Food Poisoning Information

The hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have many years of experience working with clients on Hepatitis A outbreak lawsuits.

Hepatitis A is one of five human hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E) that primarily infect the liver and cause illness. It is a communicable (or contagious) disease that spreads from person-to-person through fecal-oral contact, often from an infected food handler contaminating food. The cases the Marler Clark hepatitis A lawyers have been involved in have generally resulted from contaminated food or water.

An estimated 80,000 hepatitis A cases and an estimated 100 deaths due to acute liver failure brought on by hepatitis A occur each year in the U.S. The rate of infection has dramatically decreased since the hepatitis A vaccine was licensed and became available in 1995. Despite the decrease in hepatitis A cases nationally, Marler Clark has represented clients young and old who have become ill with hepatitis A after eating contaminated food or who were exposed to the virus and had to receive an injection to prevent illness.

The Marler Clark hepatitis A lawyers have unmatched experience representing victims of Hepatitis A. Our Hepatitis A lawyers have represented victims of notable hepatitis A outbreaks such as the 2003 Chi Chi’s hepatitis A outbreak, the 2005 California lettuce hepatitis A outbreak, and the 2010 Quad-Cities McDonald’s hepatitis A outbreak. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

In total, four customers and one employee contracted the disease. The Health Department is pushing patrons who visited bartaco between Oct. 13 and 23 to receive preventative treatment while they still can. The Port Chester school district also sent an email Thursday alerting people about the Health Department’s recommendation.

The Westchester County Department of Health is recommending that individuals who ate or drank at bartaco, a restaurant in Port Chester, between October 12th and October 23rd receive preventive treatment against Hepatitis A, a viral illness that affects the liver. The health department learned today that an employee with the illness worked at the restaurant while infectious.

Preventive treatment is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. Therefore, those who dined on October 12th need to receive preventive treatment by tomorrow, October 26th. Those who dined on October 13th through October 23rd need to receive preventive treatment within two weeks of their exposure.

The health department will offer free preventive treatment at the County Center in White Plains for people who ate or drank at bartaco in Port Chester during this time period. Anyone with a prior history of Hepatitis A vaccination or Hepatitis A infection does not need to be treated. The health department will offer preventive treatment on the following dates and times:

• Thursday, October 26 from 4:00 – 7:45 p.m.
• Friday, October 27 from 12:00 – 4:45 p.m.
• Saturday, October 28 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Anyone under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to provide consent.

Advance registration for the county preventive clinic is highly recommended. To register, go to www.health.ny.gov/gotoclinic/60. If you do not have internet access or need more information, call 211 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Restaurant patrons with exposure can also be treated by their own health care provider.

The Westchester County Department of Health is also informing people who ate or drank at bartaco in Port Chester between August 22nd and October 11th those they may also have been exposed to Hepatitis A. While these individuals are outside the window to receive preventive treatment, they should contact their health care provider immediately if they experience symptoms so that anyone they may have exposed can receive preventive treatment. Upon learning of the first cases, the Health Department immediately launched an investigation into the source of the infection.

“Hepatitis A is generally a mild illness whose symptoms include fatigue, fever, poor appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dark urine, light colored stool and jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes” said Dr. Sherlita Amler, Commissioner of Health. “There are no special medications used to treat a person once symptoms appear, but Hepatitis A transmission to others can be prevented through proper handwashing.”

Not everyone infected with Hepatitis A will have all of its symptoms. Symptoms commonly appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15 to 50 days. Preventive treatment is only effective within two weeks of exposure to the virus, but symptoms typically do not appear until a person has had the virus for a few weeks. The illness is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

With Salmonella in Jambalaya striking a baseball fundraiser in Columbia, Louisiana with nearly 100 sickened and  Salmonella Sickening 150 from the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook-Off in Virginia, it is a good time to get a “Salmonella refresher.”

Salmonella

Salmonella is the second most common intestinal infection in the United States. More than 7,000 cases of Salmonella were confirmed in 2009; however, the majority of cases go unreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 1 million people in the U.S. contract Salmonella each year, and that an average of 20,000 hospitalizations and almost 400 deaths occur from Salmonella poisoning.

Salmonella infection usually occurs when a person eats food contaminated with the feces of animals or humans carrying the bacteria.  Salmonella outbreaks are commonly associated with eggs, meat and poultry, but these bacteria can also contaminate other foods such as fruits and vegetables. Foods that are most likely to contain Salmonella include raw or undercooked eggs, raw milk, contaminated water, and raw or undercooked meats.

Symptoms and Complications of Salmonella Infection

Symptoms of Salmonella infection, or Salmonellosis, range widely, and are sometimes absent altogether. The most common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Typical Symptoms of Salmonella infection: Appear 6 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and last for 3 to 7 days without treatment.

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Fever of 100 F to 102 F
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Body Aches

Complications of Salmonella poisoning are more likely to occur among young children and people age 65 or older. Possible complications include:

  • Reactive Arthritis: Reactive arthritis is thought to occur in 2 to 15 percent of Salmonella patients. Symptoms include inflammation of the joints, eyes, or reproductive or urinary organs. On average, symptoms appear 18 days after infection.
  • Focal Infection: A focal infection occurs when Salmonella bacteria takes root in body tissue and causes illnesses such as arthritis or endocartitis. It is caused by typhoidal Salmonella only.

Salmonella Treatment

Salmonella infections generally last 3 to 7 days, and often do not require treatment. People with severe dehydration may need rehydration through an IV.

Antibiotics are recommended for those at risk of invasive disease, including infants under three months old. Typhoid fever is treated with a 14-day course of antibiotics.

Unfortunately, treatment of Salmonella has become more difficult as it has become more resistant to antibiotics. Finding the right antibiotic for a case of Salmonella is crucial to treating this bacterial infection.

Prevention of Salmonella Infection

These safety measures can help prevent Salmonella poisoning:

  • Wash your hands before preparing food and after handling raw meats
  • Cook meat and eggs thoroughly until they reach an internal temperature of 160 F (71 C)
  • Do not eat foods containing raw eggs or milk, such as undercooked French toast
  • Avoid cooking raw meat in the microwave, as it may not reach a high enough internal temperature to kill Salmonella bacteria and may be unevenly cooked
  • Avoid bringing uncooked meat into contact with food that will not be cooked (i.e. salad)
  • Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles or animal feces
  • Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom

Additional Resources on Salmonella

www.About-Salmonella.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about Salmonella bacteria and Salmonellosis.

www.SalmonellaLitigation.com is a Website that provides information about lawsuits and litigation brought on behalf of victims of Salmonella outbreaks nationwide.  The site provides extensive information about sources of Salmonella outbreaks.

www.SalmonellaBlog.com provides up-to-date news related to Salmonella outbreaks, research, and more.

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.

Public health officials and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are continuing to see an elevated number of hepatitis A cases in the City of Detroit, and counties of Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Wayne, and St Clair.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2016, public health response has included increased healthcare awareness efforts, public notification and education, and outreach with vaccination clinics for high-risk populations.No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection. Transmission appears to be through direct person-to-person spread and illicit drug use. Those with history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, and incarceration are thought to be at greater risk in this outbreak setting. Notably, this outbreak has had a high hospitalization rate.

Southeast Michigan Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases and Deaths as of October 12, 2017

Cases Hospitalizations Deaths
397 320 (85.6%) 15 (4.0%)

An Introduction to Norovirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that noroviruses cause nearly 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis annually, making noroviruses the leading cause of gastroenteritis in adults in the United States. [1] According to a relatively recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The Norwalk agent was the first virus that was identified as causing gastroenteritis in humans, but recognition of its importance as a pathogen has been limited because of the lack of available, sensitive, and routine diagnostic methods. Recent advances in understanding the molecular biology of the noroviruses, coupled with applications of novel diagnostic techniques, have radically altered our appreciation of their impact. Noroviruses are now recognized as being the leading cause of epidemics of gastroenteritis and an important cause of sporadic gastroenteritis in both children and adults.

Of the viruses, only the common cold is reported more often than a norovirus infection—also referred to as viral gastroenteritis. [2]

Nature has created an ingenious bug in norovirus. [3] The round blue ball structure of norovirus is actually a protein surrounding the virus’s genetic material. [4]  The virus attaches to the outside of cells lining the intestine, and then transfers its genetic material into those cells.  Once the genetic material has been transferred, norovirus reproduces, finally killing the human cells and releasing new copies of itself that attach to more cells of the intestine’s lining. [5]

Norovirus (previously called “Norwalk-like virus” or NLV) is a member of the family Caliciviridae. The name derives from the Latin for chalice—calyx—meaning cup-like, and refers to the indentations of the virus surface. [6] The family of Caliciviridae consists of several distinct groups of viruses that were first named after the places where outbreaks occurred.  The first of these outbreaks occurred in 1968 among schoolchildren in Norwalk, Ohio.  The prototype strain was identified four years later, in 1972, and was the first virus identified that specifically caused gastroenteritis in humans.  Other discoveries followed, with each strain name based on the location of its discovery—e.g., Montgomery County, Snow Mountain, Mexico, Hawaii, Parmatta, Taunton, and Toronto viruses.  A study published in 1977 found that the Toronto virus was the second most common cause of gastroenteritis in children.  Eventually this confusing nomenclature was resolved, first in favor of calling each of the strains a Norwalk-like virus, and then simply, a norovirus – the term used today.

Humans are the only host of norovirus, and norovirus has several mechanisms that allow it to spread quickly and easily.  Norovirus infects humans in a pathway similar to the influenza virus’ mode of infection. In addition to their similar infective pathways, norovirus and influenza also evolve to avoid the immune system in a similar way.  Both viruses are driven by heavy immune selection pressure and antigenic drift, allowing evasion of the immune system, which results in outbreaks.  Norovirus is able to survive a wide range of temperatures and in many different environments.  Moreover, the viruses can spread quickly, especially in places where people are in close proximity, such as cruise ships and airline flights, even those of short duration. [7] As noted by the CDC in its Final Trip Report:

Noroviruses can cause extended outbreaks because of their high infectivity, persistence in the environment, resistance to common disinfectants, and difficulty in controlling their transmission through routine sanitary measures.

Norovirus outbreaks can result from the evolution of one strain due to the pressure of population immunity. [8] Typically, norovirus outbreaks are dominated by one strain, but can also involve more than one strain. [9] For example, some outbreaks associated with shellfish have been found to contain up to seven different norovirus strains. [10] Swedish outbreak studies also reveal a high degree of genetic variability, indicating a need for wide detection methods when studying these outbreaks. [11]

By way of further example, in 2006, there was a large increase in the number of norovirus cases on cruise ships. Norovirus cases were increasing throughout Europe and the Pacific at the same time. [12] One issue with cruise ships is the close contact between people as living quarters are so close, and despite education efforts, there still seems to be a lack of public understanding regarding how the illness is spread. [13] On the other hand, reporting occurs much more quickly in these situations because of the close proximity and concentration of illness, allowing for the quicker detection of outbreaks. [14] Cruise ship outbreaks often occur when new strains of norovirus are appearing, providing a good indicator system for new norovirus strains.   In this case, two new variants appeared within the global epidemic genotype, suggesting a strong pressure for evolution against the human immune system. [15] This points to the need for an international system of guidelines in tracing norovirus outbreaks.

Most norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food occur in food service settings, according to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infected food workers are frequently the source of these outbreaks, often by touching ready-to-eat foods served in restaurants with their bare hands. The food service industry can help prevent norovirus outbreaks by enforcing food safety practices, such as making sure workers always practice good hand hygiene on the job and stay home when they are sick.

Norovirus often gets a lot of attention for outbreaks on cruise ships, but those account for only about 1 percent of all reported norovirus outbreaks. Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread anywhere people gather or food is served, making people sick with vomiting and diarrhea. [16]“Norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food in restaurants are far too common.” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “All who prepare food, especially the food service industry, can do more to create a work environment that promotes food safety and ensures that workers adhere to food safety laws and regulations that are already in place.” [17]

How is Norovirus Transmitted?

Norovirus causes nearly 60% of all foodborne illness outbreaks.  Norovirus is transmitted primarily through the fecal-oral route, with fewer than 100 norovirus particles needed to cause infection. [18] Transmission occurs either person-to-person or through contamination of food or water.[19]  CDC statistics show that food is the most common vehicle of transmission for noroviruses; of 232 outbreaks of norovirus between July 1997 and June 2000, 57% were foodborne, 16% were spread from person-to-person, and 3% were waterborne. [20] When food is the vehicle of transmission, contamination occurs most often through a food handler improperly handling a food directly before it is eaten. [21]

Infected individuals shed the virus in large numbers in their vomit and stool, shedding the highest amount of viral particles while they are ill.   Aerosolized vomit has also been implicated as a mode of norovirus transmission. [22] Previously, it was thought that viral shedding ceased approximately 100 hours after infection; however, some individuals continue to shed norovirus long after they have recovered from it, in some cases up to 28 days after experiencing symptoms. [23] Viral shedding can also precede symptoms, which occurs in approximately 30% of cases.  Often, an infected food handler may not even show symptoms.  In these cases, people can carry the same viral load as those who do experience symptoms. [24]

A Japanese study examined the ability of asymptomatic food handlers to transfer norovirus. Approximately 12% of asymptomatic food handlers were carriers for one of the norovirus genotypes.  This was the first report of norovirus molecular epidemiology relating asymptomatic individuals to outbreaks, suggesting that asymptomatic individuals are an important link in the infectivity pathway.  Asymptomatic infection may occur because some people may have acquired immunity, which explains why some show symptoms upon infection and some do not.  Such immunity does not last long, though.  These discoveries reveal just how complicated the pathway of norovirus infection is, as well as how difficult it is to define the true period of infectivity.  Furthermore, it remains unclear why some people do not become sick with norovirus even when they are exposed.  Very little is known about the differences in hygiene practices, behaviors, and personal susceptibility between those who become infected and those who do not, which brings up the potential for more research. [25] Discrepancies exist in the published research about infective doses for norovirus, with earlier studies having used a much higher dose to trigger immune responses.

Symptoms & Risks of a Norovirus Infection

Norovirus illness usually develops 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of contaminated food or water. Symptoms typically last a relatively short amount of time, approximately 24 to 48 hours. [26] These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.  Headache and low-grade fever may also accompany this illness.   People infected with norovirus usually recover in two to three days without serious or long-term health effects.

Although symptoms usually only last one to two days in healthy individuals, norovirus infection can become quite serious in children, the elderly, and immune-compromised individuals. [27] In some cases, severe dehydration, malnutrition, and even death can result from norovirus infection, especially among children and among older and immune-compromised adults in hospitals and nursing homes. [28] In England and Wales, 20% of those over the age of 65 die due to infectious intestinal illness other than Clostridium difficile.  Recently, there have been reports of some long-term effects associated with norovirus, including necrotizing entercolitis, chronic diarrhea, and post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome, but more data is needed to support these claims. [29]

Diagnosing a Norovirus Infection

Diagnosis of norovirus illness is based on the combination of symptoms, particularly the prominence of vomiting, little fever, and the short duration of illness. [30] If a known norovirus outbreak is in progress, public health officials may obtain specimens from ill individuals for testing in a lab.  These lab tests consist of identifying norovirus under an electron microscope. A reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR assay) also can detect norovirus in food, water, stool samples, and on surfaces. These tests isolate and replicate the suspected virus’ genetic material for analysis. [31] An ELISA can also be performed, which detects antigens. They are easier to perform than RT-PCR, but less sensitive and can also result in many false negatives. [32]

Treating a Norovirus Infection

There is no specific treatment available for norovirus.  In most healthy people, the illness is self-limiting and resolves in a few days; however, outbreaks among infants, children, elderly, and immune-compromised populations may result in severe complications among those affected.  [33] Death may result without prompt measures.  The replacement of fluids and minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium – otherwise known as electrolytes – lost due to persistent diarrhea is vital. This can be done either by drinking large amounts of liquids, or intravenously.

Recent research has looked into the potential for developing a norovirus vaccine. Researchers indicate that coming up with a norovirus vaccine would be similar to vaccinating for influenza, by using screening in order to select for the most prevalent strains. This is a quite challenging process.  Other challenges include the fact that cell culture and small-animal models are limited, host pre-exposure histories are complicated, and there is always the potential for the evolution of novel immune escape variants, rendering the vaccine useless. [34] Furthermore, scientists would likely face a lack of funding to develop a vaccine because vaccine development is expensive. [35]

Preventing Norovirus Infection

Common settings for norovirus outbreaks include restaurants and events with catered meals (36%), nursing homes (23%), schools (13%), and vacation settings or cruise ships (10%).  Proper hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of norovirus.

The good news about norovirus is that it does not multiply in foods as many bacteria do. [36] In addition, thorough cooking destroys this virus.   To avoid norovirus, make sure the food you eat is cooked completely.  While traveling in in areas that have polluted water sources, raw vegetables should be washed thoroughly before being served, and travelers should drink only boiled drinks or carbonated bottled beverages without ice.

Shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) pose the greatest risk and any particular serving may be contaminated with norovirus; there is no way to detect a contaminated oyster, clam, or mussel from a safe one.  Shellfish become contaminated when their waters become contaminated—e.g., when raw sewage is dumped overboard by recreational or commercial boaters).   Shellfish are filter feeders and will concentrate virus particles present in their environment. With shellfish, only complete cooking offers reliable protection; steaming does not kill the virus or prevent its transmission. [37] Some researchers suggest that norovirus monitoring in shellfish areas could be a good preventive strategy as well.  Waterborne norovirus outbreaks are ubiquitous, but difficult to recognize. Improved analysis of environmental samples would have the potential to significantly improve the detection for norovirus in shellfish waters. [38]

Finally, and as briefly mentioned earlier, outbreaks of norovirus infections have become synonymous with cruise ships. [39] Healthcare facilities also experience a high incidence of norovirus outbreaks.  [40] The CDC has published information regarding the prevention of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships and in healthcare facilities on its website.  Once a case has occurred, even more stringent hygienic measures than normal are required in order to prevent an outbreak, particularly on an enclosed space such as a cruise ship.

Norovirus:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Norovirus outbreaks. The Norovirus lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Norovirus 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 Norovirus lawyers have litigated Norovirus cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a number of food products and restaurants.

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

The Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has detected four additional raw milk samples from Pride and Joy Dairy that tested positive for Salmonella.

The WSDA said this is the result of four samples taken October 2 from the dairy company out of Toppenish that all came back positive for Salmonella October 9.

The company was notified the day results came in, according to Hector Castro, Communications Director of WSDA.

This comes after the WSDA suspended Pride and Joy’s processing license following positive salmonella results during routine testing in a September batch.

Lab results confirmed the Salmonella strain recently found in Pride & Joy Dairy organic raw milk matches the strain that hospitalized two Washington residents in January. Health officials are urging consumers not to drink Pride & Joy Dairy organic raw milk in any container size or sell-by date.

Castro said the suspension means the company may not legally bottle and sell raw milk.

Pride and Joy Dairy has until Monday, October 16 to request an appeal to begin steps that would allow the company to regain their processing license.

Castro said the company would need to come forward with a plan in that time.

 

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in full cooperation with Marco’s Pizza of Anniston, has been investigating, notifying, and educating those who ate food from Marco’s Pizza in Anniston between the dates of September 26 through October 2. During this period, an ill employee worked and was later diagnosed with Hepatitis A (Hep A) infection. ADPH has recommended that individuals who ate food from Marco’s Pizza of Anniston during this period, and are not up to date on Hepatitis A vaccine, be vaccinated by Monday, October 16, 2017.

ADPH has contacted several pharmacies and private providers in Calhoun County to assist with vaccinating people against Hep A. Calhoun County Health Department has administered approximately 100 doses of Hep A vaccine this week to persons meeting these requirements. ADPH would like to thank Marco’s Pizza of Anniston, Calhoun County Health Department, and the local pharmacies and providers in Calhoun County who assisted with this event.

Based on the demand for the vaccine, the Calhoun County Health Department has acquired additional doses of Hep A vaccine and immune globulin (IG) to conduct a final clinic to ensure those who ate food from Marco’s Pizza of Anniston during the date range identified can get the recommended preventive vaccine. Please call Calhoun County Health Department immediately to schedule an appointment for Monday October 16, 2017 between 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.

If patrons and/or their friends or family members become ill in the next few weeks with symptoms that may include fever, feeling tired, decreased appetite, nausea and/or vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, dark urine, clay-colored stool, joint pain, and/or yellowing of skin or eyes, they should contact their healthcare provider.

Additionally, ADPH would like to acknowledge and commend the management at Marco’s Pizza of Anniston. They have remained cooperative and very concerned about workers and patrons.

Please call Calhoun County Health Department at (256) 237-7523 today to schedule an appointment if you ate food from Marco’s Pizza of Anniston between the dates of September 26 through October 2, and are not up to date on vaccination for Hepatitis A.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has become aware that recalled I.M Healthy Soy Nut Butter products are being offered for sale through online vendors and in storefront locations. All flavors of I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter spreads and granolas were recalled in March 2017 after the product was found to be the source of a multistateShiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak that sickened 32 people in 12 states.

Retailers cannot legally offer for sale and consumers should not purchase any flavors of I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter products, including spreads and granolas.

The FDA learned that some distributors are still selling the products in their possession and these products are being sold through online retailers and in storefront locations. As it learns of these products being offered for sale, the FDA notifies the retailer that these products cannot legally be sold. The agency is working swiftly to locate any remaining products to ensure they are no longer available to consumers.

The SoyNut Butter Company, distributor of I.M. Healthy products, has ceased to operate. On March 30, 2017, the FDA suspended the food facility registration of Dixie Dew, Inc., the manufacturer of the products, meaning that no food may leave the facility for sale or distribution.

The FDA will continue to monitor this situation closely and follow up with retailers as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale. Additionally, the public is urged to report any product being offered for sale to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region. More information about the recall can be found at FDA.gov.

For more information:

Noroviruses are the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and are estimated to cause 267 million infections and 20,000 deaths each year. This virus causes severe diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain.

Although often referred to as the “cruise ship” virus in the United States, noroviruses are an expensive and serious public health problem particularly among young children, the elderly, and immune-compromised patients. Now, in a new study published in Immunity this week, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have used a mouse model to show that, even in immunized animals, noroviruses can escape the immune system and still spread by hiding out in an extremely rare type of cell in the gut.

“Current vaccines against norovirus have been ineffective despite eliciting strong antibody responses,” said senior author E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and director of the Penn Institute for Immunology. “Understanding the unique norovirus characteristic of hiding from the host immune system may explain its biology and present opportunities to improve vaccines and therapeutics.”

While most infected people clear the virus within a few days, some individuals continue to shed virus for weeks to months after. Such persistently infected people may be a source of outbreaks, but it was unclear why the immune system fails to eliminate the virus in these cases.

“The cruise ship outbreaks of norovirus are high profile, but it happens everywhere – daycare centers, eldercare facilities, and more,” said first author Vesselin T. Tomov, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Gastroenterology. “Noroviruses can cause persistent infections, challenging the long-held view that they are transient pathogens.”

The Penn investigators defined and tracked T-cell responses in mice infected with either an acute or chronic strain of mouse norovirus to gain insight into mechanisms of viral clearance and persistence. At first, they hypothesized that persistent norovirus infection caused T cells to become exhausted rendering them non-functioning, similar to other chronic viral infections such as HIV or hepatitis C. To their surprise, however, T cells remained functional even after months of norovirus infection.

The team then looked at the earliest stages of response by the immune system and found two phases to that response. During the initial days after infection, T cells reacted strongly to the virus and controlled it. But, after about three days, T cells could no longer detect norovirus in 50 to 70 percent of the mice infected with the chronic strain.

The researchers faced a paradox because the T cells responding to the virus appeared “ignorant” or “unable to see” the virus, yet there was continuous shedding of norovirus in mouse feces. To explain this conundrum, they next hypothesized that actively multiplying norovirus had been sequestered somewhere in the gut out of reach of T cells.

Tomov conducted a series of experiments to test that hypothesis. He eventually found evidence that norovirus does hide in rare gut cells that fail to communicate with T cells and alert them of the presence of the pathogen. “We found a novel escape mechanism where norovirus becomes essentially invisible to the immune system in the intestine while still producing large amounts of virus that is shed from the intestines,” Tomov said.

Coauthors at Washington University have found that norovirus hides in specialized, ultra-rare cells of the gut lining, on the order of only a few hundred cells out of the billions that line the mouse gut. These cells act as mega factories for norovirus production, while allowing the virus to evade the immune system. The team is now working on this aspect of norovirus infection.

These findings might help explain why norovirus vaccines being tested have shown limited effectiveness and also hint that future vaccines would need to elicit immunity that acts very robustly in the first three days after infection before the virus moves into hiding. The results also dovetail with the fact that no one has yet found an animal reservoir for the virus. “There may be some people out there who are living with the chronic strain of the virus and are persistently, yet unknowingly, shedding it,” Tomov said.

Next, the researchers plan to investigate how to improve protection against this virus by combining T cell and antibody approaches for vaccines. Identifying the cellular reservoir of norovirus may also enable the development of therapeutics to help prevent or purge persisting infection. In addition, testing whether similar mechanisms occur in humans is a major goal that will not only enable better vaccine development, but also help test for a potential role of norovirus as a co-factor in other intestinal diseases.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK T32-DK007066, NIDDK P30DK050306, U01-AI-095608, U19 AI AI082630, P01 AI AI112521, K08-DK097301).

Seattle Attorney Bill Marler is often thought of as a bug…an agitator…an annoyance to the beef and poultry industries, and even the companies that grow leafy greens. He’s the guy you call if you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to E. coli, salmonella, listeria, or any other bacteria that somehow works its way into mass food production and into your stomach.

E. coli entered everyday lexicon when three people died and hundreds of others were sickened after eating Jack In The Box hamburgers back in 1993. One of the epicenters of the outbreak was here, in Washington State.

The E. coli victim who launched Bill Marler’s career was 9 year old Brianne Kiner of Redmond. She was one of the survivors. Marler got her a $15 million dollar settlement from Jack In The Box.

When Bill Marler graduated from law school, he was aiming for a career in politics. When he was 19 he was elected to Pullman’s city council in Eastern Washington. He wanted to be U.S. president by age 35. But as we hear in this interview, Brianne’s case and the Jack In The Box E. coli outbreak tossed this plan out the window.

Link to the Audio