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What Souplantation should have known about Shigella

Shigella

shigellaShigella is the bacterium that causes the disease shigellosis, also known as bacillary dysentery. Shigella is one of the most easily transmitted bacterial diarrheas, since it can occur after fewer than 100 bacteria are ingested. While reported cases of Shigellarange between 14,000 and 20,000 annually, with the majority of these cases occurring between July and October. Shigella Sonnei is the most common type of Shigella. It accounts for over two-thirds of cases of shigellosis in the United States.

Shigella bacteria are generally transmitted through a fecal-oral route.  Foods that come into contact with human or animal waste can transmit Shigella. Thus, handling toddlers’ diapers, eating vegetables from a field contaminated with sewage, or drinking pool water are all activities that can lead to shigellosis.

SYMPTOMS OF SHIGELLA FOOD POISONING

Symptoms of Shigella poisoning most commonly develop one to three days after exposure to Shigella bacteria, and usually go away within five to seven days. It is also possible to get Shigella but experience no symptoms, and still be contagious to others, a condition known as being asymptomatic.

Common Shigella Food Poisoning Symptoms

  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea ranges from mild to severe. It is bloody in 25 to 50 percent of cases and usually contains mucus
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Rectal spasms

COMPLICATIONS FROM SHIGELLA

Complications from shigellosis can include severe dehydration, seizures in small children, rectal bleeding, and invasion of the blood stream by the bacteria. Young children and the elderly are at the highest risk of death. The following is a list of specific complications caused by Shigella.

Proctitis and Rectal Prolapse: The bacteria that causes shingellosis can also cause inflammation of the lining of the rectum or rectal prolapse.

Reactive Arthritis: Approximately 3 percent of patients with Shigella infection, most often those with Shigella flexneri, develop Reactive Arthritis. It occurs when the immune system attempts to combat Shigella but instead attacks the body. Symptoms of Reactive Arthritis include inflammation of the joints, eyes, or reproductive or urinary organs. On average, symptoms appear 18 days after infection.

Toxic Megacolon: In this rare complication, the colon is paralyzed and unable to pass bowel movements or gas. Symptoms of Toxic Megacolon include abdominal pain and swelling, fever, weakness, and disorientation. If this complication goes untreated and the colon ruptures, the patient’s condition can be life-threatening.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, or HUS: Shigella rarely results in HUS, which is more commonly a complication of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections. HUS can lead to kidney failure.

DIAGNOSIS OF SHIGELLA

A Shigella infection is diagnosed through laboratory testing of a stool sample.

SHIGELLA FOOD POISONING TREATMENT

A Shigella infection usually goes away on its own in five to seven days, although bowel movements may continue to be abnormal for up to a month following infection. Antibiotics, however, can shorten the course of the illness. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics after testing a stool sample for the presence of Shigella bacteria.

Some strains of shigellosis are resistant to antibiotics, meaning that antibiotics might not always be an effective treatment. Antidiarrheal medication should be avoided, as it can actually make the illness worse.

PREVENTING A SHIGELLA INFECTION

Frequent hand washing is key to preventing Shigella, since individuals can carry Shigellawithout noticing symptoms, and Shigella bacteria can remain active for weeks after illness.

Steps for Preventing the Spread of Shigella Infection

  • If a child in diapers has shigellosis, wash your hands after changing their diaper and wipe down the changing area with disinfectant
  • People with Shigella should not prepare food for others for at least two days after diarrhea has stopped
  • Drink only treated or boiled water while traveling and only eat fruits you peel yourself
  • Only swim in pools maintaining a chlorine level of 0.5 parts per million and stay clear of pools where children not yet toilet trained are swimming

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SHIGELLA

About-Shigella.com is a comprehensive site with in-depth information about Shigella bacteria and Shigella infection.

Shigella Blog provides up-to-date news related to Shigella outbreaks, research, and more.

Clostridium perfringens tied to Rifle Rodeo

The Post Independent reports that Colorado health officials have confirmed that the 80 people who became ill after attending the Rifle Rodeo early this month were stricken with a foodborne illness.

Garfield County Public Health announced the state lab’s findings late Wednesday afternoon. Since the June 5 rodeo, the county and state health departments have had a team investigating the outbreak, using “nurses, licensed food inspectors, regional and state epidemiologists and the laboratory staff,” according to the county.

“Lab samples sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment came back positive for Clostridium perfringens – a leading cause of foodborne illness,” according to a county press release. “The illness is contracted from consuming large amounts of the bacteria, creating a toxin in the intestinal tract causing abdominal cramps and diarrhea.”

Several people posted on the Post Independent’s Facebook page or emailed to say they had eaten pulled pork sandwiches at the event.

County public health officials said last week that no food inspections, which are normally required at such public events, occurred because the department was not informed about food being served at the Rifle Rodeo, which was held at the county fairgrounds.

“The Rifle Rodeo is a privately organized event. It should be noted that this particular food vendor has a primary location that has been inspected, is licensed and is regulated. In the case of the Rifle Rodeo, temporary event and coordinator permits were not submitted, therefore Garfield County Public Health was not aware of or able to inspect food at the event prior to the June 5 outbreak,” said Yvonne Long, executive director for Garfield County Public Health.

“One thing that we want the public to know is that for public events it is the coordinator’s responsibility to find out and comply with the rules, regulations, permits, sales tax requirements and licenses required to host an event,” she said.

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 is 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 perferingens 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)

Clostridium perfringens.” Illinois Department of Public Health. Available at http://www.idph.state.il.us/Bioterrorism/factsheets/clostridium.htm.
Rohrs, Barbara. “Clostridium perfringens.” Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences. Available at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5568.html.

Salmonella is Fowl as it Flocks to Backyard Chickens

big-map-06-01-17The CDC, many state departments of health and agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are investigating eight multistate outbreaks of human Salmonellainfections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

These outbreaks are caused by several kinds of Salmonella bacteria: Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Mbandaka, and Salmonella Typhimurium.

As of May 25, 2017, 372 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 47 states.

  • Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2017 to May 13, 2017.
  • 71 ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
  • 36% of ill people are children younger than 5 years.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings link the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, which come from several hatcheries.

In interviews, 190 (83%) of 228 ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before illness started.

People reported purchasing live baby poultry from several sources, including feed supply stores, websites, hatcheries, and from relatives.

Contact with live poultry and the areas where they live and roam can make people sick with Salmonellainfections. Chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry that look healthy and clean can still carry Salmonella bacteria.

Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks. In 2016, a record number of illnesses were linked to contact with backyard poultry.

Rojo Mexican Bistro Linked to Salmonella Saintpaul Outbreak in Michigan

191b6e_7ae80eb61be34de08a1a0162ea5900d5The Rojo Mexican Bistro on Main Street in Rochester has been closed temporarily while Oakland County health inspectors investigate the spread of a rare form of Salmonella.

The Oakland County Health Division is investigating 15 cases of Salmonella saintpaul, a specific strain of Salmonella. Cases have also been identified in other Michigan counties, as well as Ohio and Illinois.

“The ongoing investigation suggests that the Salmonella is being spread through personal contact,” said Dr. Pamela Hackert, chief of medical services at the Health Division. “Residents are reminded to wash their hands thoroughly before every meal and after using the restroom.”

Salmonella is a bacteria that gets into the intestines and causes illness. Most persons infected develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4-7 days, and most people recover without treatment. Infants, elderly persons, and those with impaired immune systems are at a higher risk of developing severe illness.

To reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella:

  • Hand washing is essential and one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection. Wash hands thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet feces.
  • Clean and disinfect all surface areas if someone in the household or workplace has symptoms, especially areas such as toilets, sinks, trashcans, doorknobs and faucet handles.
  • Do not prepare food if you have symptoms and refrain from food preparation for at least three days after symptoms have ended, or two weeks after onset of clinical symptoms, whichever is longer.

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.

Frozen Berries Recalled in Australia after Hepatitis A Outbreak Uncovered

cf7310cb315e204324628d81da80fe6fFrozen berries sold nationwid­e in Australia in independent super­markets have been recalled amid a hepatitis scare. About 45,000 packets of the berries are affected. The berries were sourced from Canada and China and packed in Australia.

Two years after more than 25 cases of the virus were linked to batches of frozen berries from Chinese suppliers, the maker of Creative Gourmet products has announced it is again voluntarily ­recalling a “relatively small” number of its products sold at IGA, Foodworks, Foodland, SPAR and Supabarn.

Entyce Food Ingredients has recalled the Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g with a batch code of PP150118, after tests by Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services. The first test proved ­inconclusive and a second found no trace of the virus. But Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, said the frozen berries were potentially linked with an outbreak of hepatitis A.

“Australian health authorities have identified four cases of hepatitis A infection that were acquired in Australia in 2017 and involve the affected strain of hepatitis A virus,” he said.

Hepatitis A is a short-term, but quite serious infection of the liver. Symptoms include fever, nausea and abdominal pain. But while the infection can be quite severe, it is rarely deadly and most sufferers make a quick recovery.

The infection generally takes between 15 and 50 days to develop after consuming a contaminated product. About 300 to 500 people are diagnosed with hepatitis A in Australia every year.

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.

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.

Boston Restaurants Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Two Boston restaurants, both in the same Back Bay building, have been temporarily closed by city health inspectors for multiple cases of Salmonella poisoning.

Seven people have reportedly become sick after eating at Back Bay Sandwich and Café Med on St. James Avenue, according to Boston Inspectional Services.

Both restaurants have been suspended from operations.  See inspection results:

Back Bay Sandwich inspection reports – https://www.cityofboston.gov/isd/health/mfc/history.aspx?arg=OJcgiJGEdEU=

Café Med inspection reports – https://www.cityofboston.gov/isd/health/mfc/history.aspx?arg=uSjCJ5G/eTQ=

What to know about Botulism

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 11.21.42 AMWhat is Botulism

Botulism is a rare, life-threatening paralytic illness caused by neurotoxins produced by an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, Clostridium botulinum.[1]  Unlike Clostridium perfringens, which requires the ingestion of large numbers of viable cells to cause symptoms, the symptoms of botulism are caused by the ingestion of highly toxic, soluble exotoxins produced by C. botulinum while growing in foods.[2]  These rod-shaped bacteria grow best under anaerobic (or, low oxygen), low-salt, and low-acid conditions.[3] Bacterial growth is inhibited by refrigeration below 4° C., heating above 121° C, and high water-activity or acidity.[4]  And although the toxin is destroyed by heating to 85° C. for at least five minutes, the spores formed by the bacteria are not inactivated unless the food is heated under high pressure to 121° C. for at least twenty minutes.[5] Clostridium botulinum bacteria and spores are widely distributed in nature, because they are indigenous to soils and waters.[6]They occur in both cultivated and forest soils, bottom sediment of streams, lakes, and coastal waters, in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals, and in the gills and viscera of crabs and other shellfish.[7]

The incidence of foodborne botulism is extremely low.[8]  Nonetheless, the extreme danger posed by the bacteria has required that “intensive surveillance is maintained for botulism cases in the United States, and every case is treated as a public health emergency.”[9] This danger includes a mortality rate of up to 65% when victims are not treated immediately and properly.[10] Most of the botulism events[11] that are reported annually in the United States are associated with home-canned foods that have not been safely processed.[12]  Very occasionally, however, commercially- processed foods are implicated as the source of a botulism events, including sausages, beef stew, canned vegetables, and seafood products.[13]

Symptoms of Botulism

After their ingestion, botulinum neurotoxins are absorbed primarily in the duodenum and jejunum, and pass into the bloodstream and travel to synapses in the nervous system.[14] There, the neurotoxins cause flaccid paralysis by preventing the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, at neuromuscular junctions, thereby preventing motor-fiber stimulation.[15]The flaccid paralysis progresses symmetrically downward, usually starting with the eyes and face, then moving to the throat, chest, and extremities.[16] When the diaphragm and chest muscles become fully involved, respiration is inhibited and, unless the patient is ventilated, death from asphyxia results.[17]

Classic symptoms of botulism include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dryness of skin, mouth, and throat, lack of fever, muscle weakness, and paralysis.[18]  Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.[19] Throughout all such symptoms, the victims are fully alert and the results of sensory examination are normal.[20]

In foodborne botulism cases, symptoms usually begin anywhere between 12 and 72 hours after the ingestion of toxin-containing food.[21]  Longer incubation periods—up to 10 days—are not unknown, however.  The duration of the illness is from 1 to 10 (or more) days, depending on host-resistance, the amount of toxin ingested, and other factors.[22]  Full recovery often takes from weeks to months.[23] And, as earlier indicated, mortality rate can be from 30% to 65%, with rates generally lower in European countries than in the United States.[24]

Detection and Treatment of Botulism

Although botulism can be diagnosed based on clinical symptoms, its differentiation from other diseases is often difficult—especially in the absence of other known persons affected by the condition.[25] Once suspected, the most direct and effective way to confirm the diagnosis of botulism in the laboratory is testing for the presence of the botulinum toxin in the serum, stool, or gastric secretions of the patient.[26]  The food consumed by the patient can also be tested for the presence of toxins.[27]  Currently, the most sensitive and widely used method for the detection of the toxins is the mouse neutralization test, which involves injecting serum into mice and looking for signs of botulism.[28]  This test typically takes 48 hours, while the direct culturing of specimens takes 5-7 days.[29] Some cases of botulism may go undiagnosed because symptoms are transient or mild, or are misdiagnosed as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.[30]

If diagnosed early, foodborne botulism can be treated with an antitoxin that blocks the action of toxin circulating in the blood.[31] This can prevent patients from worsening, but recovery still takes many weeks.[32] The mainstay of therapy is supportive treatment in intensive care, and mechanical ventilation in case of respiratory failure, which is common.[33]

Long-Term and Permanent Injury

Although a minority of botulism patients eventually recover their pre-infection health, the majority do not. For those who fully recover, the greatest improvement in muscle strength occurs in the first three months after the acute phase of illness.[34]  The outside limit for such improvement appears, however, to be one year.[35]  Consequently, physical limitations that still exist beyond the one-year mark are more probably than not permanent.  Recovery from acute botulism symptoms may also be followed by persistent psychological dysfunction that may require intervention.[36]

According to a recently-published study that tracked the long-term outcomes of 217 cases of botulism, a large majority of patients reported “significant health, functional, and psychosocial limitations that are likely the consequences of the illness.”[37]  These limitations included: fatigue, weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, and difficulty lifting things.  The victims also reported difficulty breathing caused by moderate exertions, such as walking or lifting heavy items.  They were also more likely to have limitations in vigorous activities, like running or playing sports, climbing up three flights of stairs, or carrying groceries. Summarizing its finding, the study concluded that:

Even several years after acute illness, patients who had botulism were more likely than control subjects to experience fatigue, generalized weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, difficulty lifting things, and difficulty breathing caused by moderate exertion….In addition, patients…reported worse overall psycho-social status than did control subjects, with patients being significantly less likely to report feeling happy, calm and peaceful, or full of pep.[38]

There is, as a result, no question that the damaging effects of botulism are life-long.

___________

[1]           See J. Sobel, et al., Foodborne Botulism in the United States, 1990-2000, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 10, No. 9, at 1606 (Sept. 2004).

[2]           James M. Jay, MODERN FOOD MICROBIOLOGY, 466 (6th Ed. 2000)

[3]           Id. at 469-71; see also Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[4]           Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[5]           Id.

[6]           Jay, supra note 3, at 467-69.  See also, generally H. Houschild, Clostridium Botulinum, in FOODBORNE BACTERIAL PATHOGENS, at 112-89  (M. Doyle Ed. 1989)

[7]           Jay, supra note 3, at 467-69.

[8]           Sobel, supra note 2, at 1607-09; Jay, supra note 3, at 472-76.

[9]           Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606-07 (also noting that the CDC maintains a 24-hour clinical consultation and emergency antitoxin release service).

[10]          Jay, supra note 3, at 474.

[11]          With botulism, the broader term “event” is used to encompass both outbreaks—i.e., two or more cases of botulism caused by a common-source, as well as individual (or sporadic) cases.

[12]          Sobel, supra note 2, at 1610; Jay, supra note 3, at 474.

[13]          Id.

[14]          Thomas P. Bleck, Clostridium botulinum (Botulism), in MANDELL, DOUGLAS AND BENNETT’S PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE 2543, 2544 (5th ed. 2000).

[15]          Id.; Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[16]          Bleck, supra note 15, at 2545; see also BOTULISM FACT SHEET, National Agricultural Bio-Security Center, Kansas State University, online at http://nabc.ksu.edu/content/factsheets/category/Botulism#f26

[17]          Bleck, supra note 15, at 2545; Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[18]          Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606; Jay, supra note 3, at 474.

[19]          Jay, supra note 3, at 476-77.

[20]          Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[21]          Jay, supra note 3, at 474.

[22]          Id.

[23]          R. Shapiro, et al., Botulism in the United States: A Clinical and Epidemiologic Review, Ann. Intern. Med. 1998; 129:221-28.

[24]          Jay, supra note 3, at 474.

[25]          Bleck, supra note 15, at 2546 (noting that “botulism has a limited differential diagnosis”).

[26]          Sobel, supra note 2, at 1607; see also FDA/CFSAN Bad Bug Book, Clostridium Botulinum, available at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap2.html

[27]          Id.

[28]          Bleck, supra note 15, at 2546.  See also, e.g. MMWWR, supra note 1, at 2 (“CDC detected botulinum toxin Type A by mouse bioassay in the man’s serum sample”).

[29]          Bad Bug Book, supra note at 25.

[30]          Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606; Shapiro, supra note 23, at 223.

[31]          Jay, supra note 3, at 474; Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[32]          Id.; Bleck, supra note 15, at 2546-67.

[33]          Sobel, supra note 2, at 1606.

[34]          Bleck, supra note 15, at 2547. See also P. Wilcox, et al., Recovery of Ventilatory and Upper Airway Muscles and Exercise Performance After Type-A Botulism, Chest, 98:620-26 (1990); J. Mann, et al., Patient Recovery From Type-A Botulism: Morbidity Assessment Following a Large Outbreak, Am. J. Public Health, 71 (3):266-69 (Mar. 1981).

[35]          Id.

[36]          Bleck, supra note 15, at 2547. See also F. Cohen, et al., Physical and Psychosocial Health Status 3 Years After Catastrophic Illness—Botulism, Issues Mental Health Nurs., 9:387098 (1988)

[37]          S. Gottlieb, et al., Long-Term Outcomes of 217 Botulism Cases in the Republic of Georgia, Clin. Infectious Disease, 45: 174-80, at 180 (220&).

[38]          Id. at 179.

Amended Lawsuit Filed in Botulism Outbreak Linked to Nacho Cheese Sauce

Victim remains in intensive care; contaminated product tied to two companies, including CA retail location and WI manufacturer

Sacramento resident Lavinia Kelly has filed suit against Valley Oak Food and Fuel Company of Walnut Grove, California, after she contracted Botulism in an outbreak linked to tainted nacho cheese sauce sold in the store. Ms. Kelly is alleging significant health problems as a result of her illness. Gehl Foods LLC of Germantown, Wisconsin, the manufacturers of the nacho cheese sauce, is also named in the lawsuit. She is represented by food safety advocate Bill Marler, managing attorney at Marler Clark LLP, the Food Safety Law Firm, based in Seattle, along Quirk Law Firm, LLP, of Ventura, California. The case number is 34-2017-00212565

On Friday, April 21, Ms. Kelly bought tortilla chips with nacho cheese at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel store in Walnut Grove.  On April 22, the mother of three began to experience double vision and an unsteady gait. Concerned about her worsening symptoms, she sought medical attention at Sutter Medical Center ER, where she was treated and released.

The next day—Sunday, April 23—Ms. Kelly began to experience labored breathing and difficulty speaking. Her husband, Ricardo “Ricky” Torres, rushed her back to the hospital, where she was admitted and placed on mechanical ventilation.

Shortly after admission, Ms. Kelly was placed in intensive care. She has remained there ever since, unable to move much, speak, breathe on her own, or open her eyes. Family members must pull up her eyelids so she can see at all. She is in a constant state of physical pain. Her condition remains poor and her prognosis uncertain.

This outbreak of Botulism has been linked with five patients recently hospitalized with foodborne botulism, one of whom has died. In collaboration with California Department of Public Health and Sacramento County Department of Environmental Management, Sacramento County Public Health are continuing to investigate the outbreak. The data indicates that the source of the cluster of illnesses is prepared food, particularly nacho cheese sauce, from Valley Oak Food and Fuel. The manufacturer has been identified as Gehl Foods LLC of Germantown, Wisconsin. The sale of prepared foods at this location was halted on May 5, 2017 by the Sacramento County Department of Environmental Management.

“This tragedy highlights the need for strict food safety standards and close examination of food service providers,” said Bill Marler, attorney for the plaintiff. “In addition, people must be educated on food safety practices so that they can identify warning signs of food that might be dangerous to eat. No settlement can make up for the immense toll that Botulism takes on its victims.”

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium. The duration of the illness is from 1 to 10 (or more) days, depending on factors. Full recovery often takes from weeks to months. The mortality rate can range from 30% to 65%. Classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and weakness. These are all symptoms of muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, limbs, and body, resulting in death from asphyxia unless intervention is applied. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days. Patients may need to stay on a respirator for weeks or months, plus intensive medical and nursing care. Even several years after acute illness, victims may experience fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of food-borne illness outbreaks. 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, and has litigated Botulism cases stemming from outbreaks traced to caned chili and carrot juice, among other foods. For more information about Botulism, please visit http://www.botulismblog.com.

CDPH Testing Confirms Botulism Linked to Nacho Cheese Sauce Sold at Sacramento County Gas Station

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) tested and confirmed that nacho cheese sauce that was sold at a gas station in Sacramento County has tested positive for the toxin that causes botulism. The toxin found in the cheese sauce is the same type identified in patients for whom CDPH has results. https://emdinspections.saccounty.net/document.aspx?id={8AB316AD-53B0-4F16-9C25-26209CA87B1F}&type=application/pdf 

CDPH has received reports of 10 cases of botulism linked to this outbreak, and has learned that one patient has died. The nacho cheese sauce was removed from sale on May 5. CDPH believes there is no continuing risk to the public.

“While there are still unanswered questions about this outbreak, these tragic illnesses are important reminders to be vigilant about food safety,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “As we head into the summer barbecue season, both indoor and outdoor chefs need to be on guard against all foodborne illnesses.”

Botulism cases are reported to CDPH so that appropriate action can be taken to protect public health. For botulism and other foodborne diseases, CDPH and local public health departments receive case reports, conduct investigations to determine possible sources of exposure, test laboratory specimens to identify and link foodborne illnesses, take action to ensure food items that pose a risk to public health are no longer available, provide information to the public about how to prevent disease, and publish data about overall disease trends and risks.

For foodborne diseases, CDPH does not track patient conditions or outcomes. To protect patient privacy, CDPH is not sharing information about the patients affected in this botulism outbreak, their conditions or the four counties that have reported cases.

CDPH and local health departments have notified health care providers to be aware of the symptoms of botulism, including:

·             Double or blurred vision

·             Drooping eyelids

·             Slurred speech

·             Difficulty swallowing

·             Dry mouth

·             Muscle weakness

People experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

Foodborne botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulism can be treated with antitoxin and supportive care, often in an intensive care unit. Botulism is fatal in about 5 percent of cases. The toxin that causes botulism can be found in foods that are not properly processed or stored. It is odorless and colorless, so it is not possible to tell if a product is contaminated just by looking at it.

In the kitchen or at your backyard grill, simple steps can prevent many types of foodborne illnesses, including:

·             Cook – Make sure foods are cooked to the right temperature.

·             Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often.

·             Chill – Refrigerate foods properly.

·             Separate – Separate raw meats from other foods.

Gehls Cheese Sauce Possibly Linked to Valley Oak Food and Fuel Gas Station Nacho Botulism Outbreak – 10 Hospitalized with 1 Death

Marler Clark has been retained by 6 individuals and has filed a lawsuit.

According to recent news reports, the outbreak of foodborne botulism originating from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove has left 10 people hospitalized, the state Department of Health reported Friday, and an Antioch resident, Martin Galindo, may have died as a result.

The botulism outbreak was reported to have come from nacho cheese sauce sold at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove.

Family-blames-botulism-from-nacho-cheese-for-death-of-California-man37-year-old Martin Galindo from Antioch also died in a hospital in San Francisco on Thursday night after contracting what his family said is a rare case of botulism. ABC7 News reported on Friday that Martin Galindo contracted botulism from nacho cheese bought at the gas station and was being treated in San Francisco.

Inspection reports for the Valley Oaks Food and Fuel station show that on May 6 and 7, officers impounded bags of Montecito nacho cheese tortilla chips and closed the facility. On May 8, health officers from the state Department of Health impounded four bags of Gehls cheese sauce and reopened the store to sell prepackaged food items only.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Botulism outbreaks. The Botulism lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Botulism 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 Botulism lawyers have litigated Botulism cases stemming from outbreaks traced to carrot juice, chili, pesto sauce and now cheese sauce.

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

Botulism is a rare but potentially life-threatening bacterial illness. Clostridium botulinum bacteria grows on food and produces toxins that, when ingested, cause paralysis. Botulism poisoning is extremely rare, but so dangerous that each case is considered a public health emergency. Studies have shown that there is a 35 to 65 percent chance of death for patients who are not treated immediately and effectively with botulism antitoxin.

Infant botulism is the most common form of botulism. See below for symptoms specific to infant botulism.

Most of the botulism cases reported each year come from foods that are not canned properly at home. Botulism from commercially canned food is rare, but commercial canned chili products were identified as the source of a botulism outbreak in 2007.

Botulism neurotoxins prevent neurotransmitters from functioning properly. This means that they inhibit motor control. As botulism progresses, the patient experiences paralysis from top to bottom, starting with the eyes and face and moving to the throat, chest, and extremities. When paralysis reaches the chest, death from inability to breathe results unless the patient is ventilated. Symptoms of botulism generally appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food.  With treatment, illness lasts from 1 to 10 days.  Full recovery from botulism poisoning can take weeks to months.  Some people never fully recover.

In general, symptoms of botulism poisoning include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Dry skin, mouth and throat
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Body Aches
  • Paralysis
  • Lack of fever

Infant botulism takes on a different form. Symptoms in an infant include lethargy, poor appetite, constipation, drooling, drooping eyelids, a weak cry, and paralysis.

The majority of botulism patients never fully recover their pre-illness health. After three months to a year of recovery, persisting side-effects are most likely permanent. These long-term effects most often include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, and difficulty performing strenuous tasks. Patients also report a generally less happy and peaceful psychological state than before their illness.

If a patient displays symptoms of botulism, a doctor will most likely take a blood, stool, or gastric secretion sample. The most common test for botulism is injecting the patient’s blood into a mouse to see whether the mouse displays signs of botulism, since other testing methods take up to a week.

Sometimes botulism can be difficult to diagnose, since symptoms can be mild, or confused with those of Guillan-Barre Syndrome.

If found early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin that blocks circulation of the toxin in the bloodstream. This prevents the patient’s case from worsening, but recovery still takes several weeks.

Since botulism poisoning most commonly comes from foods improperly canned at home, the most important step in preventing botulism is to follow proper canning procedure. Ohio State University’s Extension Service provides a useful guide to sanitary canning techniques.

Further botulism prevention techniques include:

  • Not eating canned food if the container is bulging or if it smells bad, although not all strains on Clostridium Botulinum smell
  • Storing garlic or herb-infused oil in the refrigerator
  • Not storing baked potatoes at room temperature

To prevent infant botulism, do not give even a small amount of honey to an infant, as honey is one source of infant botulism.