Food Poisoning Information

Kentucky officials say three deaths have now been reported in a hepatitis A outbreak in six counties.

The number was released Friday, along with a total number of cases of 352, through last Saturday. The state Department of Public Health recommends hepatitis A vaccinations for children older than 1 year and adults living in Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties.

Public Health Acting Commissioner Jeffrey Howard said in a news release that it’s safe to travel to Kentucky and attend the May 5 Kentucky Derby. He said the Centers for Disease Control hasn’t issued any travel restrictions or made any vaccination recommendations for travelers.

The Indiana State Department of Health said this week that residents should be vaccinated and protect themselves from hepatitis A when traveling to states experiencing outbreaks.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria that live in human and animal intestines. Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli, or STECs, are responsible for most food-related E. coli infections. E. coli O157:H7 and other STECs like E. coli O145 and E. coli O121:H19 produce a toxin called Shiga toxin, which causes illness in humans. E. coli bacteria do not make animals such as livestock and deer, which harbor the bacteria in their intestines, ill.

It is estimated that E. coli infections account for over 2,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year, according to a 2011 CDC report.

SOURCES OF E. COLI

E. coli O157:H7 is most commonly found in cows, although chickens, deer, sheep, and pigs have also been known to carry it. Meat becomes contaminated during slaughter, when infected animal intestines or feces come in contact with the carcass. Ground or mechanically tenderized meats are considered riskier than intact cuts of meat because E. coli bacteria, can be mixed throughout the meat in the grinding process or during tenderization.

Other foods that sometimes become contaminated with E. coli bacteria include unpasteurized milk and cheese, unpasteurized juices, alfalfa and radish sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and water. However, any food is at risk of becoming contaminated with E. coli through cross-contamination. One can also get E. coli bacteria from contact with feces of infected animals or people.

The breakdown of sources of E. coli bacteria from 1998-2007 was as follows:

  • Food: 69%
  • Water: 18%
  • Animals or their environment: 8%
  • Person-to-person: 6%

SYMPTOMS OF E. COLI

E. coli symptoms change as the infection progresses. Symptoms usually begin two to five days after infection. The initial symptoms include the sudden onset of cramps and abdominal pain, followed by diarrhea within 24 hours. Diarrhea will become increasingly watery, and then noticeably bloody. People with E. coli infection also often feel nauseated and experience headaches. Less common symptoms include fever and chills.

HUS: A RARE BUT SERIOUS COMPLICATION

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, or HUS, follows around 10 percent of E. coli O157:H7 infections. HUS occurs when Shiga toxins get into the bloodstream and cause the part of the kidney that filters toxins out of the blood to break down, causing kidney injury and sometimes kidney failure.  Some HUS patients also suffer damage to the pancreas and central nervous system impairment.

DIAGNOSIS OF E. COLI

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection can be diagnosed in a doctor’s office or hospital by laboratory analysis of a stool sample.

Bacteria isolated from patients’ stool samples can be compared through laboratory analysis, helping to match strains of E. coli to the food or other source it came from, a process called “fingerprinting.”

TREATMENT FOR E. COLI INFECTION

Illness from E. coli usually goes away within a week and does not cause any long-term problems.  One should make sure to remain hydrated and get proper nutrition while sick.

Antibiotics are not used as E. coli treatment, as they do not improve the illness, and some studies show that they can increase the risk of HUS.

HUS is treated by hospitalization. Since there is no way to directly cure HUS, treatment includes care to alleviate symptoms.

PREVENTING INFECTION FROM E. COLI BACTERIA

Any food that you eat has the potential to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. This is why it is important to take precautions in preparing food and before eating at restaurants. You should also be aware that E. coli bacteria can survive for several weeks on surfaces, so keeping countertops clean is important. Other simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of E. coli infection include:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after eating and after going to the bathroom
  • Sanitize all fruits and vegetables before eating by skinning them if possible and washing them before eating
  • Check with your local department of health to find out which restaurants in your area have had recent problems with sanitation
  • Avoid allowing raw meats to come into contact with other foods while cooking
  • Do not allow children to share bath water with anyone who has diarrhea or symptoms of stomach flu
  • Wash hands thoroughly after any contact with farm animals
  • Wear disposable gloves when changing diapers of children with diarrhea
  • Make sure ground meat (such as hamburger patties) reaches an internal temperature of at least 160°F
  • Avoid drinking any non-chlorinated water

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR E. COLI

About-ecoli.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about E. coli bacteria and E. coli infection.

EcoliLitigation.com is a Website that provides information about lawsuits and litigation brought on behalf of victims of E. coli outbreaks nationwide.

E. coli Blog  provides up-to-date news related to E. coli outbreaks, research, and more.

Here are the states that are reporting.

Idaho:  Public health officials in Idaho are investigating an outbreak of E. coli infections that are linked to a national outbreak affecting at least 10 other states.

At this time, eight Idaho residents have become sick with E. coli infections. All eight people who have become ill report eating romaine lettuce in the 10 days prior to becoming ill. Three individuals were hospitalized, and two have developed kidney failure linked to the E. coli infection. All hospitalized individuals were adults between the ages of 20 and 55. No deaths have been linked to this outbreak.

Initial investigations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health officials in affected states indicate that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region, could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and causing illness. No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified yet.

The chopped romaine lettuce has been consumed at restaurants and at people’s homes. As the investigation continues, public health officials at the CDC and Idaho are advising against eating pre-chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region until further information is known.

Public health officials in the Idaho Division of Public Health and multiple Idaho public health districts are continuing to work with the Food and Drug Administration and CDC to investigate the cause of the illnesses. Pre-chopped romaine lettuce is sold in restaurants, delis, supermarkets, and specialty food stores throughout Idaho. Public health officials advise people who have pre-chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma or an unknown source to throw it out, even if they have previously consumed the romaine without becoming ill.

E. coli O157:H7 is a type of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps, vomiting and low-grade fever.
Most people recover from E. coli O157:H7 infection in five to seven days, but for some the infection can be severe and life-threatening, especially for very young children and the elderly. Anyone who has recently consumed pre-chopped romaine lettuce and has diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps should seek medical attention.

New Jersey: Chopped romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region is likely the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least seven New Jersey residents and a total of 35 people in 11 states.

At this time, the CDC said, no grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified.

Consumers who have bought romaine lettuce – including salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce – should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you don’t know if the lettuce is romaine, throw it away.  Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that the romaine lettuce did not come from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

“Individuals with this infection usually get better within about 5 to 7 days, however some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health. “Anyone experiencing symptoms of this illness should see a healthcare provider.”

The symptoms of E. coli infection vary. Some individuals may have mild to severe diarrhea, which may contain blood. Abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting may occur. Usually there is little or no fever present. We encourage people to contact their health care provider if they have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that they cannot keep liquids down and they pass very little urine.

In addition, about 5 to 10% of people who are diagnosed with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS develops about 7 days after symptoms first appear, when diarrhea is improving. Clues that someone is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Any who develop these symptoms should seek out medical care immediately.

Currently in New Jersey, DOH has confirmed a total of seven cases of E. Coli; 4 in Hunterdon County, and one each in Monmouth, Sussex and Somerset counties. As additional testing is completed, more cases may be added. DOH is continuing to work with our local health partners to identify, interview and obtain lab specimens from New Jersey residents who may have become ill from this contaminated food.

The CDC also advises that all restaurants and retailers ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce and refrain from selling or servicing any that was grown in Yuma, Arizona. The CDC and DOH will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

Illinois:  The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other state and local health departments, is investigating a multi-state cluster of E. coli infections linked to chopped romaine lettuce.

Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.  At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified.

One case linked to the outbreak has been identified in Illinois.  To date, 35 other cases have been reported in 11 states with 22 hospitalizations and no deaths. The Illinois resident reported consuming chopped romaine lettuce before illness onset, in central Illinois.

Consumers in Illinois who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.  Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.

People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli two-eight days after swallowing the germ.  Most people infected with E. colidevelop diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.  Most people recover within one week although some illnesses can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department. You can also write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick and talk to public health investigators if they have questions about your illness.

The following is a statement from Dr. Matthew Cartter, State Epidemiologist and Director of Infectious Diseases at the State Department of Public Health, on today’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it is actively investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7, which has sickened 17 individuals in seven states, including two in Connecticut.

“We are assisting the CDC in investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.  It is still early in the investigation and no specific source of the infection has been identified so far.

Most people infected with E. coli will develop diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting within 3-4 days of swallowing the germ.  People who develop symptoms of E. coli, should seek medical care, contact their local health department to report the illness, and try to track what foods were eaten and restaurants visited in the days prior to becoming ill.

In general, people can prevent contracting E. coli by washing hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food and after contact with animals; cooking meats to proper temperatures; thoroughly washing all surfaces that touch raw meat; washing fruits and vegetables before eating; avoiding unpasteurized dairy products; and avoiding preparing food or drinks for others when you are sick.”

Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana is voluntarily recalling 206,749,248 eggs because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Braenderup, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals infected with Salmonella Braenderup can experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella Braenderup can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The eggs were distributed from the farm in Hyde County, North Carolina and reached consumers in the following states: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia through retail stores and restaurants via direct delivery.

22 illnesses have been reported to date.

The affected eggs, from plant number P-1065 with the Julian date range of 011 through date of 102 printed on either the side portion or the principal side of the carton or package, as follows:

Lot Codes 011 – 102

Item Description Carton UPC
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A LARGE X 30 DOZEN 077236000302
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A LARGE X15 DOZEN 077236000302
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A JUMBO X24 DOZEN 077236000500
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A MEDIUM X30 DOZEN 077236000203
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A XLARGE X30 DOZEN 077236000401
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A JUMBO X12 DOZEN 077236000500
FOOD LION A JUMBO X 12 DOZEN 035826089618
FOOD LION A MEDIUM X15 DOZEN 035826089649
FOOD LION A XLARGE X 15 DOZEN 035826089625
FOOD LION A 18PK LARGE X15 DOZEN 035826089601
FOOD LION A LARGE X15 DOZEN 035826089588
FOOD LION A 6PK LARGE X 15 DOZEN 035826089632
LOOSE A USDA SMALL X 30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE A USDA MEDIUM X 30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE A XLARGE X15 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE A XLARGE X30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE A MEDIUM X 15 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE A MEDIUM X30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA XLARGE X30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA XLARGE X15 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA LARGE X30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA LARGE X15 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA MEDIUM X30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE AA XLARGE X30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA LARGE PFG X 30 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA AA LARGE PFG X 15 DOZEN N/A
LOOSE USDA A XLARGE X30 DOZEN N/A
NELMS A JUMBO X24 634181000018
WAFFLE HOUSE LOOSE USDA A LARGE X 30 DOZEN N/A
CRYSTAL FARMS A MEDIUM X30 077236000203
CRYSTAL FARMS A 18PK MEDIUM X 30 077236000258
CRYSTAL FARMS A 2.5 DOZ MEDIUM X 25 077236000124
COUNTRY DAYBREAK A XLARGE X15 DOZEN 077236000401
COUNTRY DAYBREAK USDA GRADE A XLARGE X 240 DOZEN PULP 077236700400
COUNTRY DAYBREAK USDA GRADE A LARGE RACK X 240 DOZEN PULP 077236700301
COBURN FARMS A MEDIUM MP X 30 DOZEN 051933182608
COBURN FARMS A LARGE X 30 DOZEN 051933190801
COBURN FARMS A 18PK LARGE X 30 DOZEN 051933182509
SUNSHINE FARMS A JUMBO X 12 DOZEN 804879457336
GLENVIEW USDA AA LOOSE LARGE (6-2.5 FLATS) X 15 DOZEN N/A
GLENVIEW USDA AA LOOSE LARGE (12-2.5 FLATS) X 30 DOZEN N/A
GLENVIEW USDA AA LOOSE MEDIUM (6-2.5 FLATS) X 15 DOZEN N/A
GLENVIEW USDA AA LOOSE XLARGE (6-2.5 FLATS) X 15 DOZEN N/A
GLENVIEW USDA AA LOOSE MEDIUM (12-2.5 FLATS) X 30 DOZEN N/A
GLENVIEW USDA AA LOOSE XLARGE (12-2.5 FLATS) X 30 DOZEN N/A
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 18PK XLARGE X 24 DOZEN RPC 078742127132
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 12PK XLARGE X 24 DOZEN RPC 078742127128
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA TWIN 18PK LARGE X 24 DOZEN RPC 078742127101
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 6PK LARGE X 15 DOZEN 078742127095
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 12PK MEDIUM X 15 DOZEN 078742127224
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 12PK LARGE X 24 DOZEN RPC 078742127071
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 18PK LARGE X 24 DOZEN RPC 078742127088
GREAT VALUE GRADE A 12PK JUMBO X 22 DOZEN RPC 078742127149
GREAT VALUE GRADE A USDA 5DZ LARGE X 5 DOZEN 078742127118

The voluntary recall was a result of some illnesses reported on the U.S. East Coast, which led to extensive interviews and eventually a thorough FDA inspection of the Hyde County farm, which produces 2.3 million eggs a day. The facility includes 3 million laying hens with a USDA inspector on-site daily.

Seacrest Foods International, Inc. of Lynn, MA is voluntarily recalling 29 cases of Formagere de la Brie brand, l’Explorateur soft ripened cheese because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and fetal infection among pregnant women.

The Formagere de la Brie brand, l’Explorateur, soft ripened cheese made from pasteurized milk, was distributed at retail stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey and New Hampshire beginning on 02/06/2018 through 03/31/18. The l’Explorateur product comes in a 250g (8.8 oz), clear plastic package marked with lot # H010 or H011 on the bottom, with UPC: 3 390010 004080.

No illnesses have been confirmed by public health authorities to date.

The cheese was manufactured by Fromagere de la Brie of St. Simeon, France. Seacrest Foods was one of several importers notified by their French Consolidator of a potentially positive test result for Listeria monocytogenes. Seacrest Foods is taking these steps because of our dedication to providing quality foods, and that must start with ensuring the safety of all the food we import and distribute. This recall is being undertaken with the knowledge of the FDA.

Sources, Characteristics, and Identification

Listeria is the common name for the pathogenic or disease-causing bacterium known as Listeria monocytogenes. It is a foodborne bacterium that, when ingested, causes an infection known as listeriosis.[1] Approximately 2,500 illnesses and 500 deaths are attributed to listeriosis in the United States annually.[2]

Listeria is ubiquitous in the environment, and can be isolated from wild and domestic animals, birds, insects, soil, wastewater, and vegetation. The bacterium easily comes into contact with farm animals, as it has been found to be present in grazing areas, stale water, and poorly prepared animal feed. In addition to being present in the environment, Listeria can live in the intestines of humans, animals, and birds for long periods of time without causing infection. Because Listeria is present in nearly every environment numerous opportunities for contamination exist during the food production process.[3]

Listeria monocytogenes Bacteria

Listeria prevention—particularly in food processing facilities—is a necessary and obvious concern. The food-processing environment is vulnerable to L. monocytogenes entry from a number of sources, including infected employees and contaminated raw materials. This vulnerability persists despite adherence to current good manufacturing practices (GMPs), sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) process controls.[4] Control is complicated by the bacterium’s ability to survive and grow under conditions not generally tolerated by similar organisms. To this end, food-processing facilities must be designed properly and must follow sanitary procedures designed to prevent Listeria contamination; the failure to do so is careless in the face of such a pervasive threat to food safety.

Since 1985, FDA has maintained a “zero tolerance” policy for L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, which are foods that may be consumed without further preparation by the consumer. FDA considers RTE foods to be adulterated under section 402(a) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act if any L. monocytogenes is detected in either of two 25-gram samples. Since 1989, FSIS has maintained a similar “zero-tolerance” policy for RTE meat or poultry products. Meat or poultry products in RTE form in which any L. monocytogenes is detected are deemed adulterated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 601(m) and 453(g), respectively. The regulatory status of non-RTE products that contain L. monocytogenes is determined on a case-by-case basis, but such products may be subject to “zero tolerance” as well.

Healthcare providers frequently overlook Listeria as a possible cause of illness because of its unusual growth capabilities. First, laboratories sometimes have a difficult time growing Listeria. When it is grown, Listeria can be confused with other less harmful contaminants and disregarded. Second, while most bacteria grow poorly when temperatures fall below 40°F, Listeria survives at temperatures from below freezing to body temperature and grows best at the 0°F to 50°F range, which includes the temperature range used for freezing and refrigeration.

As a result of Listeria’s unusual growth capabilities, the pathogen may be transferred in common ready-to-eat foods that have been kept properly refrigerated. Thus, Listeria presents many challenges because of its ability to grow in diverse environments. These host factors, along with the number of bacteria ingested and the virulence of the strain, determine the risk of disease.

Who is most susceptible to Listeria monocytogenes infection?

Several segments of the population, including pregnant women, persons with compromised immune systems, and the elderly are particularly at risk for listeriosis. The body’s defense against Listeria and other intracellular pathogens is called “cell-mediated immunity” because it depends on the body’s cells (as opposed to antibodies), especially lymphocytes called “T-cells.” Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals whose cell-mediated immunity is suppressed are more susceptible to the devastating effects of listeriosis.

Pregnant women naturally have a suppressed cell-mediated immune system; many thinks that this suppression occurs so that the mother’s immune system will not reject the fetus. In addition, the immune systems of fetuses and newborns are very immature and thus are extremely susceptible to intracellular pathogens. Other adults, especially transplant recipients[5] and lymphoma patients, are given necessary therapies with the specific intent of depressing immune T-cells, and, as a result, these individuals become especially susceptible to Listeria as well. In sum, the kinds of individuals at increased risk for listeriosis include:

  • Pregnant women: They are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. About one-third of listeriosis cases happen during pregnancy.
  • Newborns: Newborns rather than the pregnant women themselves suffer the serious effects of infection in pregnancy.
  • Persons with weakened immune systems.
  • Persons with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease.
  • Persons with AIDS: They are almost 300 times more likely to get listeriosis than people with normal immune systems.
  • Persons who take glucocorticosteroid medications (such as cortisone).
  • The elderly.

Symptoms of Listeriosis

It is believed that the ingestion of fewer than one thousand Listeria bacteria can cause human illness. The incubation period—i.e., the time between ingestion of bacteria and the onset of symptoms—for Listeria infection ranges from three to 70 days, and averages 21 days.[6]

A person with listeriosis usually experiences fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. Five days to three weeks after ingestion, Listeria bacteria can invade all body areas, including the central nervous system, heart, and eyes.[7] If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, loss of balance, confusion, reduced alertness (obtundation), and convulsions can occur. With brain involvement, listeriosis sometimes mimics a stroke.

Listeria remains an important threat to public health, especially among those most susceptible to this disease. With an increasing immune-compromised population, the risk multiplies. The fact that Listeria is a disease easily transmitted from mother to fetus through the placenta is worrisome to an expectant mother, especially since pregnant women themselves rarely show outward signs of the devastating infection. Even with prompt treatment, some infections result in death. This is particularly likely in the elderly and in persons with other serious medical problems.

Additional Resources

About-Listeria.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about Listeria bacteria and listeriosis.

Listeria Blog provides up-to-date news related to Listeria outbreaks, research, and more.

Listeria Information Video YouTube video outlining what you need to know during a Listeria outbreak.

Listeria Food Safety Guide downloadable Listeria food safety guide.

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[1]           Cossart P, Bierne H. (2001). The use of host cell machinery in the pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes. Curr Opin Immunol (England). 13(1):96-103.

[2]           CDC. (2005). Listeriosis Technical Information. Retrieved on March 19, 2009 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Website:  http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/listeriosis_gi.html.

[3]           Cossart P, Bierne H. (2001). The use of host cell machinery in the pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes. Curr Opin Immunol (England). 13(1):96-103.

[4]           Tompkin, R.B. 2002. Control of Listeria monocytogenes in the food-processing environment. J. Food Prot. 65:709-725.

[5]           Schuchat A, Deaver KA, Wenger JD, Plikaytis BD, Mascola L, Pinner RW, Reingold AL, Broome CV. (1992). Role of foods in sporadic listeriosis. I. Case-control study of dietary risk factors. JAMA. 267(15):2041-5.

[6]           Bryan, FL. (1999). Procedures to Investigate Foodborne Illness Fifth Edition (pp. 119). Des Moines, IA:  International Association for Food Protection.

[7]           FDA/CFSAN. (2003).  Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and natural Toxins Handbook: The ‘Bad Bug Book.’ College Park, MD:  Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved on January 11, 2008 from FDA/CFSAN. Website:  http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap6.html.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, deli meats, cheese, celery and milk.

If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Oregon Food Bank is voluntarily recalling 1,219 pounds of nutritional yeast, which was donated to the food bank. No illness has been reported but it was donated at the same time as two other recalled products — chia and pumpkin seeds.

The nutritional yeast was distributed in Oregon and Clark County, Washington through the Oregon Food Bank Network of regional food banks and participating food pantries. The product was distributed in one pound plastic poly film bags with a twist-type closure or a re-sealable pouch. All nutritional yeast was distributed between November 1, 2017 and March 16, 2018. See attached product label for ease of identification.

Individuals should dispose of the product immediately.

Inspectors have found Listeria monocytogenes in raw milk from a Pennsylvania dairy, prompting Pennsylvania officials to urge consumers to immediately discard any of the unpasteurized milk bought recently.

Routine state testing revealed the bacterial contamination in raw milk from Fertile Valley Farm of Honesdale, PA. The Wayne County dairy posted a notice about the contamination on social media, according to the March 2 public warning from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The dairy operators sold the implicated unpasteurized milk directly from their farm between Feb. 21 and March 1. Fertile Valley Farm raw milk purchased between those dates should immediately be thrown away. Any containers or storage areas, such as refrigerators, should be throughly washed and sanitized.

“Milk was sold directly from the farm in plastic gallon, half gallon, and quart containers with the Fertile Valley Farm label. The farm has discarded all remaining milk,” the state agriculture department reported.

“No reported illnesses have been attributed to the product, but anyone who consumed the milk and become ill should consult their physician.”

Anyone who drank the milk — or served it to children or others — should monitor themselves for listeriosis symptoms for 70 days after consuming the unpasteurized milk. They should also urge those they served the milk to watch for symptoms.

“Listeriosis symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea,” according to the agriculture department notice. “The illness mainly affects pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and adults with impaired immune systems. It can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection or stillbirth, if a pregnant woman became infected.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a standing warning about the dangers of contracting infections, viruses and parasites from raw milk. In addition to those listed by the Pennsylvania officials, the CDC reports its data shows that children younger than 5 are a high-risk group because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Listeria is a bacterium that causes a serious infection called listeriosis. Around 300 deaths are caused by Listeria infection each year, according to estimates from a 2011 CDC report.

Listeria bacteria are most commonly found in raw foods. Vegetables can be contaminated by soil and water carrying bacteria. Listeria is also found in raw animal products, such as meat and cheese.

Babies can be born with Listeria if the mother eats contaminated food during pregnancy. The death rate among newborns with Listeria is 25 to 50 percent.

WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GET SERIOUSLY ILL FROM LISTERIA BACTERIA?

Healthy adults and children hardly ever become seriously ill from Listeria. However, people at increased risk of illness from Listeria bacteria include:

  • Pregnant women – Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the average healthy adult
  • Newborns
  • People with weak immune systems
  • People with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease
  • People with AIDS – People with AIDS are 300 times more likely to get sick fromListeriathan people with normal immune systems
  • People who take gluticocorticosteroids such as cortisone
  • Elderly people
SYMPTOMS OF LISTERIA

Listeria symptoms appear anywhere between 3 and 70 days after infection, but usually around 21 days later. Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or diarrhea (less common)

If infection spreads to the central nervous system, symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Convulsions
Symptoms for those with Weakened Immune Systems

If a patient has a weak immune system, Listeria bacteria can invade the central nervous system and cause meningitis or a brain infection.

Symptoms for Pregnant Women and Newborns

Infected pregnant woman experience mild, flu-like symptoms. However, infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, infection of the newborn, or stillbirth. Symptoms usually appear in newborns in the first week of life, but can also occur later on. A newborn’s Listeria symptoms are often subtle, and include irritability, fever, and poor feeding.

Diagnosis of Listeria

Doctors can determine whether patients have listeriosis by taking a blood or spinal fluid sample.

Treatment of Listeria

Patients who present with symptoms of listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.

Pregnant Women

If a pregnant woman takes antibiotics promptly after contracting Listeria, she can usually prevent the spread of the Listeria bacteria to her child. Babies who have listeriosis usually take the same antibiotics as adults.

HOW TO PREVENT LISTERIA
People with Normal Immune Systems
  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry
  • Wash raw vegetables before eating them
  • Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and cooked foods
  • Avoid products made with unpasteurized milk
  • Wash hands and cooking utensils after handling uncooked foods
  • Consume perishable and read-to-eat foods as soon as possible
People at High Risk (Pregnant women and people with weak immune systems)
  • Do not eat hot dogs or lunch meats unless they are heated to a temperature sufficient to kill Listeria bacteria
  • Avoid getting liquid from hot dog packages on other food
  • Wash hands after handling hot dogs and lunch and deli meats
  • Do not eat soft cheeses (e.g. feta, Brie, Camembert, blue cheese, and queso blanco) unless the label clearly states that they are pasteurized
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spread, only canned or shelf-stable ones
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, sometimes labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” or “jerky.” Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood is ok
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR LISTERIA

About-Listeria.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about Listeriabacteria and listeriosis.

Listeria Blog provides up-to-date news related to Listeria outbreaks, research, and more.

Outside References

Mayo Clinic. (2010). Listeria infection. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/listeria-infection/DS00963.

Incubation Period

Although incubation periods—the time between ingestion of a foodborne pathogen and the onset of symptoms—are only ranges, and wide ones at that, they can still be used to identify a suspect food poisoning claim.  For example, the claimant who insists that an E. coli O157:H7 illness was sparked by the hamburger eaten an hour before the onset of illness does not have a viable case. The incubation period of E. coli O157:H7 is one to ten days, typically two to five days.

Incubation Periods of Common Foodborne Pathogens

PATHOGEN INCUBATION PERIOD
Staphylococcus aureus 1 to 8 hours, typically 2 to 4 hours.
Campylobacter 2 to 7 days, typically 3 to 5 days.
E. coli O157:H7 1 to 10 days, typically 2 to 5 days.
Salmonella 6 to 72 hours, typically 18-36 hours.
Shigella 12 hours to 7 days, typically 1-3 days.
Hepatitis A 15 to 50 days, typically 25-30 days.
Listeria 3 to 70 days, typically 21 days.
Norovirus 24 to 72 hours, typically 36 hours.

So, if you suffer from a foodborne illness, it is not usually the last meal you ate.  Also, a stool culture for the above – except Listeria and Hepatitis A – which need blood tests – is the best way to definitively determine what “bug” has made you ill.

If you test positive in either stool or blood for one of the above bacteria or viruses, the doctor, lab or hospital is required to alert the local and state health departments, and they are obligated to interview you about the possible source of your illness.