If you raise chickens, maybe you shouldn’t cater food, especially after the court order to stop because you made people barf

The Bismarck Tribune of North Dakota reports that more than 150 people became ill after Aggie Jennings of rural Washburn catered  three separate events — a family reunion and two weddings in June — and the illnesses were confirmed as salmonella poisoning.

State epidemidologist Kirby Kruger said 32 people who attended the wedding met the case definition of salmonella poisoning and 13 tested positive for salmonella montevideo, a strain associated with baby chickens.

Jennings raised chickens at her rural residence, he said.

The DNA pattern in the most recent cases matched that pattern and can be traced to a hatchery in Iowa, Kruger said during the investigation.

After the outbreak, the First District Health Unit in  Minot issued a cease-and-desist order to Jennings, telling her to stop all catering activities.

The following weekend Jennings catered a wedding in McClusky where more than 15 people became ill with salmonella poisoning.

No one told me that there would be snakes here

While investigating our move to North Carolina last year, no one told me that there would be snakes involved. I’m sort of a city person, my wildlife and camping experiences are limited and I’m not a huge fan of rodents. I didn’t think much about snakes in Ontario.

I’m starting to think about snakes a lot more now — I saw a story on Fark.com today about a snake in Brunswick County (N.C.). A serious snake:

"Two brothers were just driving along N.C. 133, near Orton Plantation, on Wednesday morning when they noticed a large snake – different from those native to the area – in the roadway. “We thought it was a rattlesnake,” said Billy Ballard, of Oak Island. But a closer look and, later, an expert opinion revealed it was actually a boa constrictor that stretched at least 7 feet long."

"The brothers, on their way to Wilmington for an appointment, brought the snake to the StarNews, where about a dozen people – the ones who apparently did not have a phobia of snakes – came outside to hear the brothers’ story."

"“He’s wounded. We just have to care for him,” Billy Ballard said. “He’s got a family. You can’t tell me he’s just a stray.”"

Who grabs a snake from the highway, thinking that it might be a rattle snake, throws it in the back of a truck and takes it to the newspaper?

I had my own snake sighting last week. While visiting a farm in Chatham County with a bunch of food safety folks, we saw a snake (left, exactly as shown), known to my tour companions a "big black snake" (creative taxonomist).

I’m feeling a bit like Indiana Jones.

Doggie dining (on patios) allowed in N.C., Wake Co. attorney throws restaurant owners a bone

The ongoing saga of doggie dining in North Carolina gets a bit muddier. Today, a Wake County attorney weighed in on health authorities enforcing a "no live animals in food preparation areas" rule by not allowing dogs on patios.

Attorney Scott Warren says he thinks the rule is meant to keep animals out of kitchen areas where food is prepared or pantry areas where food is stored. He says that means it’s up to restaurants to decide whether to allow animals on patios, unless federal law protects that right.

No pet turtles for Xmas

Pet turtles can kill. Or make a bunch of kids barf.

North Carolina is the latest area to be hit — after five kids got sick with salmonellosis after handling pet turtles.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) investigated the cluster of five cases – four in North Carolina (Burke, Lincoln, Union and Montgomery counties) and one in South Carolina (York County).  Four of the children had positive cultures for salmonella. The fifth did not have a positive culture but was sick and had contact with a confirmed case.  All five children have recovered, although one was hospitalized with kidney failure as a result of the infection. The children all got sick this past summer.

Veterinarians recently tested the Union County child’s pet turtle cage; it tested positive for the same strain of Salmonella that was responsible for the outbreak.

They may appear cute, but reptiles are Salmonella factories. And who knows what kids will do with them.

Four people had pregnancy complications after getting Listeria

The North Carolina Division of Public Health is warning pregnant women about the consumption of soft cheeses, hot dogs and deli-style meats and prepared salads after three cases of listeriosis were identified in Moore, Durham and Mecklenburg counties and a probable case was identified in Buncombe County.

The story says that two of the pregnant women miscarried after they contracted the infection. In a third case, the pregnant mom delivered early, but she and her baby are doing well. The probable case involves another pregnant woman who also lost her baby. All four had consumed soft cheeses from a variety of sources.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel said, "This is a tragedy, which could have been avoided. Listeriosis can be prevented by avoiding unpasteurized milk and other potentially contaminated food, especially among vulnerable people."

State Laboratory of Public Health testing showed different strains of the bacteria were involved and that one product doesn’t seem to be the blame, and that’s why public health officials issued a general Listeria warning.