Thursday, July 17, 2008

Food Poisoning: Names Behind The Numbers

CDC published its daily update on the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak yesterday evening. As of 9pm (EDT) July 15th, the agency has received reports of 1,196 lab-confirmed victims of this outbreak. Two hundred twenty-four people have been hospitalized.

At least 372 of the victims began to experience symptoms of salmonellosis on or after June 1st – up from 357, the day before. After a very brief drop into single digits, the day-over-day increase in relatively recent cases is back into the teens.

eFoodAlert Outbreak Profile As Of July 16th CDC Report

Statistics can give some insight into the scope and duration of a disease outbreak. When the numbers are massaged appropriately, they can even give direction to investigators who are searching for the source of the outbreak.

But behind each number is a name, and behind each name is a victim. While we continue to monitor the "progress" of this current outbreak of salmonellosis, let's also remember a few of the many victims of food-borne disease.
  • Alexander Thomas Donley (January 28, 1987-July 18, 1993).
    Victim of E. coli O157:H7 (Jack In The Box outbreak)
  • Kevin Kowalcyk (died August 11, 2001; 2 years, 8 months, 1 day old).
    Victim of E. coli O157:H7 (sporadic case)
  • Luz Romero (died in 1985 at age 83).
    Victim of Listeria monocytogenes (Jalisco cheese outbreak)
  • Thomas Levins (died in 1985 at age 44).
    Victim of Salmonella (Jewel Dairy outbreak)
  • Raul Rivera (died in 2008 at age 67).
    Cancer patient infected with Salmonella Saintpaul.
And yesterday evening Bill Marler gave a voice to some of the victims of the Nebraska Beef E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, when he wrote,
No surprise to the folks sitting in the ICU waiting room of the Archbold Hospital in Thomasville, Georgia who I met with today. Three women in ICU with families at their side – life should not hang in the balance at age 70 after going to a local restaurant you have visited for years. A teenager should not be at risk of kidney failure after eating a burger. An adult man should not loose weeks of works for eating out.
Let's never lose sight of the names behind the numbers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.