Thursday, September 2, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: September 2, 2010

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

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United States
  • Texas. August 31st: Texas Department of State Health Services is reminding swimmers and skiers to take precautions to avoid infection from Naegleria fowleri, an ameba assumed to be present in all rivers, lakes, ponds, tanks and streams.The ameba can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, an infection of the brain. Infection is extremely rare but almost always fatal.
  • Silver Spring, MD. August 31st: The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has filed a complaint for permanent injunction against Scenic View Dairy (Hamilton, MI), its president, and three of its managers alleging that they sold dairy cows for human consumption that contained illegal drug residues in edible tissues. The complaint also alleges that the defendants, despite numerous warnings, sold for slaughter dairy cows that were treated with drugs contrary to the drugs’ FDA-approved labeling and without a valid veterinary prescription authorizing such use. The alleged infractions occurred from 2002 through 2010, according to the complaint.
  • Douglas County, OR. September 1st: Oregon Public Health officials have received confirmation of high algae toxins in the South Umpqua River, Lawson Bar area off Interstate 5 Exit 102 near Canyonville. Water samples were collected and a health advisory for the area was issued on Aug. 24 due to concern for algae levels following the death of a pet dog in the area and visual observation of algae scum. Tissue samples from the dog are being conducted but results are not yet complete. Health officials emphasize that swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans and animals. Drinking water from the South Umpqua River Lawson Bar area is especially dangerous.
  • Lincoln County, OR. September 1st: A health advisory for contact with marine water at D River State Park Beach in Lincoln County was lifted today, after test results showed that fecal bacteria levels have subsided.
  • Olympia, WA. September 1st: The owner of the Columbia Crest Estates water system in Cowlitz County has been fined $21,060 for violating state health orders to properly maintain the water system and to address ongoing problems with arsenic. Columbia Crest customers have been under a boil-water advisory since June 2 because owner Dan Class hasn’t monitored water quality and doesn’t have a certified operator to run the system, as the state requires. The state Department of Health issued the penalty after the failure of attempts to work with Class to address multiple system problems.

  • Inverness County, NS. September 1st: Residents of Inverness County are advised to take precautions when using Lake Ainslie, after a possible algae bloom has appeared on the lake. Toxins produced by some algae can affect health. People should not drink the water or use it to prepare or cook food, or to brush teeth. Boiling the water will not eliminate potential toxins.
  • Toronto, ON. September 1st: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Health Canada and various health units in the Greater Toronto Area are working together to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. No details have been released. CFIA has alerted the public not to consume raw beef products sold on August 6, 2010 from Kabul Farms retail store (40 Beverley Hills Drive, North York, ON), because the meat may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

  • Silkeborg, Denmark. August 30th: Denmark's Food Authority reports that the food poisoning outbreak that sickened 150 participants in a Silkeborg relay race last week was due to Staphylococcus enterotoxin in the chicken sandwiches. The sandwich filling was obtained at the Silkeborg School and delivered in refrigerated containers to the race venue. Investigation suggests that the contamination occurred as a result of human handling after the chicken was cooked. Cooling of the cooked chicken was too slow to prevent growth of the toxin-producing Staphylococcus aureus.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Abu Dhabi. September 1st: Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has ruled out the possibility of any of the contaminated American eggs being sold in the local markets here. According to the Authority, none of the recalled eggs were imported into the United Arab Emirates.
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh. September 1st: The number of confirmed cases of anthrax rose to 141 nationwide after an additional 14 cases were confirmed recently.
  • Damascus, Syria. September 2nd: The "National Hospital Bjblp" reports having treated 20 people for food poisoning. Consumption of red meat is thought to be the source behind the cluster of illnesses.

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