Always tragic: Iowa student dies from complications of E. coli

Southeast Polk Community School District officials say a student has died as a result of complications of E. coli.

No mention in early media reports is made of what kind of E coli was involved.

Willowbrook Elementary officials confirm Natalie Baker, a second grade student, died unexpectedly on Friday. Natalie’s mother said the death was very sudden, and urges parents to be on the lookout for signs of illness in their children, especially if they complain of a stomachache.

 

Over 500 sick: E. coli found in well water at zip line attraction in Tennessee

Tennessee’s Department of Health says testing has confirmed E. coli in well water at a zipline attraction.

The announcement comes after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among visitors at CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour, WATE reported.

While tourists continue to enjoy the park, management is working to fix the drinking water.

“I did notice signs not to drink the water. So, I didn’t know if that was something normal everyday or something going on,” LaRie Roe said.

A new filtration system and bottled water for guests have been added. The park is offering refunds for anyone affected with any illness.

Father of Tennessee E. coli victim ‘Nutritionist recommended raw milk’

James Zenker never imagined his young son would battle for his life at just two-years-old.

“It’s affected his kidneys; they shut down,” Zenker said. “It affected his intestines; he couldn’t digest any of his food and its affected his brain — he has a substantial brain injury.”

His son William got E. coli after drinking raw milk linked to French Broad Farm. Zenker said a nutritionist recommended the raw milk to help William fight allergies.

“He’s not able to speak and not able to do the same activities as before he was ill,” Zenker said.

The vast majority of nutritionists, dieticians and physicians I encounter – and it’s frequent with my brain status and trips to emergency – know shit about microbial food safety.

The odd ones do, and they are food safety heros.

But when hospitals continue to serve raw sprouts to immunocompromised people, when they won’t be sold at WalMart in the U.S., I gotta question their food safety credibility.

To reiterate, I stared the Food Safety Network (the original FSN) over 25 years ago as an incoming graduate student in 1993 in the wake of the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak, combining my science and journalism learnings, and because a constant refrain I observed was, I never knew foodborne illness could be so serious.

That’s why I continue to do it as a form of community service (I haven’t been paid since 2016).

Of the 15 children sick with E. coli in Tennessee that has now been linked to consumption of raw milk and contact with ruminants from French Broad Farm, William is the last one left in the hospital. His father said East Tennessee Children’s Hospital saved his son’s life.

The Knox County Health Department said an investigation concluded that the outbreak was caused by two separate sources, the exposure to farm animals and exposure to raw milk.

“While it is rare, it appears we had two sets of children sickened by two different strains of E. coli O157 at the same time. The epidemiological evidence overwhelmingly supported the two-source theory: consumption of raw milk and some type of contact, most likely indirect, with ruminant animals,” said KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.

William has had several blood transfusions during his recovery and still needs more. His home church Temple Baptist in Powell (no relation – dp) hosted a replacement drive Tuesday for William and the community.

“It’s so encouraging to see people take time out of their busy day and donate from their own life to help Will and others affected by E. coli,” Zenker said.

If you would like more information about future blood drives click here: 
Blood drives scheduled to help children infected with E. coli.

4 confirmed sick with Shiga-toxin E. coli associated with I Love Sushi and Sodexo’s Café Mario in Washington state

Seattle’s King County public health is investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) associated with I Love Sushi and Sodexo’s Café Mario at Nintendo of America campus in Redmond. Café Mario is operated by Sodexo and is not open to the public. At this time, the source of the illnesses has not been identified.

Since July 2, 2018, we have learned that four people (two King and two Snohomish County residents) have tested positive for STEC. All four consumed food from Café Mario in King County and work at the Nintendo of America campus in Redmond. Symptoms included abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. Illness onsets occurred during June 25–28, 2018. The four ill people consumed food from Café Mario on multiple days during June 18–22, 2018; one ill person also ate at I Love Sushi on June 19 and June 26, 2018, which is a food establishment that operates out of Café Mario once a week.\

On July 3, 2018, Public Health – Seattle & King County Environmental Health investigators visited Café Mario. Inspections were completed for both Café Mario and I Love Sushi.

At Café Mario, potential risk factors were identified and corrective actions discussed with Café Mario’s management, including inadequate hand washing practices and improper cold holding temperatures of food. At I Love Sushi, potential risk factors were also identified and discussed, including improper temperature storage of foods. Both restaurants were not open on July 4 due to it being a holiday.

On July 5, 2018, investigators closed Café Mario and the onsite I Love Sushi food services. Both restaurants will remain closed until approved to reopen by Public Health. Both food establishments will be required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection before reopening. Remaining food products are being held and environmental swabs were collected for laboratory testing. We are currently investigating whether any employees of these restaurants had a recent diarrheal illness. Investigators also reviewed with Café Mario’s management the Washington State Retail Food Code requirement that staff are not allowed to work while having vomiting or diarrhea.

Raw isn’t rad, it’s risky: Radagast Pet Food, Inc. voluntarily recalls three lots of rad cat raw diet free-range chicken recipe and one lot of pasture-raised venison recipe because of possible health risk

Radagast Pet Food, Inc. of Portland, OR is recalling three lots of Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Chicken Recipe because testing results indicate they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The Company is also recalling one lot of Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Venison Recipe because testing results indicate it has the potential to be contaminated with Shiga Toxin producing E. coli O121.  This recall is being conducted out of an abundance of caution.  Due to Radagast Pet Food’s commitment to food safety and quality, The Company is conducting this voluntary recall.

Uh-huh.

Victims blame FDA for food-recall failures

I don’t blame any regulatory type for going early or going late in a foodborne disease outbreak.

There’s lots of armchair quarterbacks out there, and we’ve tried to present the various viewpoints on many an outbreak.

There’s also a lot people out there with nothing but a personal agenda, based on profit rather than peer review.

Christine Haughney of Politico reports that people had been getting sick from eating I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter for more than two months when Peter Ebb, a 59-year-old Boston lawyer and health enthusiast, went for a run and then ate his usual gluten-free English muffin smeared with soy nut butter.

Later that morning — March 6, 2017 — Ebb saw a message from Amazon, which had sold him the nut butter, that the manufacturer had recalled it for contamination by E. coli bacteria. Ebb threw away a protein drink he had made with the soy nut butter, but didn’t worry too much. The Food and Drug Administration warning that was linked to the email was worded very cautiously: Though serious illnesses might result, even potentially leading to death, “most healthy adults can recover completely within a week.”

Six days later, Ebb was hospitalized and developed a deadly type of kidney failure. Within days, doctors told his wife to send for their children in case they needed to bid him a last goodbye. He survived, but remains unable to work full time and has trouble climbing the stairs. Now, he’s joining with 18 other victims to file claims against the companies responsible and call attention to the inadequacy of the nation’s recall system.

“If I had heard about the problem even one week earlier and stopped then, I might have been able to avoid the disease completely, and life today would be very different,” Ebb said.

A POLITICO investigation found that the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter case — which officials at the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have hailed as an improvement over past failures — was nonetheless emblematic of persistent weaknesses in the nation’s food-safety system, some of which haven’t been corrected for two years after being flagged by the agency’s inspector general.

Two months elapsed between the first person sickened by eating I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter on Jan. 4 and the recall orders that began on March 3 and expanded three more times until March 10. The FDA, working through a national network of labs that identifies outbreaks, pinpointed the contamination on Feb. 22. The nine-day lag time in persuading the manufacturer to begin recalling the tainted products was a significant improvement over previous lag times — which were as high as 165 days in one infamous case, according to the inspector general. But victims maintain that the FDA should have ordered a recall on its own authority, given that a few days or even hours can make a difference in a deadly outbreak.

Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

Mar.17

NEHA, Volume 79.7, Pages 8-14

Benjamin Chapman, Maria Sol Erdozaim, Douglas Powell

http://www.neha.org/node/58904

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness, there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk prior to notifying the public. During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public. Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly, health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions. Information provision on its own is not enough. Risk communication, to be effective and grounded in behavior theory, should provide control measure options for risk management decisions. There is no indication in the literature that consumers benefit from paternalistic protection decisions to guard against information overload. A review of the risk communication literature related to outbreaks, as well as case studies of actual incidents, are explored and a blueprint for health authorities to follow is provided.

One positive for E. coli, 30 others ill after eating at North Carolina restaurant

Health officials say dozens of people became very ill after eating at a restaurant in Taylorsville in Alexander County.

Health officials said one person tested positive for E. coli, and more than 30 others are also sick after eating chicken at the restaurant.

The bacterial infection causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes a low-grade fever.

Officials say the restaurant has been cooperating and will remain open after all the infected products have been removed.

That ole swimmin’ hole got lotsa bugs in it

Untreated recreational water–associated outbreaks can be caused by pathogens, toxins, or chemicals in freshwater (e.g., lakes) or marine water (e.g., ocean).

During 2000–2014, 140 untreated recreational water–associated outbreaks that caused at least 4,958 illnesses and two deaths were reported; 80 outbreaks were caused by enteric pathogens.

Swimmers should heed posted advisories closing the beach to swimming; not swim in discolored, smelly, foamy, or scummy water; not swim while sick with diarrhea; and limit water entering the nose when swimming in warm freshwater.

Outbreaks associated with untreated recreational water can be caused by pathogens, toxins, or chemicals in fresh water (e.g., lakes, rivers) or marine water (e.g., ocean). During 2000–2014, public health officials from 35 states and Guam voluntarily reported 140 untreated recreational water–associated outbreaks to CDC. These outbreaks resulted in at least 4,958 cases of disease and two deaths. Among the 95 outbreaks with a confirmed infectious etiology, enteric pathogens caused 80 (84%); 21 (22%) were caused by norovirus, 19 (20%) by Escherichia coli, 14 (15%) by Shigella, and 12 (13%) by Cryptosporidium. Investigations of these 95 outbreaks identified 3,125 cases; 2,704 (87%) were caused by enteric pathogens, including 1,459 (47%) by norovirus, 362 (12%) by Shigella, 314 (10%) by Cryptosporidium, and 155 (5%) by E. coli. Avian schistosomes were identified as the cause in 345 (11%) of the 3,125 cases. The two deaths were in persons affected by a single outbreak (two cases) caused by Naegleria fowleri. Public parks (50 [36%]) and beaches (45 [32%]) were the leading settings associated with the 140 outbreaks. Overall, the majority of outbreaks started during June–August (113 [81%]); 65 (58%) started in July. Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can take steps to minimize the risk for exposure to pathogens, toxins, and chemicals in untreated recreational water by heeding posted advisories closing the beach to swimming; not swimming in discolored, smelly, foamy, or scummy water; not swimming while sick with diarrhea; and limiting water entering the nose when swimming in warm freshwater.

Outbreaks associated with untreated recreational water-United States, 2000-2014

29.jun.18

CDC

Daniel S. Graciaa, MD1; Jennifer R. Cope, MD2; Virginia A. Roberts, MSPH2; Bryanna L. Cikesh, MPH2,3; Amy M. Kahler, MS2; Marissa Vigar, MPH2; Elizabeth D. Hilborn, DVM4; Timothy J. Wade, PhD4; Lorraine C. Backer, PhD5; Susan P. Montgomery, DVM6; W. Evan Secor, PhD6; Vincent R. Hill, PhD2; Michael J. Beach, PhD2; Kathleen E. Fullerton, MPH2; Jonathan S. Yoder, MPH2; Michele C. Hlavsa, MPH2

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6725a1.htm?s_cid=mm6725a1_e

Yes E. coli is natural: Texas Natural Meats recalls frozen raw ground beef products for E. coli O103

Texas Natural Meats, a Lott, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 489 pounds of frozen raw, ground beef products that may be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O103, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The frozen raw, ground beef items were produced on Aug. 8, 2017.  The following products are subject to recall:  [View Label (PDF only)]
1.00-lb. bags of “Green Field Farms Rogers Texas Ground Beef.”  The bags display the “PRODUCTION DATE 08.08.2017” and also display the “EXPIRATION DATE 08.08.2020.”  The bags are labeled “COOK USE ONLY” with the instruction “DO NOT refreeze after defrosting.”  
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 34449” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to a retailer who sold the product at a farmer’s market in Roger, Texas.
The problem was discovered on June 19, 2018 by FSIS during routine inspection activities. The product was tested by the establishment and found to be positive for STEC O103 under their sampling program. …

The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.

7 dead, 1 miscarriage: New control measures to be set up on Australian rockmelon farms

My thoughts go to Australian rockmelon growers because they’ve been sold down the stream.

In April, thousands of rockmelons were left to rot in paddocks near Geraldton on the Western Australian coast, record low prices and lost markets meant they were simply not worth picking.

Grower Carol Metcalf said the rows of rotting melons were the result of the listeria outbreak on a rockmelon farm more than 3,500 kilometres away in New South Wales.

Under a new plan released this week, all rockmelon farms in Australia will be inspected and work will be undertaken on each individual farm to ensure that the highest standards are implemented and maintained.

At the time of the outbreak on February this year, the NSW Food Authority speculated that the most likely cause of the listeria outbreak was contaminated soil possibly not being properly washed off the skin of the fruit.

In addition it was thought that a weather event may have increased the listeria bacteria on the product.

But the formal investigation into the cause of the outbreak has not been completed by the NSW Food Authority and therefore the official report on the cause has still not been released.

What is planned is visits to all Australian rockmelon growers and packing sheds to review and audit current practice and critical control points and provide one-on-one food safety consultations with growers, managers and key farm staff.

The development of a melon food safety Best-Practice Guide, was informed by the findings from consultations, feedback from retailers and other key stakeholder groups.

The development of a ‘toolbox’ for grower use including risk assessment templates, training guides, food safety posters and record sheets to support food safety programs — this will be housed on the Australian Melon Association website.

Regional roadshows in key growing regions will highlight the availability and contents of the toolbox and Best Practice Guide.

A helpdesk to provide technical support to growers, packers and other stakeholders will also be developed.

Australian Melon Association industry development manager Dianne Fullelove said the new initiatives would ensure that every rockmelon grower in Australia had the highest level of food safety possible.

“NSW DPI will lead the project and the key is that they will visit every farm and work with every grower to fix any problems or issues.

“We want to make food safety as good as it can be,” Ms Fullelove said.

“This new initiative will make that reputation even stronger and give our growers sure-fire tools to support our product integrity for decades to come.

“This move will put us ahead of the game.”

Food safety isn’t a game, not when your product contributes to the death of seven people and one miscarriage.

Why are melon growers relying on government to visit farms (oh, right, money).

They should hire their own people to be out front on any food safety issue; government is the last source to rely on. And don’t act like this is something new: There have been plenty of outbreaks of Listeria and Salmonella on rockmelon over the years.

(A table of rockmelon-related outbreaks is available here.)

Some basic questions that have yet to be answered:

  • was the farm prone to flooding and near any livestock operations;
  • what soil amendments, like manure, were used;
  • after harvest were the rockmelons placed in a dump tank;
  • was the water in the dump tank regularly monitored for chlorine levels;
  • did a proper handwashing program exist at the packing shed;
  • were conveyor belts cleaned and tested;
  • did condensation form on the ceiling of the packing shed;
  • were transportation vehicles properly cooled and monitored;
  • was the Listeria in whole cantaloupe or pre-cut; and,
  • was the rockmelon stored at proper temperatures at retail?

Stop waiting for change to happen and take charge, without relying on government: Your growers are still losing money.