Dog food Salmonella outbreak grows; family of infant files lawsuit

When I talk about toddlers learning to crawl and heading for the dog dish, I’m not thinking of 8-week-olds.

A federal lawsuit in New Jersey alleging an infant was sickened by salmonella-contaminated dog food may be the first in the nation to hit the courts in the wake of a recent pet food recall.

The New Jersey Law Journal reports at least 15 people in nine states and Canada have reportedly fallen ill as a result of contact with pet food made by Diamond Pet Foods, which announced the recall on April 6 and has since expanded it to additional brands.

Eisenberg v. Diamond Pet Food Processors, 12-cv- 3127, filed May 25 in federal court in Trenton, alleges that a two-month-old child became sick with diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite on April 11. A day later, his pediatrician sent him to St. Peter’s University Hospital, where he spent three days and was diagnosed with salmonella. A stool sample later tested positive for the same strain of salmonella that spurred the recall, salmonella infantis.

The child’s father, Nevin Eisenberg of Marlboro, alleges he bought a bag of a Diamond brand — Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Food with chicken and vegetables — at the Costco Wholesale Corporation store in Morganville.

The complaint does not specify how the child, identified as C.A.E., became exposed to salmonella.

But, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned yesterday the multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infections continues to grow.

FDA became involved in early April when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported detecting Salmonella from an intact package of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs, collected during retail surveillance sampling. Diamond Pet Food was notified of the sampling results, and agreed to voluntarily recall this product on April 6, 2012.

At that time, there were no known dog illnesses reported.

An additional finding of Salmonella in a sample taken by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store led to a recall of that product on April 26, 2012

A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility also yielded Salmonella Infantis, which led to a recall of that product on April 30, 2012.

Public health officials used DNA fingerprints of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to investigate cases of human illness. CDC reports that this outbreak strain (Infantis) is rare, and typically only 0 to 3 cases are reported per month to PulseNet.

Through interviews by state public health officials, FDA’s review of consumer complaints, and from a comparison of pet products from human exposure, some brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pets Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have now been linked to human Salmonella infections.

FDA, CDC, and state investigations are ongoing in an effort to determine if other brands of dry dog food produced at the South Carolina facility may be linked to confirmed human illnesses. FDA will provide updates on the investigation as new information becomes available.

3 infants stricken with E. coli O157 at Scottish nursery

It’s an unfortunate, but familiar story for UK childcares.

The Scotsman reports three infants were being treated in hospital following a suspected E coli O157 outbreak linked to the baby unit at a nursery school.

NHS Grampian confirmed that infection control specialists at the health authority are investigating two confirmed cases and four suspected cases of potentially deadly E coli O157 infection in children who attend Rose Lodge Nursery School in Aboyne, Royal Deeside.

The baby unit at the nursery school has been closed while investigations continue to identify the source of the bug. The garden in the grounds of the nursery in the heart of the village has also been declared out of bounds to the children but the nursery remains open.

The three children who have been admitted to hospital were all being cared for in the baby unit. There are a total of 40 children at the nursery, which takes children from six weeks up to the age of five.

NHS Grampian stressed yesterday the investigation to pinpoint a possible source for the bug was not focused solely on the nursery and that other potential sources of infection in the predominantly rural area were also being looked at.

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said no orders had been issued to close the Aboyne nursery. “The investigation is not centring on the nursery. We are also investigating other potential sources of exposure. E coli O157 are bacteria that are commonly carried in the gut of a variety of farm animals and their feces.”

NHS Grampian was informed about the first possible case of infection on Sunday night and of two other cases on Tuesday.

Babies and bearded dragons don’t mix: outbreak of reptile-associated Salmonella Tennessee, Germany 2008

 In early 2008, eight cases of Salmonella Tennessee were reported in infants in Germany; normally there is about one case per year.

Using a case–control study to identify the source of infection, German researchers report in the current issue of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases they identified 18 cases less than 3-years-old. Ten children were male; median age was 3 months (1–32 months). In 8 of 16 case households reptiles were kept. Although direct contact between child and reptile was denied, other forms of reptile contact were reported in some cases. Identical Salmonella Tennessee strains of child and reptile kept in the same household could be shown in 2 cases.

The researchers conclude that indirect contact between infants and reptiles seems to be sufficient to cause infection and should therefore be avoided.

Infants given risky herbal remedies

This is gross.

Infants as young as one month are being given either dietary botanical supplements or herbal teas.

A study done for the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio and published in the June edition of Pediatrics, has found that nine per cent of infants in a major survey were given a wide variety of herbal supplements and tea. It is being raised as a concern because some supplements given to infants may be health risks.

The purity and potency of such supplements and teas are not regulated in the same way as pharmaceuticals and may lead to adverse drug reactions and may contain heavy metals and other contaminants which could be harmful, says the study.

In 2007 one brand of gripe water, used to soothe fussy babies, was recalled because it contained cryptosporidium, a parasite that can cause intestinal infections.

The supplements and teas are sometimes preferred by parents because they can be obtained without medical prescriptions and have been shown to be effective for some conditions. Most are marketed as, and considered to be, more natural.

Experts recommend that infants receive only human milk or infant formula for the first four to six months, with vitamins and medicine as needed.

Infant in Ireland stricken with botulism from pet turtle, reptiles not suitable as pets for under fives

An infant in Ireland is recovering after a bout with botulism type E, most likely due to exposure to a pet turtle or turtle feed.

Dr Paul McKeown, a specialist in public health medicine at the national Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) warned that reptiles are not appropriate pets for children under the age of five.

Reptiles such as snakes, lizards, tortoises, turtles and terrapins have become extremely popular as pets, he said, but they require careful handling as they carry a range of germs that can lead to illness. Washing hands after touching them is very important.

“Given the risks, reptiles should not be kept as pets in a house where there are children under the age of five,” he added.

There are a number of different types of botulism toxin but the type which the baby picked up – type E – is so rare it was only the seventh case ever reported in an infant worldwide, the centre said.

Internet, porn, Hasslehoff and raw milk

The Internet is good for porn and videos of David Hasslehoff; that’s what the local university radio station says.

There’s this website called The Caveman Diet, that had a post entitled, Can I start giving raw milk to my 7 month old infant?

And the best answer was deemed to be, “wait till he turns 1. It is ok to have raw milk only in cereal in the mornings. At 7 months old he is way too young."

From a microbiological perspective, this is stupid beyond belief. Maybe it works if you thought Baywatch was an accurate depiction of California beach life.

Mum says ‘I didn’t know;’ UK infant recovers from botulism

Logan Douglas was temporarily blinded and paralyzed as the botulism he contracted at 16-weeks-old ravaged his body.

Six months after his parents, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Alex Douglas, were faced with the decision of whether to turn off his life support as baffled medics feared the worst, Logan is doing great (right, photo from The Sun).

When a limp and ill Logan was first taken to physicians, he was admitted to hospital and, after a battery of tests, a Glasgow-based doctor ordered a test for infantile botulism for Logan.

Devastated Theresa has revealed she still blamed herself after feeding her baby honey.

She wasn’t aware that the food wasn’t suitable for children so young – and unwittingly placed his health in danger.

"Logan’s big sister, Taylor, loves honey on toast and one day I was spreading some honey for her and Logan was a bit grizzly. So I just dipped his dummy in the honey and he loved it. He got some every now and again. None of the baby books I had mentioned infantile botulism or said honey was dangerous for babies under a year old. I’d been at my auntie’s house with Taylor and she said to take a pot of honey she had home with me for Taylor. I wish I hadn’t now. Taylor hasn’t ever asked for honey again and it’s banned from the house now. It was just an ordinary supermarket’s own-brand honey bought off the shelf. The environmental health people tested the actual pot and it was confirmed as the source."

Kudos to Thersa, Logan’s mum, for admitting she didn’t know about the potential risks. I, and other food safety types, hear everyday, “I didn’t know” about E. coli, or Salmonella, or botulism or whatever. That’s OK. It underscored the need to be creative and compelling when talking about … anything.

Clostridium botulinum can cause sickness in very young children, and infants under the age of 1 years old are most at risk. Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores which can grow in the digestive tract of children less than one-year-old because their digestive system is less acidic. The bacteria produces toxin in the body and can cause severe illness. Even pasteurized honey can contain botulism spores and should be not be given to children under the age of 12 months.

Don’t eat raccoon poop

CBC News reported last night that parents should be on alert for raccoon roundworm, a rare parasite transmitted through contact with the animal’s feces, which has left a New York infant with brain damage and a teenager blind.

Raccoon roundworm or Baylisascaris procyonis is an extremely rare parasitic infection in humans that can cause nausea, nerve damage and even death.

People become infected by swallowing the parasite’s eggs that are shed in the feces of infected raccoons.

Parents should supervise children to keep them away from raccoon feces, Sally Slavinski, a spokeswoman for the city’s health department, said Monday.

The infant has been hospitalized since suffering seizures and spinal problems last October and now has permanent brain damage.

The infant had a history of eating soil, and swallowing soil contaminated with raccoon feces is the most likely source of infection, the city’s alert said. The 17-year-old lost sight in the right eye in January. Both are from Brooklyn.

"Avoiding Baylisascaris means avoiding ingestion of raccoon stool," veterinarian Scott Weese of the University of Guelph wrote in his blog, Worms & Germs, which promotes safe pet ownership.