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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

More on Hawaii/Tuna/Salmonella: national outbreak? international?

From today’s Hawaii Department of Health press release:

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 10 cases of
illness occurring on O‘ahu caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B infection related to eating previously frozen internationally imported raw ahi. The individuals, who became ill, reported eating raw ahi (often prepared as poke) purchased or served at various locations on O‘ahu.

As of April 12, 2010, there were 13 laboratory confirmed cases with the same S. Paratyphi B pattern in five other states: California (7), Maryland (2), Pennsylvania (2), Massachusetts (1), and New York (1). DOH is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the other states to identify if those cases were also exposed to raw ahi. DOH has informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and requested an investigation of international sources of frozen raw ahi.

“The Department of Health is concerned about these cases that are similar to a cluster of cases we investigated two years ago,” Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said. “With the help of the USFDA, we hope to identify the source so we can prevent any further illness."

Between October 2007 and February 2008, DOH identified a total of 35 confirmed cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B infection on O‘ahu. An exhaustive investigation by the department identified raw imported frozen ahi used in ahi poke as the probable source of illness. At that time, confirmation of additional cases in Colorado and California related to the consumption of raw fish prompted an investigation by the USFDA, but a definitive source for the implicated ahi could not be identified.