Lynne Terry of The Oregonian writes that an unusual museum stocked with food packages including everything from ground beef to alfalfa sprouts has gone live on the internet.
The museum was the brainchild of Oregon’s star epidemiologist William Keene, who died suddenly at the end of 2013. He cracked dozens, if not hundreds of outbreaks that sickened people from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine with food tainted by E. coli, salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter and listeria. He worked with manufacturers and health officials alike with one goal in mind: prevent consumers from getting sick.
He collected packages of tainted items in outbreaks he worked on and other public health officials sent him containers from their investigations. The museum includes items from the 1999 salmonella outbreak traced to alfalfa sprouts, the 2006 E. coli outbreak involving spinach and the 2012 E. coli outbreak traced to raw milk.
Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of Oregon’s immunization program, said the museum is designed to educate younger epidemiologists about the significance of past outbreaks and how they influenced public health decisions and epidemiological investigations.
“It’s mainly meant to be instructure,” Cieslak said.
The items are open to public health students and school groups by appointment. The website includes more extensive information on 12 outbreaks.