Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: November 16, 2010

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

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United States
  • Arkansas City, KS. November 10th: At least 22 people who attended the Sacred Heart Turkey Dinner on the evening of November 8th have reported becoming ill with vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps. The outbreak is being investigated by the Kansas Department of Public Health (KDPH) and the City/Cowley County Health Department. Other than attendance at this dinner, no common link has been discovered. KDPH asks that everyone who attended the dinner or consumed food that was prepared for the event complete a survey questionnaire, whether or not they became ill. Data collected in this survey may help to determine the common link behind the outbreak.
  • Olympia, WA. November 10th: Washington state has banned alcoholic energy drinks after nine dangerously drunk college students were hospitalized last month. FDA is reviewing the safety of these beverages.
  • Atlanta, GA. November 12th: CDC reports that 37 cases of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses have now been linked to the consumption of Bravo Farms Dutch Style Raw Milk Gouda Cheese. Cases have been confirmed in Arizona (19), California (3), Colorado (10), New Mexico (3) and Nevada (2). Fifteen people have been hospitalized, and one patient is suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome. There have been no deaths in this outbreak.
  • Alden, MN. November 15th: Freeborne County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health are investigating a Norovirus outbreak that affected about 25% of the students at Alden Conger Elementary School last week. About 65 students were sick on Friday (Nov 12th) and 45 stayed at home on Monday.
  • Austin, TX. November 15th: The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory against consuming blue catfish, channel catfish and smallmouth buffalo from Lake Worth in Tarrant County, after lab testing showed elevated levels of PCBs, aldrin and dieldrin in fish samples collected from the lake.

  • Hamilton, ON. November 15th: The Clostridium difficile outbreak at St. Joseph's Healthcare has grown to 27 confirmed cases since the beginning of October. The outbreak has been linked to four deaths; 19 cases are currently active. The hospital has called in a special provincial infectious control team for assistance.
  • Peterborough, ON. November 15th: Eleven people remain in isolation at Peterborough Regional Health Centre and one person has died in an combined outbreak of Clostridium difficile, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin resistant enterococci.

  • Oslo, Norway. November 11th: Three small children from Oslo, Akershus and Østfold are in hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome after developing an E. coli infection. It's not yet known whether the three cases are related.
  • UK. November 12th: The Salmonella Bareilly outbreak has grown to 225 confirmed cases. Illnesses have been reported in Northern Ireland (3), Wales (5), Scotland (21) and England (196). The outbreak has been linked to consumption of raw or undercooked bean sprouts.
  • Isle of Man. November 15th: Several cases of vomiting and diarrhea are suspected of being caused by an infection with Norovirus.
  • Ireland. November 16th: Researchers have found that the virulent '027' strain of Clostridium difficile is prominent in Irish hospitals. There have been 1,419 cases reported in hospitals in Ireland so far this year.

Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti. November 16th: Cholera has claimed 1,034 lives in Haiti and has sickened more than 14,500 people in less than one month. The United Nations forecasts that up to 200,000 Haitians may contract the highly contagious disease.

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