Bacillus cereus fingered as agent in Zappos outbreak

Bullitt County (KY) heath dept folks are quick with their information release. Investigators had been investigating a bunch of illnesses associated with staff of Zappos, an online retailer earlier this week and according to WAVE3 have identified B. cereus as the causitive agent.

Preliminary data indicated a food borne illness as the cause of the outbreak. After tests, bacillus cereus, was identified in clinical specimens. The Bullitt County Health Department was not able to identify the specific food ingested that caused the food-borne illness due to the lack of food samples available.

Public Health’s Division of Laboratory Services launched an investigation into the issue after 58 employees who worked the same shift became ill with a gastrointestinal illness early on Monday. At least 29 sought medical attention, none were hospitalized. In most affected employees, the illness has been self-limited and not serious.

It was previously reported that the 10pm meal was linked to the illnesses, not sure if it was diarrheal or the vomit type of B. cereus but with the reported on-set time some sort of a temperature-abused starchy dish could be the culprit.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.