Monday, August 23, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: August 23, 2010

A daily digest of international outbreaks, alerts and food safety news

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United States
  • Jackson County, OR. August 19: A health advisory prompted by high algae levels found in Willow Lake, located 24 miles east of Medford, has been lifted. Water monitoring has confirmed reduced levels of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.
  • Klamath County, OR. August 19: A health advisory has been issued for Gerber Reservoir, located 42 miles east of Klamath Falls, due to high algae levels. Drinking water from Gerber Reservoir is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other Gerber Reservoir visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping style filters. People who draw in-home water directly from Gerber Reservoir are advised to use an alternative water source because private treatment systems are not proven effective in removing algae toxins.
  • Silver Spring, MD. August 20: FDA warns consumers not to eat frozen mamey fruit pulp sold under the La Nuestra brand by Montalvan Sales Inc. (Ontario, CA) or the Goya brand by Goya Foods Inc. (Secaucus, NJ). The CDC reports that at least nine people in California and Nevada are ill with typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella Typhi. Ill individuals have reported consuming mamey fruit pulp, including mamey fruit smoothies at juice stands.
  • Bessemer, AL. August 20: The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating a cluster of ill persons associated with the Alabama Adventure Water Park in Bessemer. These individuals have tested positive for a parasite that causes an illness called cryptosporidiosis.
  • Lincoln, NE. August 20: The state has issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Kirkman’s Cove near Humboldt and Red Willow Lake near McCook. An alert continues at Merritt Reservoir in Cherry County.
  • Delaware. August 20: Delaware's Division of Public Health advises anyone who spends time in coastal waters or dines on shellfish to take a few simple steps to avoid illness from Vibrio bacteria which become more common in marine and brackish waters this time of year. People can become infected with Vibrio after eating uncooked oysters, clams, mussels and other shellfish and by exposing open sores or burns to coastal waters. Crabs, lobster and shrimp are not associated with this illness. Four cases of Vibrio infection have been reported in the state so far this year.
  • Ohio River, KY. August 20: The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection today issued fish consumption advisories for the Ohio River to warn about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of some fish. The advisories have been issued due to elevated levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury levels found in tissue samples.
  • Bushnell, FL. August 23: About 40 prisoners at Sumter Correctional Institution in Bushnell have been quarantined after becoming sick with an apparent stomach flu. Family visits have been canceled and the ill prisoners were moved into a separate dormitory.

  • Victoria, BC. August 13: The Salmonella Chester outbreak is effectively over. A total of 28 confirmed cases were reported in British Columbia.
  • Toronto, ON. August 20: Toronto Public Health has identified a case of Hepatitis A in an employee at a Wendy's restaurant located at 438 Nugget Avenue in Scarborough. Anyone who consumed food purchased at this restaurant between July 26 and August 6 may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus.
  • Winnipeg, MB. August 20: As may as 16 people were treated at Winnipeg area emergency rooms between August 1st and August 16th for symptoms of E. coli O157:H7. The outbreak has been blamed at food eaten at the Russian pavilion during Folklorama.

  • Denmark. August 13: DVFA suspects that Animal Cuts brand food supplements may have caused severe liver damage in a Danish woman, and is advising consumers to avoid using these products. The National Food Institute has been asked to investigate.
  • Denmark. August 16: The Food Agency (DVFA) advises the public that elevated concentrations of toxic algae have been found in clams harvested from the Wadden Sea west of Fanoe. DVFA urges the public not to collect or eat mussels and oysters from the Wadden Sea. As the commercial fishery in the area is closed, oysters and mussels available in stores are safe.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Hong Kong. August 18: The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (August 18) urged the public not to collect and eat wild mushrooms from parks or the countryside, following a report of suspected food poisoning involving a 28-year-old man who had eaten wild mushrooms picked from a public flower bed at Po Lam Road.
  • Beijing, China. August 18: A number of central government agencies including the Ministry of Health have issued an implementation plan to strengthen rectification on illegal use of non-edible materials and food additives. Inspectors will intensify cracking down on illegal acts of food producers and operators, and a number of businesses illegally using non-edible materials and abusing food additives are to be exposed to the public.
  • Bangalore, India. August 18: Twelve beggars, including three women, died due to food poisoning at the state-run Destitutes Rehabilitation Centre on the outskirts of Bangalore. At least 10 others have been admitted to hospital for treatment, and an additional four have reported symptoms. All of the dead were between 60 and 80 years old.
  • Northern Nigeria. August 20: At least 231 people have died of cholera since June.
  • Jalandhar, India. August 20: More than 20 cases of severe diarrhea have been reported in the Chandan Nagar locality; stool samples from the patients have tested positive for Vibrio cholerae.
  • Hong Kong. August 20: A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said information provided by Johnson & Johnson (HK) Limited indicated that the problem of its 1 Day Acuvue TruEye which led to a recall of 16 batches of the product was caused by failure to remove a diluent during the rinsing process.
  • Hong Kong. August 21: The Centre for Health Protection is investigating an imported case of cholera in a 30-year old woman who came to Hong Kong from Indonesia on August 17.
  • New Delhi, India. August 23: Adulteration of food has become more common in India. Dairymen and farmers are using hormones such as oxytocin to increase milk production and speed ripening of vegetables.
  • Beijing, China. August 23: Police have arrested six suspects and detained another 41 for allegedly participating in the production and distribution of melamine-tainted milk powder and seized 227 tons of newly discovered melamine-contaminated milk powder. The seized powder included 124 tons from a dairy in Northwest China (Qinghai province) and 103 tons from manufacturers in Tianjin municipality and Hebei, Shanxi and Heilongjiang provinces.
  • Two people have died and 973 people were admitted to hospitals with symptoms of gastroenteritis. Officials are trying to determine whether the victims are suffering from cholera.
  • Nanjing, China. August 23: More than 10 people in Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, have been poisoned by the eating of crayfish contaminated with excessive chemical-detergent residue used to wash the crayfish.

Australia and New Zealand
  • Western Australia. August 20: The Department of Health is reminding people not to eat shellfish collected from the wild after recent tests confirmed potentially toxic algae at high levels in the Peel Harvey Estuary (South of Mandurah), Murray River (near Ravenswood) and in the Leschenault Estuary near Australind. Normal cooking will not destroy these toxins.

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