life-threatening condition.
Health department staff are investigating the outbreak to see if they can determine the source of the infection, he said, and interviewing the people who got sick.
Investigators will look at how food for the carry-in picnic was prepared and stored. "We'll go through the whole process," Wharton said.
They're also trying to test leftovers from the carry-in picnic, though it's likely any leftovers have either been eaten or thrown out by now, Wharton said.
An estimated 200 to 300 people attended the event, Wharton said, but the number might be higher.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If someone attended the picnic and ate contaminated food, they could still develop symptoms through today, Wharton said.
E. coli can spread through contaminated food, but it can also be passed from person to person, so it's important that anyone who became ill after attending the event to wash their hands frequently to avoid infecting others in their household, Wharton said.
Most E. coli cases reported in Ohio occur during the summer, said Dr. Mary DiOrio, state epidemiologist for the Ohio Department of Health.
"When people are getting together and having outdoor gatherings this time of year, it's a good time to remind them about good food safety practices," she said.
Though E. coli contamination is most often associated with beef, the bacteria are found in produce, including vegetable sprouts, lettuce and cantaloupe, DiOrio said. Cooking and storing food at the proper temperature can help prevent foodborne illness.
More than 50 people were sickened in several states by E. coli 0157 found in romaine lettuce in March. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating an outbreak of another strain of toxic E. coli that has sickened 15 people in six states since May
A third strain of E. coli has been linked to clover sprouts at a national sandwich shop chain. More than 25 people were sickened in 11 states between December and March.
Between 5 and 10 percent of people who are infected with a toxic strain of E. coli develop a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure.
Reported cases of E. coli illnesses decreased about 44 percent from 1996 to 2010 in the U.S., according to the CDC.

UPDATE: Ohio E. coli Outbreak Increases to 61 with 11 Hospitalized
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/ohio-e-coli-outbreak-increases-to-55-with-10-hospitalized/
By Bill Marler (July 11, 2012)
Germantown Picnic the likely source - no food item implicated yet.
As a result of eating food at a picnic at Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, at least 61 individuals have become ill and 11 have been hospitalized. Of the ill, 11 have been confirmed to be infected by E. Coli O157. Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County is continuing an investigation into the cause of the foodborne outbreak. Estimates are that as many as 200-300 people may have attended an annual customer appreciation picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care, 9400 Ekhart Road, on July 3.
Public Health is continuing to gather information through interviews with those who attended the picnic and became ill and also those who did not become ill. Investigators are also looking at food sources, food handling and storage practices, food temperature controls, and the potential of cross contamination of the food.
Cases that have involved residents of Ohio over the last decades include:
ConAgra Ground Beef E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2002)
Cuyahoga County E. coli outbreak - Ohio (2009)
Dole Spinach E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2006)
Freshway Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Multistate (2010)
JBS Swift E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
Jimmy John’s Clover Sprouts E. coli O26 Outbreak Lawsuits - Multistate (2012)
KFC E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Ohio (1999)
Nebraska Beef E. coli Outbreak - Nationwide (2008)
Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Nationwide (2009)
Tyson Fresh Meats E. coli Lawsuit - Ohio (2011)
Valley Meats E. coli Outbreak Lawsuits - Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania (2009)

E. coli O157:H7 Sickens 36 at Neff's Lawn Care Picnic
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/e-coli-o157h7-sickens-36-at-neffs-lawn-care-picnic/
By Bill Marler (July 10, 2012)
Nine Hospitalized
According to a press release from the Dayton & Montgomery County, as a result of eating food at a picnic at Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, Ohio at least 36 individuals have become ill. Of those, 9 have been hospitalized. Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County is continuing an investigation into the cause of the foodborne outbreak. Estimates are that as many as 200-300 people may have attended an annual customer appreciation picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care, 9400 Ekhart Road, on July 3. Of the ill, 5 have been confirmed to be infected by E. coli O157:H7.
Symptoms experienced by those who became ill include stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If someone attended the picnic and ate contaminated food, they might still become ill up through July 11. Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County is asking that anyone who became ill after attending the event call 937-225-4460 and report their illness.
Public Health is continuing to gather information through interviews with those who became ill and those who prepared the food. Investigators are also looking at food sources, food handling and storage practices, food temperature controls, and the potential of cross contamination of the food.