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Over 300 Seek Hepatitis A Vaccines after eating at La Fontana in Nyack

According to press reports, more than 300 people who had eaten at La Fontana restaurant in Nyack between March 29 and April 1 received free vaccines last weekend for Hepatitis A.

The Rockland County Department of Health gave out the free vaccines after announcing last week that a case of Hepatitis A had been identified in a worker at the restaurant.

But not everyone who may have been exposed was vaccinated.

The vaccine is most effective when given within 14 days of exposure to the virus, therefore patrons who ate at the restaurant between March 19 and March 28 would not benefit from vaccination, health officials said.

Instead they encourage those who were not vaccinated, but visited the restaurant between March 19 and April 1 to see a doctor if symptoms develop.

Marler Clark Retained Again in New York State Garden Spinach & Spring Mix E. coli Outbreak

On November 13, 2012, Marler Clark filed the first E. coli lawsuit against State Garden, the company that distributed Wegmans Organic Spinach and Spring Mix to Wegmans stores on the East Coast. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Ontario, NY woman who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating the spinach and spring mix in mid-October. The law firm filed additional lawsuits on behalf of Rochester and Niagara-area E. coli outbreak victims on November 27 and December 4.  We also represented a woman who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.  All cases have been resolved.

Wegmans recalled approximately 31,000 pounds of Wegmans Organic Spinach & Spring Mix sold in 5 oz. and 11 oz. clam shell packages at its New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts stores between October 14 and November 1, 2012 due to potential contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The recall was initiated after New York State health officials reported 16 E. coli cases associated with the consumption of Wegmans spinach and spring mix. Additional E. coli O157:H7 cases were eventually traced to the outbreak, bringing the total number of cases to 20.

On December 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the outbreak was over and that 33 E. coli cases, including 26 from New York state, that could be attributed to the contaminated salad. Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (3), Pennsylvania (1) and Virgina (1) all reported E. coli cases associated with the Wegmans organic spinach and spring mix.

At least 13 E. coli case-patients were hospitalized, and 2 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Leftover packages of the salad from 4 E. coli case-patients’ homes tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.

Nyack New York La Fontana Link to Hepatitis A Scare

Rockland County Department of Health Warn of Possible Acute Hepatitis A Exposure at a local Restaurant

A confirmed case of acute Hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler at the La Fontana restaurant in Nyack. Patrons and other employees may have been exposed to Hepatitis A virus between March 19 and April 1, 2014.

The Health Department will offer free Hepatitis A vaccine to restaurant patrons and employees starting Saturday, April 12 from 11 am – 5 pm, Sunday, April 13 from 11 am to 3 pm and Monday, April 14 from 9 am to 12 pm at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen’s Memorial Dr. in Pomona.

The Rockland County Department of Health is recommending that all people who ate at the restaurant on March 29, March 30 and April 1, 2014 receive Hepatitis A vaccine. Patrons who ate at the restaurant between March 19 and March 28 will not benefit from vaccination. In order for the vaccine to be most effective, people who have been exposed to Hepatitis A should be vaccinated within 14 days. The earlier the vaccine is given, the more effective it is in preventing the disease. In general, the vaccine is 80% to 90% effective.

Restaurant patrons may also receive vaccine at their medical provider’s office. People who were exposed but have already received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine sometime in their life do not need another shot; all others should be vaccinated.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person. Most people recover within a few weeks with bed rest and by avoiding alcoholic beverages.

There are no special medicines or antibiotics that can be used to treat a person once the symptoms appear.  Symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. While some people who have chronic liver disease or a weakened immune system could experience more severe illness and require hospitalization, Hepatitis A is very rarely fatal (fewer than 1% of cases).

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 Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.

Salmonella Warning: Don’t Eat Abady Cat Food

The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., LLC of Poughkeepsie, NY, is recalling its 2 lb, 5 lb & 15 lb boxes of “Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats” because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonellaoften experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The recalled “Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats” were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders.

The product comes in a 2 lb, 5 lb & 15 lb, corrugated boxes with plastic liners marked with lot # 14029/21 stamped on the right side top of the box.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in some 2 lb, 5 lb & 15 lb boxes of “Abady Highest Quality Cat Maintenance & Stress Formula for Cats.”

Production of the product has been suspended while FDA and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

E. coli Linked to Oklahoma State Fairgrounds

KFOR News reports that several Oklahoma families have been hospitalized with E. coli infections after attending the same Oklahoma Youth Expo event at the State Fairgrounds.  While some cases are minor, some are more severe, putting one 8-year-old in ICU.

One child, Connor Sneary, has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and is on dialysis and has received several blood transfusions and is breathing with the help of a ventilator.

See www.fair-safety.com for information on past outbreaks.

Amberjack Recalled After Consumers Ill

Harry’s Farmers Market is recalling the following Wild Gulf Amberjack due to five reported customer illnesses. This product was sold through March 15, 2014 in the fresh seafood case only at the Harry’s Farmers Market 70 Powers Ferry Road SE in Marietta, GA 30067. The products are:

Wild Gulf Amberjack fillet

Wild Gulf Amberjack portion

Wild Whole Amberjack

The cause of the illness is unknown at this time but an investigation is ongoing. Customers reporting illness have experienced itching, diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should seek medical attention.


New Yorkers Warned of “Songbird Fever” caused by Salmonella

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urged proper maintenance of bird feeders could help prevent disease transmission, particularly in these late winter months when songbirds are especially vulnerable.

New Yorkers can help curtail the spread of disease in songbirds by emptying and cleaning feeders and birdbaths with hot soapy water at least every two weeks. It is also a good idea to soak feeders in a dilute 10 percent bleach solution and allow them to dry before re-hanging them. Waste seed on the ground beneath feeders should be cleaned up and discarded. Spreading feeders out and relocating feeders periodically can also limit the build-up of waste. Practice good hygiene when cleaning feeders and birdbaths by wearing gloves to handle seed waste and washing hands after performing maintenance.

Salmonellosis or “Songbird Fever” is among the most common diseases associated with bird feeders. Outbreaks can affect many bird species including cardinals, goldfinches, sparrows, cowbirds and pine siskins. The bacteria can be shed in the bird’s feces even when the bird appears healthy. Salmonellosis can spread through contact with infected birds, contaminated seed, seed waste on the ground or water in birdbaths. It is important to note that salmonellosis is a zoonotic disease and can be spread to both people and domestic animals.

Brits warned not to lick their Dragons Due to Salmonella Risk

Public health experts report there have been at least four cases of Salmonella associated with bearded dragons in Britain in the last eight months.

Children are particularly at risk because they like to stroke and handle pet reptiles.

Bearded dragons have become popular as pets but their feces can contain Salmonella.

Owners of bearded dragons and other reptiles are advised to wash their hands thoroughly after handling them and clean down any surfaces, which they may have been in contact with.

I Love Sydney – Not the Norovirus Type

A new strain of the Norovirus stomach bug was responsible for sickening nearly 700 people on a luxury cruise ship, it has been revealed.

Now, scientists have discovered a new Sydney strain of Norovirus was to blame for the outbreak. The Sydney strain, which emerged within about the last two years, is not considered unusually dangerous.

However, it has quickly become a common cause of vomiting and diarrhea, with symptoms lasting several days.

The highly contagious stomach bug, once known as Norwalk virus, can be picked up from an infected person, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces. It can also be airborne.

Heston Blumenthal Learns from Last Norovirus Outbreak

The Guardian reports that Heston Blumenthal has temporarily closed his London restaurant Dinner after a suspected outbreak of the same winter vomiting virus that was linked to contamination at another of his restaurants five years ago.

The chef said he was erring on “the side of extreme caution” by shutting the establishment in the Mandarin Oriental hotel overlooking Hyde Park after a number of guests fell ill.

Dinner specializes in historic British dishes and has two Michelin stars. It has also been rated in the world’s top 10 restaurants. Food safety officers have told staff to wash their hands more often.

Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant, in Bray, Berkshire, was hit by an outbreak involving at least 240 people in 2009. It was later said to be the worst norovirus contamination at a restaurant.

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. 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.