Raw is risky: Longtime North Dakota lawmaker dies after eating raw oysters in New Orleans

The New Orleans Advocate reports that former longtime Mandan Republican state Rep. Rae Ann Kelsch has died.

Alex Kelsch says his mother died early Tuesday morning at a New Orleans hospital from a bacterial infection caused by eating raw oysters at a restaurant there. She was 58.

Kelsch died after becoming infected with Vibrio vulnificus, which is linked to oysters, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Kelsch was first elected to the North Dakota House in 1990 and served 22 years, including as the chairwoman of the Education Committee.

She was defeated in the 2012 primary, after it came to light she didn’t file state income tax returns for seven years.

Kelsch’s husband, Thomas, a lawyer, said at the time that he was to blame for the tax problems. The couple said the tax bill was eventually paid.

62 sickened with E. coli at North Dakota fair, no cause found

The North Dakota Department of Health says an investigation yielded no cause of an E. coli outbreak centered on the Red River Valley Fair earlier this year.

fargo.margThe final report says 62 people were sickened over the course of the Fair this summer. State health officials are unsure if the cause came from one of the food vendors or rather close contact with farm animals.

The report also says no investigation was conducted at the fairgrounds in West Fargo because the first symptoms came to health officials after the fair’s conclusion. Therefore, there were no food vendors or animal attractions still there to be looked at. However, all food vendors are inspected prior to the Fair’s opening.

22 sick: Increase in salmonellosis prompts investigation in North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is investigating an increase in reported cases of salmonellosis, an infection caused by Salmonella bacteria.

north.dakotaSince July 20, 22 cases of a particular strain of Salmonella (Salmonella Thompson) have been reported. Because the infections all have the same genetic pattern, they may have all originated from a common source. However, so far the investigation has not revealed a common food item, place or event where all of the cases may have been exposed.

As bad as the pepper steak at the Cook County jail; foodborne poisoning affects 90 percent of ND county jail inmates

About 90 percent of the 184 inmates at the Cass County Jail in North Dakota became ill Sunday night and early Monday morning with a potential foodborne illness, Sheriff Paul Laney said.

None of the inmates had to be taken to a hospital for medical treatment, though nurses from Fargo Cass Public Health did treat those whose symptoms were most severe, the jail’s Chief Nurse Heidi McLean said.

Doug Jensen, a registered sanitarian with Fargo Cass Public Health said all aspects of food supply, storage and preparation will be examined to determine where the illness came from.

There have been no reports of illnesses among staff, Laney said, though many of those who had been on duty overnight were at home.

Inmates were served a chili macaroni casserole, corn and cornbread for supper Sunday, Laney said.

The jail has contracted its food services for nearly five years with CBM Food Service of Sioux Falls, S.D., Laney said.

Anyone can prepare food and make people barf in North Dakota

For the past week, people in Kansas have been asking me, did you love the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey victory?

I say, just glad it was a good game, great for hockey.

And then I say, the women’s hockey team really rocked.

Most people look at me and say, women play hockey?

The Canadian women defeated the U.S. for Olympic gold, 2-0, and then showed the men how to party.

I coached girls’ hockey for a number of years while my kids were growing up. To coach little girls playing ice hockey in Canada requires 16 hours of training. To coach kids on a travel team requires an additional 24 hours of training.

It seems reasonable to have some minimal training for those who prepare food for public consumption.

Not so in North Dakota, where the State Health Department says it will not seek charges against a rural Washburn woman for operating an unlicensed catering business linked to sickening 180 people last summer.

Aggie Jennings catered three separate events in June — two wedding receptions and a family reunion — that resulted in 76 people seeking medical attention with 10 hospitalized for salmonella Montevideo food poisoning.

A subsequent report found a total of 180 people met the case definition for Salmonella Montevideo.

The Bismark Tribune explains enforcement of regulations governing caterers falls under the jurisdiction of local health units.

Lisa Clute, executive officer for the First District Health Unit, said that board met Feb. 18 and voted not to recommend charges against Jennings, which would be Class B misdemeanors.

The strain of salmonella is one commonly associated with baby chickens, which Jennings raised on her rural residence.

The health department issued an order to Jennings to stop catering June 17, three days prior to the McClusky event, the report said.

The report also found there were four dishes that tested positive for salmonella and all had some type of preparation, storage or handling at Jennings’ residence.

It said several people assisting in food preparation at her home may have provided a source of cross contamination.

Clute said the First District Health Unit wants to be consistent in how it deals with such cases and in this instance, she thinks it has.

"We are confident she will never do this again. We stopped it quickly and efficiently and at this point there is no public health threat.”

These people wouldn’t be allowed to sit on the bench and open the door at a little girls’ hockey game. I don’t want them to make food either.

Bat poop sickens ND courthouse workers

Bats in the belfry – or North Dakota’s McLean County Courthouse –and their poop has seriously sickened at least two employees with histoplasmosis, caused by inhalation of spores from bat guano.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the county has battled a bat problem for years, bringing in specialists to try to seal the old building, trap the bats and remove a thick covering of guano in the courthouse attic.