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68 Sickened by Salmonella Sprouts, but No Recall?

The CDC reports as of November 24, a total of 68 persons infected with the outbreak strains have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Connecticut (4), Maine (3), Massachusetts (31), Montana (1), New Hampshire (4), New York (5), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (6), and Vermont (3). The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 10, 2014. Ill persons range in age from younger than one year to 83 years, with a median age of 31 years. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among 43 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

This outbreak can be visually described with a chart showing the number of persons who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after November 4, 2014 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.  What the FDA has said thus far about a recall or not:  On November 21, 2014, Wonton Foods, Inc. said that it would stop the production and sale of mung bean sprouts and take other actions to prevent Salmonella contamination. The firm has reported that their last shipment of bean sprouts was on November 18, 2014.  FDA is continuing its investigation and will work with the firm on any required corrective actions. The company has been silent.

Salmonella:  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.  Here is a bit of history of Sprout Lawsuits:

In September and October of 2008, public health officials in Colorado identified at least 19 cases of E. coli infection among customers of Jimmy John’s restaurants.  An outbreak investigation ensued and alfalfa sprouts were determined to be the source of E. coli contamination in the restaurants.

Between February and March of 2009, 235 people in 14 states became ill with Salmonella Saintpaul infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have advised consumers to stay away from all raw sprouts, as the contamination appears to be in the seeds, which are sold nationwide.

An outbreak of Salmonella Newport that sickened 23 people in 10 states was linked to raw alfalfa sprouts in March of 2010.  The CDC reported illnesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

In December of 2010, Alfalfa Sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants were identified as the source of a multi-state outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Serotype I 4,5,12,i-. At least 140 people in 26 states and the District of Columbia were diagnosed with Salmonella infections linked to the consumption of contaminated alfalfa sprouts served at Jimmy John’s.

On January 3, 2011 the Oregon Health Authority issued a News Release warning consumers of a Salmonella Newport risk and recall related to clover sprouts produced by Sprouters Northwest, Inc. of Kent, Washington. Health officials linked at least six people to the outbreak who consumed sprouts in December 2010; two in Oregon and four in Washington.

Clover sprouts served on Jimmy John’s sandwiches between December, 2011 and March, 2012 were the source of a multi-state E. coli O26 outbreak.  On February 15, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it was working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and various local and state health departments to investigate an E. coli O26 outbreak linked to raw clover sprouts served on sandwiches sold at Jimmy John’s restaurants in five states. As of April 4, the CDC had confirmed that at least 29 people, including 6 who were hospitalized, had become ill with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 infections associated with the consumption of raw clover sprouts.

As of June 9, 2014, the CDC reported a total of 17 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) have been reported from five states.  The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows:  Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (10).

Salmonella Enteritidis Linked to Sprouts Sickens 68 in 10 States

As of November 24, a total of 68 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Connecticut (4), Maine (3), Massachusetts (31), Montana (1), New Hampshire (4), New York (5), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (6), and Vermont (3). The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 10, 2014. Ill persons range in age from younger than one year to 83 years, with a median age of 31 years. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among 43 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

The information available to date indicates that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. may be contaminated with Salmonella and are not safe to eat. As of November 21, 2014, the firm has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts.

Salmonella:  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.

Don’t Let Your Turkey Take Revenge This Thanksgiving

Food Safety advocate Bill Marler provides the best food safety tips for purchasing, storing, and preparing turkey 

Each year, nearly 48 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness and one of the main culprits is turkey! Food safety advocate Bill Marler, of Marler Clark, the Food Safety Law Firm, has a few simple tips to help keep your Thanksgiving a joyous occasion.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about the best way to prepare, defrost, and store turkey. Even though it’s a common food, it’s something of a mystery to the average home cook. Unfortunately, when turkey isn’t handled with care, it can cause some pretty serious issues.” Let the turkey take center stage at your Thanksgiving celebrations for all the right reasons with a few straightforward safety tips.

Purchase and Storage

Be sure to pick out your turkey toward the end of your shopping trip and have it bagged separately. Keep turkey frozen immediately after purchase. Do not leave turkey out anywhere.

Thawing

Turkey is safe indefinitely when frozen. It is when the thawing process begins that bacteria has a chance to grow. Below are the three safest ways to properly thaw a turkey:

Refrigerator

  • Plan ahead. Thawing in the fridge takes a significant amount of time to be done properly. Allow one day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey.
  • Thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before cooking.
  • Be sure to keep it in a tray to prevent any juices from leaking.

Cold Water

  • Allow 30 minutes of thawing for each pound of turkey.
  • Keep it in a leak-proof plastic bag to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Completely submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water, changing water every 30 minutes.
  • Cook turkey immediately once completely thawed.

Microwave

  • Check your owner’s manual for the minutes per pound and the power level to use for thawing turkey.
  • Be sure to remove all wrapping before microwaving and place in a microwave safe tray to catch juices.
  • Cook turkey immediately once completely thawed.

Cooking

You must use a food thermometer when cooking turkey. A safe internal temperature is 165°F. Set your oven no lower than 325°F and make sure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking. Place the turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2 ½ inches deep.

While it’s best to cook stuffing separately in a casserole, it can be safely cooked inside the turkey. The trick is to not pack in the stuffing—it should be placed loosely with plenty of space in the cavity—and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

It is also very important to remember to thoroughly wash hands and utensils before, during, and especially after working with raw poultry. To prevent cross-contamination, use separate cutting boards for raw turkey and other foods. Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers within two hours of preparation. Do not let turkey or any food fall into the temperature danger zone (between 40°F and 140°F). In other words, don’t take a three hour car ride with frozen or cooked turkey in the trunk!

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne outbreaks such as E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeria. The lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. The law firm has brought lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, Taco Bell, Peanut Corporation of America, ConAgra, Subway, Wal-Mart, and Jimmy John’s.

How to Prevent Foodborne Illness From Visiting This Holiday Season

Food Safety advocate, Bill Marler, discusses how to spread the holiday meal love without spreading foodborne illness; food safety tips for food preparation and transport 

Not only is the holiday season the time of the cold and flu, it is also a time when another and far more deadly sickness thrives: foodborne illness. Each year, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people contract a foodborne illness, such as Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, or Listeria. Before you prepare a feast for your next holiday potluck, it is important to learn the best ways to prevent you and your loved ones from getting sick. Food safety advocate, Bill Marler of Marler Clark, the Food Safety Law Firm, provides his best food safety tips to help prevent foodborne illness from attending your party.

“The holidays should be a worry free time with family and friends that does not include a trip to the hospital,” said Marler, “Too often have I seen people get sick from food that’s been improperly handled, stored, or prepared—something that really is completely preventable.” While the food we eat during the holidays may not always be the healthiest, we can prevent it from making anyone immediately sick by following a few simple tips:

Plan Ahead

Make a list of all foods that will need to be refrigerated or kept warm, as well as what will be transported. Make a note of how long each food item takes to cook, thaw, and prepare. Pulling out a frozen turkey the day of your party is a recipe for disaster.

Always Use a Digital Thermometer

All food that is cooked should reach the safe internal temperature of 165°F. The only proper way to measure this is by using a digital food thermometer. Also, remember that any warm foods should be kept above 140°F during serving.

Keep Foods Out of the Danger Zone

Any leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of preparation. Do not let any food fall into the temperature danger zone (between 40°F and 140°F). If transporting food, use a cooler or insulated carrier. For best results, avoid long travel times when carrying food.

Thaw All The Way

When defrosting your turkey, or any poultry, be sure to defrost it completely. Never leave it in the car, or outside, or on the counter to thaw. The three safest places to thaw a turkey are in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

  • When thawing in the refrigerator, allow one day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey. Keep it in a tray to prevent any juices from dripping.
  • For cold water thawing, allow 30 minutes of thawing for each pound of turkey. Make sure it is wrapped in a leak-proof plastic bag before completely submerging it in cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes.
  • To thaw in the microwave, follow the owner’s manual instructions. Be sure to remove all wrapping and place in a microwave safe tray to catch juices.

Turkey should be cooked immediately once completely thawed.

Wash Everything…Multiple Times

The best way to prevent foodborne illness when preparing food is to wash, wash, wash. Wash your hands thoroughly, wash all fresh produce (even pre-packaged greens), and wash all utensils and surfaces. Hands, utensils, and surfaces should be washed before, during, and after each food item is prepared.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Keep all your food items (especially raw meat, poultry, and seafood) separate when purchasing, storing, preparing, and serving. Wrap all meat, poultry, and seafood in a plastic bag and keep separate from raw produce. When serving food, always use a clean plate and use separate serving spoons for each food item.  Do not wash the turkey!

Keep Guests Out

With a ton of delicious food everywhere, guests will be tempted to stick their hands in for tasting or their heads in for smelling. Try to keep your guests out of the kitchen to prevent the spread of all illnesses, including cold and flu. Provide a serving utensil for all foods, including bread, to avoid germs on hands from spreading.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne outbreaks such as E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeria. The lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. The law firm has brought lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, Taco Bell, Peanut Corporation of America, ConAgra, Subway, Wal-Mart, and Jimmy John’s.

CDC: 10 State, 63 Person Salmonella Outbreak Announced

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont implicated.

As of November 21, 2014, the CDC reports a total of 63 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 10 states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 8, 2014. Among 42 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

The information available to date indicates that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. may be contaminated with Salmonella and are not safe to eat. As of November 21, 2014, the firm has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts.

CDC recommends that restaurants and other retailers do not sell or serve bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. at this time. CDC recommends that consumers do not eat bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. at this time.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Listeria Outbreak: Is it Time for a Warning Label on Sprouts?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water samples obtained during a routine assignment on August 13, 2014, at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Based on this finding, FDA conducted an inspection of the facility from August 12, 2014, through September 3, 2014, and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from 25 environmental swabs obtained during the inspection. FDA also issued a report with 12 inspectional observations, citing the firm for numerous unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.FDA performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolates from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. to further characterize the Listeria isolates. Compared with PFGE, WGS provides a clearer distinction of genetic differences among Listeria isolates (strains that are highly related by WGS are more likely to have a common source).

Public health investigators used PFGE and WGS to identify cases of illness that were caused by highly related strains and therefore possibly related to products made at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. This included data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network of state and local public health laboratories, CDC, and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.

Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).  They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. Two of the five people were interviewed, and both reported consuming bean sprouts in the month before becoming ill.

My friends at Barf Blog document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-8-1-14.xlsx.

Listeria:  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 $600 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, cheese, celery and milk.

5 Sick with 2 Dead from Listeria Tainted Bean Sprouts in Illinois and Michigan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported tonight than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water samples obtained during a routine assignment on August 13, 2014, at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Based on this finding, FDA conducted an inspection of the facility from August 12, 2014, through September 3, 2014, and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from 25 environmental swabs obtained during the inspection. FDA also issued a report with 12 inspectional observations, citing the firm for numerous unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.

On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. agreed to conduct a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts and notified customers by telephone. Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of sprouts on August 28, 2014, and resumed production on September 15, 2014 after Listeria monocytogenes was not identified in finished product. From October 7, 2014, to October 31, 2014, FDA re-inspected the facility and identified Listeria monocytogenes in nine environmental swabs. FDA investigators issued another report to the firm, noting 12 inspectional observations involving unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance. Nine of these observations had persisted from the previous inspection.

On October 14, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of all products except mung bean and soy bean sprouts. FDA is working with the company to ensure that they do not produce sprouts until FDA has adequate assurances that this persistent and dangerous strain of Listeria monocytogenes is sufficiently controlled. Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working to embargo all product at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. and the other wholesalers that presently have product. In addition, IDPH has asked local health departments to contact facilities in their jurisdictions that have received the product to have the facilities either hold the product or destroy per the CDC recommendations.

FDA performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolates from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. to further characterize the Listeria isolates. Compared with PFGE, WGS provides a clearer distinction of genetic differences among Listeria isolates (strains that are highly related by WGS are more likely to have a common source).

Public health investigators used PFGE and WGS to identify cases of illness that were caused by highly related strains and therefore possibly related to products made at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. This included data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network of state and local public health laboratories, CDC, and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.

Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).  They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. Two of the five people were interviewed, and both reported consuming bean sprouts in the month before becoming ill.

The high degree of genetic similarity between isolates from ill people and from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples collected at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. shows that the food was contaminated with a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that can cause serious illness. Although limited information is available about the specific sprout products that the ill people consumed, the whole genome sequencing findings, together with the sprout consumption history of two patients and inspection findings at the firm, suggest that these illnesses could be related to products from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.

CDC, the states involved, and FDA continue to work closely on this ongoing investigation, and new information will be provided when available.

My friends at Barf Blog document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-8-1-14.xlsx.

Listeria:  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 $600 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, cheese, celery and milk.

Food Poisoning Costs U.S. $15,600,000,000 Yearly

Yes, Billion – Per Year[1]

I suppose you can call this the economic reason why I still have a job.

The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture recently provided Cost Estimates of Foodborne Illnesses for the major foodborne illnesses in the United States as of 2013.  This data includes:

  •             Detailed identification of specific disease outcomes for foodborne infections caused by 15 major pathogens in the United States
  •             Associated outpatient and inpatient medical care expenditures
  •             Associated lost wages/productivity losses
  •             Cost of premature deaths

Disease outcomes include both acute illness and chronic disease that sometimes follow these acute illnesses. The 15 pathogens studied account for over 95 percent of the illnesses and deaths from foodborne illnesses acquired in the United States.

The Economic Research Service estimates build on the foodborne disease estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; peer-reviewed synthesis of data on medical costs, and economic, medical and epidemiological literature; and publicly available data on wages.

I decided to focus on 7 of the pathogens – Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, non-E. coli O157:H7 – shiga-toxin producing E. coli, Listeria, Norovirus, Salmonella and Shigella.

Campylobacter [2]– Total yearly cost – $1,928,787,166:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 845,024.  Of those, 45,631 saw a physician and 8,463 were hospitalized.  Of those hospitalized, 76 died.  Long-term complication – primarily Guillan Barre Syndrome (GBS) – accounted for 1,916 people and of those 86 died.

Medical costs of those just visiting a physician – $20,318,753.  Hospitalization costs – $121,332,675 and post-hospitalization costs – $1,140,269.  Medical costs for those with GBS – $320,416,057.  Premature death costs for those hospitalized – $657,959,135 and for those with GBS – $748,428,516.

Wage loss and productivity loss for those that were ill but did not visit a physician – $44,709,190; for those who visited a physician and recovered – $8,043,747; for those hospitalized – $4,305,437; and, for post-hospitalization recovery – $2,133,387.

Cost of premature deaths – $748,428,516.

E. coli O157:H7 [3]– Total yearly cost – $271,418,690:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 63,153.  Of those, 11,737 sought a physician’s assistance.  1,806 were hospitalized and 10 died, but did not develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).  302 did develop HUS and recovered with 12 dying acutely and 10 dying a premature death at a later point.

For those that did not seek medical care, medical expenses were modest at $135,960.  For those that sought medical care, but were not hospitalized, medical expenses were $4,929,205.  Hospitalized, non-HUS – $16,485,464.  Hospitalized, HUS – $2,854,946.  Hospitalized HUS and end stage renal disease (ESRD) with later premature death – $8,917,815.  Medical expenses for those hospitalized who died without HUS – $72,955; for those who died with HUS – $667,360.

Wage loss/productivity loss for those who did not seek medical attention – $1,431,031; for those who sought medical attention – $2,477,897; hospitalized, non-HUS – $1,110,585; hospitalized, HUS – $22,515; Hospitalized HUS and ESRD with later premature death – $588,895; hospitalized, non-HUS, death – $7,678; hospitalized, HUS, death – $4,431.

The cost of the premature deaths were as follows:  Hospitalized HUS and ESRD with later premature death – $558,008,517; hospitalized, non-HUS, death – $69,258,856; hospitalized, HUS, death – $103,888,284.

non-E. coli O157:H7 [4]– Total yearly cost – $27,364,561:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 112,752[5].  91,526 did not seek medical attention; 20,955 did.  271 people were hospitalized.  231 did not develop HUS; 39 developed HUS and recovered; and, there was 1 death.

Medical expenses for those who did not seek medical care – $252,525.  It was $8,800,355 for those who sought medical care, but were not hospitalized.  For those hospitalized, non-HUS – $2,108,605; hospitalized, HUS – $2,169,066; Hospitalized HUS and ESRD with later premature death – $947,410.

Wage and productivity loss for those who did not seek medical attention – $2,657, 911; for those who sough medical attention, but were not hospitalized – $4,423,987; for those hospitalized, non-HUS – $142,053; hospitalized, HUS – $2,908; hospitalized HUS and ESRD with later premature death – $58,889.

The cost of the 1 premature death – $5,800,852.

Listeria [6]– Total yearly cost – $2,834,444,202:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 1,591.  Only 136 were sickened and did not visit a physician and all others – 1,173 were hospitalized.  Mothers hospitalized – 189; others hospitalized with moderate illness – 33.  Severe illnesses were 697 with 247 deaths.

The medical cost for hospitalized mothers – $6,434,883; including infants – $31,208,947.  Other adult medical costs for moderate illness – $1,078,656; for severe illness for those who recovered – $68,513,832; medical costs for those that died – $16,181,967.

Productivity and wage loss was modest across all categories at $2,016,273

The cost of premature deaths – $2,138,172,640.

Norovirus [7]– Total yearly cost – $2,255,827,318:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 5,461,731.  4,906,357 did not require a visit to a physician.  540,711 saw a physician.  14,663 were hospitalized and 149 people died.

Medical expenses for those who visited a physician only – $240,768,547.  For those hospitalized – $355,175,098.

Wage and productivity loss totaled $367,964,198.

The cost of premature deaths – $1,289,946,198.

Salmonella [8]– Total yearly cost – $3,666,600,031:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 1,027,561.  934,241 did not seek medical attention.  73,984 were seen by a physician – with 19,336 being hospitalized.  There were 378 deaths.

Medical costs for those seeing a physician – $32,943,851.  Hospital costs were $277,217,134 with post-hospitalization cases of $2,577,468.

Productivity and wage loss – $52,810,195 for those who did not seek medical care.  For those who only saw a physician – $13,911,195; hospitalized and post hospital recovery – $14,659,244.

Premature death costs – $3,272,480,959.

Shigella [9]– Total yearly cost – $137,965,962:

The CDC estimates yearly cases of illness at 131,254.  Most did not seek medical treatment – 120,348.  1,456 were hospitalized and there were 10 deaths.

Total medical expenses – $42,130,731.

Total wage and productivity loss – $9,261,661

Premature death costs – $86,573,570.

I guess I still have work to do.

___________________

[1] Of course this does not account for business losses that includes lost sales, recall cost, advertising costs, litigation costs, etc.

[2] See, www.about-campylobacter.com According to the CDC, Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Campylobacter. Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms. In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection.

[3] See, www.about-ecoli.com According to the CDC, Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses. Still other kinds of E. coli are used as markers for water contamination—so you might hear about E. coli being found in drinking water, which are not themselves harmful, but indicate the water is contaminated. It does get a bit confusing—even to microbiologists.

[4] In 2012 E. coli O26, O11, O103, O121, O45 and O145 were declared adulterants by the USDA/FSIS – http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-policy-regulation/fsis-to-declare-the-big-six-non-o157-stecs-adulterants/#.VFK5G9ZvZqI

[5] ERS Spreadsheet indicated 63,153, but that is incorrect.

[6] See, www.about-listeria.com  According to the CDC, Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem in the United States. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

[7] See, www.about-norwalk.com According to the CDC, Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.

[8] See, www.about-salmonella.com According to the CDC, Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Salmonella germs have been known to cause illness for over 100 years. They were discovered by an American scientist named Salmon, for whom they are named.  Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness

[9] See, www.about-shigella.com According to the CDC, Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others.

CSPI: Top Ten Risky Foods

The Washington-based Centers for Science in the Public Interest tracked data from 1990 and 2006 and revealed which foods caused the most food-poisoning outbreaks during that period.

1.  Leafy greens, 363 outbreaks. Greens were found to contain various pathogens, including E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella. They often can become contaminated during harvesting or during the pre-washing process for bagged lettuce.

2.  Eggs, 325 outbreaks. Most of the outbreaks were from salmonella due to improper handling and cooking. Restaurants were the worst offenders, serving eggs too raw or leaving them too long on buffet tables.

3.  Tuna, 268 outbreaks. The primary culprit is something called Scombroid poisoning, a toxin released when fresh fish is stored above 60 degrees F. It can cause headaches, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations, and loss of vision.

4.  Oysters, 132 outbreaks. Norovirus is common in tainted oysters and usually comes from the waters in which these delicacies are harvested. A bacterium called Vibrio is also present in oysters and it can infect the bloodstream and be life-threatening.

5.  Potatoes, 108 outbreaks. Outbreaks occur most frequently from contaminated or improperly refrigerated potato salad. The most common cause of potato-linked illnesses comes from E. coli and salmonella.

6.  Cheese, 83 outbreaks. Salmonella is the most common cheese hazard. Although most cheese is made with pasteurized milk, California officials have warned that many Latin-American-style cheeses may be made by unlicensed manufacturers using milk that could contain harmful bacteria. Pregnant woman should be cautious about eating soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert, which can carry Listeria. Listeria can cause miscarriage, say experts.

7.  Ice cream, 75 outbreaks. Salmonella and staphylococcus, most often from raw eggs in homemade ice creams, were the biggest threat.

8.  Tomatoes, 31 outbreaks. Tomatoes were implicated in four multistate outbreaks of salmonella. Restaurants were responsible for 70 percent of tomato-related illnesses.

9.  Sprouts, 31 outbreaks. Sprout seeds can become contaminated with salmonella or E. Coli during storage. Because sprouts pose a contamination hazard, the FDA recommends that people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and the very young, do not consume raw sprouts.

10.  Berries, 25 outbreaks. Berries can be contaminated with hepatitis A or Cyclospora. In 1997, more than 2.6 million pounds of contaminated strawberries were recalled across several states when students became ill with hepatitis A, possibly from an infected farm worker.

Raw Milk Cause of Durand High School Campylobacter Outbreak

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene (WSLH), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Pepin County Health Department have been working on an investigation into an outbreak of illnesses that affected some members of the football team and coaching staff at the Durand Jr/Sr High School who attended a team dinner on September 18th, 2014. Testing performed at the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene and area labs and clinics confirmed that the outbreak was caused by Campylobactor jejuni bacteria.

As part of the investigation, DHS interviewed all of the football team members (ill and well) and coaching staff to assess illnesses and ask questions about things they may have been exposed to (activities, foods, water sources, etc.) in the days before becoming ill. In a comparison of the interview responses from ill and well team members, consumption of raw milk was the only food item associated with illness.

At the request of DHS, DATCP staff collected cow manure specimens. Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene test results (genetic fingerprinting) show that the bacteria that caused diarrheal illness among individuals who drank the unpasteurized (raw) milk at the potluck was the same bacteria strain found on the farm that supplied the raw milk.

Campylobacter jejuni bacteria can cause diarrhea, which can be bloody, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea and vomiting. Campylobacter can be transmitted by consuming food contaminated directly or indirectly by animal feces or handled by someone with the infection who has not adequately washed hands after using the bathroom.

Campylobacter:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Campylobacter outbreaks. The Campylobacter lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Campylobacter 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 Campylobacter lawyers have litigated Campylobacter cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as raw milk and municipal water.