Monday, August 18, 2008

eFoodAlert World Tour: A Salmonella Special

This special edition of our continuing world tour focuses on a microbe that has wreaked much havoc recently, both in the United States and in Europe.

Salmonella Saintpaul
The CDC released an update on this outbreak, which is now in its fifth month. As of 9pm on August 14th,  1,423 people in the United States and Canada have been on the receiving end of an infection by the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul. At least 272 people have been hospitalized and the microbe is believed to be at least partly responsible for two deaths.

FDA has detected the outbreak strain in samples of Mexican grown jalapeƱo peppers and serrano peppers, and in a sample of irrigation water from a Mexican farm. But – smoking gun or not – FDA investigators are still working to understand the sequence of events that led to this major food poisoning event. Meanwhile, the government of Mexico denies that its produce was the source of the outbreak.

Salmonella Agona
An outbreak of Salmonella Agona that has sickened at least 119 people in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Finland – and has killed at least one of its victims – has been traced to cooked, sliced meats supplied to the prepared sandwich industry by a Dawn Farm Foods, of County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. The manufacturer has withdrawn a long list of products from sale and has notified its customers of the withdrawals. 

Bovine and Ovine Salmonellosis in Sweden
The International Society for Infectious Diseases is following the progress of an apparent outbreak of salmonellosis among cattle and sheep on five Swedish farms. As many as 700 infected calves, lambs and bulls have been put down, possibly in order to avoid having the infection spread to the Swedish poultry and egg industry.

Salmonellosis in Williamson County, Texas
Public health officials have noticed an unusual number of reports of Salmonella infections in the county. So far this year, county health officials have investigated 50 cases of salmonellosis – 11 of them due to the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak. The county health department is unsure how to explain the increase. 

This might be no more than an artifact of heightened awareness of Salmonella reporting on the part of the general public and the medical profession as a result of the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak. 

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