Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

Columbia Health officials have released the latest numbers on the Salmonella outbreak in Caldwell Parish. According to the Louisiana Dept. of Health, 125 people are now confirmed to have a gastrointestinal illness. This is up from just under 50 on Thursday afternoon. Of those cases, health officials say 37 people spent some time in the hospital.

In addition, it is reported that a second bacteria contributed to the mass food poisoning in Caldwell Parish according to Dr. Parham Jaberi, assistant state health officer. In addition to the Salmonella already found in stool samples submitted to the state, Clostridium perfringens, a bacterium commonly found on raw meat and poultry, has been identified.

Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans. Clostridium perfringens and its toxins are found everywhere in the environment, but human infection is most likely to come from eating food with Clostridium perfringens in it. Food poisoning from Clostridium perfringens fairly common, but is typically not too severe, and is often mistaken for the 24-hour flu.

The majority of outbreaks are associated with undercooked meats, often in large quantities of food prepared for a large group of people and left to sit out for long periods of time. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the “food service germ.” Meat products such as stews, casseroles, and gravy are the most common sources of illness from C. perfringens. Most outbreaks come from food whose temperature is poorly controlled. If food is kept between 70 and 140 F, it is likely to grow Clostridium perfringens bacteria.

People generally experience symptoms of Clostridium perfringens infection 6 to 24 hours after consuming the bacteria or toxins. Clostridium perfringens toxins cause abdominal pain and stomach cramps, followed by diarrhea. Nausea is also a common symptom. Fever and vomiting are not normally symptoms of poisoning by Clostridium perfringens toxins.

Illness from Clostridium perfringens generally lasts around 24 hours, and is rarely fatal.

The Type C strain of Clostridium perfringens can cause a more serious condition called Pig-bel Syndrome. This syndrome can cause death of intestinal cells and can often be fatal.

To prevent infection by Clostridium perfringens, follow the these tips:

  • Cook foods containing meat thoroughly
  • If keeping foods out, make sure they maintain a temperature of 140 F (60 C)
  • When storing food in the refrigerator, divide it into pieces with a thickness of three inches or less so that it cools faster
  • Reheat foods to at least 165 F (74 C)

Press reports indicate that the Louisiana’s Department of Health is investigating a Salmonella outbreak in Caldwell Parish that has sickened more than 100 and may have contributed to one death. Local and state authorities trying to determine if the death of a 56-year-old man, Duane Reitzell, was connected to a mass illness.

Samantha Hartmann, press officer for the Louisiana Department of Health, said preliminary tests of samples have returned positive for Salmonella.

As of Thursday, 49 cases of a gastrointestinal illness were confirmed with 31 people hospitalized, the Department of Health reported. The ages of those with a confirmed illness range from 15 to 70.

State officials also reported Thursday samples taken from five people have tested positive for salmonella.

Sheriff Clay Bennett, who also is sick, said more than 100 residents have sought medical treatment. Bennett said workers at the sheriff’s office also fell ill Tuesday afternoon. He said employees ate jambalaya from a local softball fundraiser, but no one was certain about the origin of the illness. Bennett said the illness could have come from anything.

“Everybody is trying to figure out what’s going on,” said Drew Keahey, a Caldwell Parish farmer and president of the Tensas Basin Levee District board. “No bigger than we are, when there are 200 people in the hospital, everybody knows somebody who is sick. Keahey, a director of Homeland Bank, said more than 10 people left the bank Tuesday with sickness.

The Department of Health said in a short statement it had been “notified of a possible food-related gastrointestinal disease outbreak.” A disease surveillance specialist is investigating the incident.

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.

Health officials say about 150 people living in eight states have been sickened by salmonella after attending a chili cook-off in Virginia.

Dr. David Matson, director of the state’s Eastern Shore Health District, said by phone Wednesday that half of them have sought medical treatment. Some have been hospitalized.

More than 2,000 people attended the 18th Annual Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook-Off and Car Show on Sept. 30.

Matson said most people sickened by the bacteria have already become ill with diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Officials are asking cook-off attendees to fill out a survey as they determine the bacteria’s source.

People who’ve gotten sick live in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina.

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.

There have been 576 cases throughout California, including 490 in San Diego County and 71 in Santa Cruz County. Of those, 386 have been hospitalized, including 342 in San Diego and 33 in Santa Cruz.  There have been 18 deaths.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an emergency proclamation that allows the state to increase its supply of hepatitis A vaccines in order to control the current outbreak. Immunizations from the federal vaccine program have been distributed to at-risk populations in affected areas, but additional supplies are needed. Today’s proclamation gives the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) authority to immediately purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them to impacted communities.

Later today, CDPH officials will host a call for reporters regarding the current hepatitis A outbreak and efforts to increase the supply of adult hepatitis A vaccines. Credentialed media may join the 2:00 p.m. PDT call by dialing 800-230-1059; when prompted, provide the title of the call: “Hepatitis A CDPH.”

For additional information about the hepatitis A outbreak, visit the CDPH website.

The full text of the proclamation is below:

PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS California is currently experiencing the largest person-to-person hepatitis A virus outbreak in the United States since the hepatitis A vaccine became available 22 years ago; and

WHEREAS several counties have declared local outbreaks due to the unprecedented number of hepatitis A virus infections, particularly among persons experiencing homelessness and some illicit drug users; and

WHEREAS vaccinating at-risk populations and improving sanitation are the most effective ways to stop the person-to-person spread of the hepatitis A virus; and

WHEREAS controlling outbreaks minimizes the risk to the public, maintains the health and safety of the people of California, and limits the health risks to at-risk populations in affected locations; and

WHEREAS the federally-funded supply of vaccines is inadequate to meet the State’s current needs, and therefore, California must directly obtain the vaccine; and

WHEREAS sustaining the timely and effective local response will require State support to provide adequate vaccines, supplies, and resources; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the Government Code, I find that these circumstances constitute a state of emergency; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8571 of the Government Code, I find that strict compliance with the various statutes and regulations specified in this order would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the outbreak.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist in California.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1. The California Department of Public Health shall take all measures necessary to obtain hepatitis A vaccines and prioritize the vaccination of at-risk individuals in affected locations.
2. All drugs and medical supply stocks intended for wholesale distribution shall be held subject to the control and coordination of the California Department of Public Health as necessary to control the hepatitis A outbreak.

3. Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic licensees in the affected locations shall have the authority to administer the appropriate vaccines to at-risk populations. To the extent that the provisions of Health and Safety Code sections 1797.52 and 1797.21 prohibit Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic licensees from administering the appropriate vaccines to at-risk populations, those statutes are hereby waived.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 13th day of October 2017.

__________________________
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California

ATTEST:

__________________________
ALEX PADILLA
Secretary of State

Hawaii News Now reports that at least 29 people have reported falling ill after dining at popular upscale Waikiki eatery Herringbone this week, the state Health Department said.

Health officials say they’re investigating a “possible norovirus issue.”

The Health Department got its first report of illness from a diner on Monday.

That person had dined at the restaurant over the weekend. Five people in the diner’s party had become ill, the Health Department said.

Officials then received several other reports from other patrons of the restaurant. All have recovered after one to two days of being ill.

Herringbone, located at the International Market Place, shuttered its doors on Thursday following a report of possible food poisoning.

Originally, the Health Department said three customers got sick Saturday after sharing a tossed salad.

But customers told Hawaii News Now that more than three people got sick and didn’t eat any salad.

In a statement, Herringbone said it was “working closely with the Health Department to investigate this matter and look forward to reopening as soon as possible.”

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause what’s commonly known as the stomach flu.

Symptoms usually begin 24 to 48 hours after exposure, and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Vermont Livestock Slaughter and Processing, LLC, a Ferrisburg, Vt., establishment, is recalling approximately 133 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The ground beef was produced on July 24 and 25, 2017.  The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF Only)]

  • 1-lb. vacuum sealed packages containing “Bread & Butter Farm Ground Beef” with lot codes #072517BNB and #072417BNB.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 9558” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were sold at Bread & Butter farm in Shelburne, Vt.

On September 30, 2017, FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. Working in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FSIS determined the cooked beef burgers that were served at an event at Bread & Butter Farm was the probable source of the reported illnesses. Based on the epidemiological investigation, two case-patients were identified in Vermont with illness onset dates ranging from September 18, 2017, to September 23, 2017. Traceback information indicated that both case-patients consumed ground beef products at Bread & Butter Farm which was supplied by Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing. Vermont Livestock Slaughter and Processing, LLC is recalling the products out of an abundance of caution. FSIS continues to work with public health partners on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age, but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them.

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 $600 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.

Health officials say about 150 people living in eight states have been sickened by Salmonella after attending a chili cook-off in Virginia.

Dr. David Matson, director of Virginia’s Eastern Shore Health District, says half of the victims have sought medical treatment, and some have been hospitalized.

More than 2,000 people attended the 18th Annual Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook-Off and Car Show on Sept. 30.

Matson said most people sickened by the bacteria have already become ill with diarrhea, vomiting and fever, but some could become sick after two or three weeks.

Symptoms of Salmonella can include chills, dehydration, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, headaches, vomiting, or loss of appetite.

People who’ve gotten sick live in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina.

The Accomack County Health Department and the Foodborne Disease Team from the Virginia Department of Health continue to investigate a cluster of gastro-intestinal illnesses that may be related to the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off held this past Saturday, September 30, 2017. We appreciate the response we have received from event attendees and healthcare providers who have reached out to us so far. The Accomack County Health Department has created an online survey and we ask all attendees, whether ill or well, to please complete the online survey. That link can be found here:
https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=RPPDH7DWDF

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.

According to press reports, Virginia health officials say they have identified Salmonella bacteria in specimens of food associated with the Chincoteague Chili Chowder Cook Off that happened on September 30, in Chincoteague, which have made dozens of people violently ill.

According to health department officials, they are continuing to try to reach more than 2,000 attendees from multiple states in order to get them to submit information to the online outbreak survey and see their primary care provider if they are still ill.

Attendees, whether ill or well, are asked to complete the online survey related to this incident. To take the survey, click here.

After the initial investigation began last week, more than 350 people have responded to the survey that was sent out.

Health officials say they’ve started locating local residents that may have attended the event, but have found attendees from some states to the north have also reported illnesses.

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.

Since early 2017, the Public Health Services Division, in the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, has been investigating a local Hepatitis A outbreak. The majority of people who have contracted hepatitis A are homeless and/or illicit drug users, although some cases have been neither.  The outbreak is being spread person-to-person and through contact with a fecally contaminated environment.  No common sources of food, beverage or drugs have been identified that have contributed to this outbreak, though investigation is ongoing.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that person-to-person transmission through close contact is the primary way people get hepatitis A in the United States.

Vaccination efforts are being implemented in targeted locations by County staff and in collaboration with health care partners. Health providers are asked to inform the Epidemiology Program if they have a patient suspected to have the hepatitis A infection, before the patient leaves the emergency department or provider’s office (see contact number below).

On September 1, 2017, the San Diego County Public Health Officer declared a local public health emergency due to the ongoing hepatitis A virus outbreak in the county. The County Board of Supervisors ratified this declaration on September 6, 2017 and again on September 12, 2017. The declaration shall be ratified every two weeks by the County Board of Supervisors until the declaration is rescinded.

For information and resources, please click on the links below:

The table below will provide a weekly update of total cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.  Following this update is information about hepatitis A to educate the community and help prevent the continual spread of this viral infection.

San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak Cases and Deaths as of October 3, 2017*

Cases Deaths Hospitalizations
481 17 (3.7%) 337 (70%)

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.

“Unpasteurized ‘raw’ milk can carry harmful bacteria and germs. Foodborne illnesses are possible from many different foods; however, raw milk is one of the riskiest,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state communicable disease epidemiologist.

The unique strain identified in the illnesses and the recent dairy sample, Salmonella Dublin, has previously been found among cattle and cattle products, including beef and raw dairy. Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, the infection can be fatal.

Infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system are at greatest risk. More information on the health risks of drinking raw milk can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states that allow the sale of raw milk have more raw milk-related illness outbreaks than states that prohibit raw milk sales. The production of raw milk in Washington is regulated by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.