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Food Poison Journal

Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Grande Produce Papayas Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA, CDC, MDH and other state and local officials are investigating Salmonella Kiambu and Salmonella Thompson illnesses linked to Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Mexico distributed by Grande Produce in San Juan, TX.

FDA and state partners continue to investigate the distribution of the papayas involved in this outbreak. It appears the distribution pattern of Caribeña brand Maradol papayas does not explain all of the illnesses, meaning other firms likely have distributed contaminated Maradol papayas as well. At this time, the farm(s) producing these papayas appear to only be in Mexico.

CDC reports 47 cases, 12 hospitalizations and one death from 12 states in the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak. The states involved are IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, PA, TX, UT and VA. CDC is working to collect additional information to determine whether the recent Salmonella Thompson illness in Maryland is part of this multistate outbreak.

On June 26, 2017, the CDC notified the FDA about a Salmonella Kiambu cluster detected by PulseNet. All 47 cases have the same pattern by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis was conducted on ten patient samples in the outbreak cluster and all were highly related. This indicates that the patients were likely sickened by the same type of food.

MDH informed the FDA, CDC and state partners that several ill people shopped at the same Baltimore retail location and purchased papayas. Records and samples of green and yellow papaya were collected. On July 17, 2017, Maryland reported that three of ten samples had preliminarily tested positive for Salmonella. All positive samples were Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico; none of the green papayas were positive. However, as noted above, Maradol papayas are green before they ripen and turn yellow, so consumers should not eat Caribeña brand papayas regardless of the color.

On July 19, 2017, MDH issued an advisory warning consumers not to eat Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas. Further WGS testing linked one of the papaya samples to the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak and another to Salmonella Thompson.  . Grande Produce has informed the FDA that the company initiated a limited recall of their Caribeña brand Maradol papayas distributed nationwide from July 7 – July 18, 2017. As of July 25, 2017, Grande Produce has not issued a press release to notify consumers of their recall. Therefore, FDA is advising consumers to avoid all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas. The FDA also noted that there are illnesses in states where Grande Produce did not distribute papayas and is continuing its investigation.

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 $600 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 Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Vibrio vulnificus Illness Prompts Seafood Warning

Public Health — Seattle & King County received a report on July 24th of a King County resident with a rare wound infection caused by the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus. The likely source of infection was fish purchased from a live fish tank at the Seattle Supermarket, located at 4801 Beacon Ave S, Seattle 98108.

Vibrio vulnificus can cause life-threatening illness when ingested or if it enters a skin wound. Health officials advise that anyone who has eaten or prepared fish from this location before July 25 should watch for symptoms of infection for 7 days. People who purchased fish from this location should discard the fish.

“This is the second case of this illness in the past year and both cases came from preparing and consuming fish purchased from a live fish tank. If you prepared or consumed fish of any kind, contact your healthcare provider if you develop signs of skin infection, fever, chills, or diarrhea in the seven days after contact with the fish,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. “At this time, there is no known risk for people who have not been in contact with fish from this location, but people should always take precautions when handling raw seafood.”

The person who developed the infection, a man in his forties, is currently hospitalized. His infection likely resulted while he was preparing the fish and cut his hand, which allowed the bacteria from the fish to enter and infect the wound. He and his wife also ate the cooked fish. His wife became ill, but she was not hospitalized.

Public Health — Seattle & King County is testing samples of the fish and fish tanks at the Seattle Supermarket. The investigation focuses on fish from the live fish tanks, but they are also looking into the possibility that other seafood may have been contaminated. All fish processed at the Seattle Supermarket were thrown away and the tanks and other equipment were decommissioned until they can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected

Public Health — Seattle & King County is working with the Washington State Department of Health to gather information about the distributors of any contaminated product.

The earlier case of Vibrio vulnificus occurred in a King County woman who prepared tilapia purchased from a live tank at a different store and contracted the infection in November of 2016. She has since recovered.

Who is at risk

It is important to seek medical care right away if you’ve handled or eaten fish, particularly raw fish from the Seattle Supermarket, AND within seven days develop:

  • a new skin infection (signs of skin infection are redness, tenderness, swelling, streaking and skin blisters)
  • fever and chills
  • diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
  • any unexplained serious illness

If you develop signs of infection, contact your doctor and tell them if you have been in handled raw seafood or eaten raw or undercooked seafood. If you ate or handled fish from this location and have no illness after seven days, your risk of infection is low.
Certain people are at higher risk for Vibrio vulnificus infection. These include:

  • people with weakened immune systems
  • people with liver disease, including from alcoholism
  • diabetics
  • people with HIV
  • people who take medications to lower stomach acid or who take immune-suppressing medications

Prevent infection

To reduce your chances of getting infected with Vibrio vulnificus and other bacteria:

  • Use gloves when handling raw seafood.
  • Do not handle raw seafood if you have wounds on your hands or fingers.
  • Wash your hands after handling raw shellfish and other types of seafood.
  • Wash cuts or other wounds thoroughly with soap and water if you have handled raw seafood or come in contact with seawater.
  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish. Cooking shellfish and other seafood kills Vibrio bacteria.

For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vibrio

About Vibrio

Vibrio are a type of bacteria that are normally in seawater. There are many types of Vibrio that cause illness in humans. Vibrio vulnificus is very rare in the Pacific Northwest. It is more common in areas with warmer seawater, like the Gulf of Mexico.

Public Health regularly issues warnings about different types of Vibrio bacteria associated with shellfish. Vibrio vulnificus is a different and potentially more deadly species.

Utah, Arizona E. coli Outbreak hits 12 – Hamburger not Cause

Public health officials have ruled out ground beef as the likely source of an E. coli outbreak in southwest Utah, but they have not been able to pinpoint the source of the bacteria, which has already killed two children.

“While the investigation continues into a source for this E. coli outbreak, we’ve determined ground beef is not a likely cause,” according to the latest update from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. “The advisory not to consume previously purchased ground beef is discontinued.”

Unpasteurized, raw milk is still being considered as a possible source for the E. coli and the health department’s recommendation to avoid consuming it remains in place. One additional person has been confirmed in the outbreak, bringing the total to 12 victims.

Mohave County epidemiologist Anna Scherzer said this past week that confirmed cases in the outbreak are mostly children, including two who died. The first victim was a 3-year-old boy who died in June. He and the other fatality, a 6-year-old girl, were not related but they lived in the same multi-family dwelling in Hildale, UT.

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.

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.

Why No Public Recall of Grande Produce Salmonella Tainted Papayas?

The FDA is warning consumers to avoid all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas. Grande Produce has informed the FDA that the company initiated a limited recall of their Caribeña brand Maradol papayas distributed nationwide from July 7 – July 18, 2017. As of July 25, 2017, Grande Produce has not issued a press release to notify consumers of their recall. Therefore, FDA is advising consumers to avoid all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas. The FDA also noted that there are illnesses in states where Grande Produce did not distribute papayas and is continuing its investigation.

The FDA is advising consumers not to eat Caribeña brand Maradol papayas because they are linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis. Maradol papayas are green before they ripen and turn yellow, so consumers should not eat Caribeña brand regardless of the color. If anyone has these papayas in their home, they should dispose of them immediately. These can be identified by a red, green and yellow sticker shown here.

Papaya samples taken by MDH from a Baltimore retail location tested positive for the strains of Salmonella Kiambu and Thompson found in ill people.

CDC recommends people should not eat Maradol papayas from Mexico. FDA continues its traceback investigation. At this time, Caribeña brand papayas from Mexico have been identified as a brand linked to these illnesses. Additional brands will be announced as the information becomes available.

CDC reports 47 cases,12 hospitalizations and one death from 12 states in the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak. The states involved are IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, PA, TX, UT and VA.