Food Poisoning Information

Patrons who ate at Hardee’s restaurant on Little Rock Road in Charlotte between June 13 and 23 should receive a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible.

Director Gibbie Harris announced today that the outbreak identified by the State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this month in Mecklenburg County has led to five additional cases since June 6, including a Hardee’s employee diagnosed Monday.

“After consulting with the State today, we are recommending a vaccination for exposed employees and patrons who ate at the 2604 Little Rock Road location between June 13 and 23,” Harris said. “According to the CDC, the vaccine must be given within 14 days of exposure for the vaccine to be effective.”

People who dined at Hardees on Little Rock Road on June 13 and 14 are strongly urged to get a vaccination in the next two days.

Public Health announced June 6 that North Carolina Public Health officials and the CDC declared an outbreak of the liver disease in Mecklenburg County. Five additional cases of hepatitis A have been identified for a total of ten confirmed cases since April 20. Those who have had a hepatitis A infection, or one hepatitis A vaccination, are protected from the virus and do not need to take action.

The fifth day of hepatitis A vaccination clinics has closed for the evening, but more vaccination clinics are set for this week, including the Independence Day holiday.

Those who may have been exposed, or are at risk of contracting the liver infection, may receive a vaccine at no cost.

There is plenty of vaccine on hand in Mecklenburg County. In addition, the State has provided vaccines to all North Carolina public health departments.

Public Health vaccination clinics for customers who might have been exposed and for residents who meet the high-risk factors for hepatitis A will be held:

  • Monday, July 2, Tuesday, July 3, Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6 – Public Health clinic locations at 2845 Beatties Ford Road and 249 Billingsley Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 4 – 2845 Beatties Ford Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 7 – 2845 Beatties Ford Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

My bet is that they wish they would have offered hepatitis A vaccinations to employees.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, which provides public health services for Kanawha and Putnam Counties, has confirmed hepatitis A cases in food service workers at the McDonald’s at 64 Patrick St. in Charleston, Pizza Hut at 603 Third St. in Saint Albans, Paul’s Poplar Park Drive Inn at 9850 Teays Valley Road in Scott Depot, Sakura at 230 Nitro Place in Cross Lanes, and Sam’s Club at 2500 Mountaineer Boulevard in South Charleston.

One worker has been identified at each facility. This is part of an investigation involving a hepatitis A outbreak that began in February and has been linked to a national outbreak.

As a precaution, family members and coworkers are receiving hepatitis A immunizations, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.

When an individual working at a food service establishment is diagnosed, KCHD sanitarians do an onsite inspection to review food-handling practices. This includes talking with employees and observing food-handling procedures.

Stanley Mills, director of environmental health services, identified no unsafe food handling practices at any of the facilities warranting the health department issue warnings to patrons suggesting immunizations because of possible exposures.

Public transmission by a food service worker is uncommon if employees follow proper handwashing requirements and wear gloves. No hepatitis A has been transmitted to restaurant patrons in Kanawha and Putnam Counties.

Food service workers are not at increased risk for hepatitis A because of their occupation unless they have identified risk factors or personal contact with someone with risk factors.

Transmission risk is extremely low. The health department recommends patrons who consumed food or drinks at any of the restaurants monitor for hepatitis A symptoms. These include abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), light-colored stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention.

The infectious periods are McDonald’s, May 27 – June 17; Pizza Hut, May 28 – June 18; Paul’s Polar Park Drive Inn, May 21 – June 19; Sakura, June 07-28; and Sam’s Club, May 12-June 02.   The possibility of transmission is present only when employees were working at the facilities.

West Virginia has been identified by the CDC as part of a multistate hepatitis A outbreak. Transmission in cases in states involved with the outbreak has been by person-to person contact occurring primarily among the homeless or those using injection and non-injection drugs and their close direct contacts.

The Bureau for Public Health is providing free hepatitis A vaccine for high-risk groups in outbreak counties. Vaccinations are available to the following groups: homeless, close personal contact (including sexual) to someone who is homeless or using drugs, household contact to someone who is homeless or using drugs, exposure or contact to someone who has hepatitis A, food service workers, recently incarcerated and direct service providers to the homeless and people who use drugs. The health department screens for insurance eligibility before using the state-supplied vaccine.

Additional information can be found on the health department website www.kchdwv.org or by calling the health department at 304-348-8050.

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 $650 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.

E. COLI

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. coliinfections 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.

What you need to know during an E. coli outbreak – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_85Myb9Y3OA

Bill Marler on E. colihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajjfhTSRZyc

As of June 28, 2018, this outbreak appears to be over.

As of June 27, 2018, 210 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 36 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to June 6, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-seven percent of ill people were female. Of 201 people with information available, 96 (48%) were hospitalized, including 27 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Five deaths were reported from Arkansas, California, Minnesota (2), and New York.

WGS analysis of isolates from 184 ill people identified antibiotic resistance to chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Standard antibiotic resistance testing of eight clinical isolates by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory confirmed these findings. Isolates from four of those ill people also contained genes for resistance to ampicillin and ceftriaxone. These findings do not affect treatment guidance since antibiotics are not recommended for patients with E. coli O157 infections.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was the likely source of this outbreak.

The FDA and state and local regulatory officials traced the romaine lettuce to many farms in the Yuma growing region. The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, started an environmental assessment in the Yuma growing region and collected samples of water, soil, and manure. CDC laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in water samples taken from a canal in the Yuma growing region. WGS showed that the E. coliO157:H7 found in the canal water is closely related genetically to the E. coli O157:H7 from ill people. Laboratory testing for other environmental samples is continuing. FDA is continuing to investigate to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the water and ways this water could have contaminated romaine lettuce in the region.

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 $650 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.

WHAT IS 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, according to a 2011 report.

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.

Salmonella is generally divided into two categories. Non-typhoidal Salmonella is the most common form and is carried by both humans and animals. Most serotypes of Salmonella, such as Salmonella Javiana and Salmonella Enteritidis cause non-typhoidal Salmonella.  Typhoidal Salmonella, which causes typhoid fever, is rare, and is caused by Salmonella Typhi, which is carried only by humans.

SYMPTOMS 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

Additional symptoms:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Body Aches

Typhoid Fever Symptoms: Symptoms of typhoid fever appear between 8 and 14 days after eating contaminated food and last anywhere from 3 to 60 days. They include a fever of 104 F, weakness, lethargy, abdominal pain, coughing, nosebleeds, delirium, and enlarged organs. Typhoid fever is a serious illness that can result in death.

COMPLICATIONS OF SALMONELLA

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

Reactive ArthritisReactive 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 FOR SALMONELLA

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

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.

Salmonella Blog 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 $650 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.

Since June 11, 2018, Public Health has learned of 17 people from a single meal party who became ill after consuming food and beverage from a buffet at Lahori Kabab-n-Grill in Kent on June 10, 2018. Symptoms and timing of their illness onset are suggestive of a bacterial toxin, such as Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens.

The exact food or drink item that caused the illness has not been identified, though this is not uncommon for outbreaks associated with a bacterial toxin.

The number of new cases reported each week has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018 (Figure 1).

Neonates ≤28 days of age are the most affected age group, followed by adults aged 15 – 49 years of age (Figure 2).

Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (58%, 611/1 049), followed by Western Cape (13%, 132/1 049) and KwaZulu-Natal (8%, 80/1 049) provinces (Table 1).

There have been 209 deaths.

Listeriosis outbreak situation report _11June2018_final

There are 149 cases in 29 states: Alaska (8), Arizona (8), California (30), Colorado (2), Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Idaho (11), Illinois (2), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (4), Minnesota (10), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), Montana (8), New Jersey (8), New York (4), North Dakota (2), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (20), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (1), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (7), and Wisconsin (2). Six are reported ill in Canada

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13 to April 25, 2018. Ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 30. Sixty-five percent of ill people are female. Of 129 people with information available, 64 (50%) have been hospitalized, including 17 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. One death was reported from California.

Illnesses that occurred after April 17, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported.

According to the FDA, it received confirmation from the Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement administered by the Arizona Department of Agriculture that romaine lettuce is no longer being produced and distributed from the Yuma growing region, reducing the potential for exposure to contaminated product. However, due to the 21-day shelf life, the FDA cannot be certain that romaine lettuce from this region is no longer in the supply chain.

So, why no recall?

Marler Clark currently represents 64 individuals affected by the outbreak, 10 of whom developed HUS. Marler Clark filed the first lawsuit as a result of the outbreak against Freshway INC. the supplier for Panera Bread in New Jersey. Marler Clark has filed two additional lawsuits, one in Pennsylvania against Freshway and a third in Arizonaagainst Red Lobster.

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 $650 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.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced that a meat processor in Sealy, TX, is recalling  2,300 whole frozen chickens because of a risk of Salmonella contamination.

Texas All Grass-Fed, the processor, failed to properly document steps taken to prevent or eliminate bacterial contamination from the chickens, or document that the birds were properly cooled after processing, according to a news release.

The recalled whole chickens were packaged in plastic bags. In addition to being sold at the processor’s storefront in Sealy, the chickens were distributed throughout Houston, Dallas and Austin areas.

Although no illnesses have been reported in connection to the recalled products, the DSHS is urging the public to toss out the recalled chicken, or return it to the point of sale.

As of May 1, 2018, 121 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 25 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to April 21, 2018. Ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29. 63 percent of ill people are female. Of 102 people with information available, 52 (51percent) have been hospitalized, including 14 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. 1 death was reported from California.

State / Ill People
Alaska / 8
Arizona / 8
California / 24
Colorado / 2
Connecticut / 2
Georgia / 4
Idaho / 11
Illinois / 1
Kentucky / 1
Louisiana / 1
Massachusetts / 2
Michigan / 4
Mississippi / 1
Missouri / 1
Montana / 8
New Jersey / 7
New York / 2
Ohio / 3
Pennsylvania / 20
South Dakota / 1
Tennessee / 1
Utah / 1
Virginia / 1
Washington / 6
Wisconsin / 1
Total / 121

Illnesses that occurred after April 11, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks.