Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: November 24, 2010

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

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United States
  • Huntington, WV. November 22nd: The Cabell Huntington Health Department is investigating four cases of Hepatitis A. The cases are sporadic, according to the county health department, rather than belonging to a single well defined cluster.
  • Knox County, TN. November 22nd: A Norovirus outbreak at Knox County Elementary School has sickened at least 113 students. The school was cleaned thoroughly and sanitized with bleach and other disinfectants over the weekend.
  • Madison, WI. November 22nd: Sporadic cases of norovirus gastroenteritis have been reported recently in Dane County, WI.
  • Ashland, KY. November 23rd: A Burger King employee has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A. The drive-through worker had no direct contact with food, but did occasionally prepare beverages.
  • Lee County, FL. November 23rd: The Lee County Health Department reports that a norovirus infection was behind the outbreak of gastroenteritis that felled dozens of people who attended the 15th Annual Take Stock in Children Holiday Auction on November 4th.
  • Arkansas City, KS. November 23rd: The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has developed preliminary information that the recent foodborne illness outbreak was caused by Clostridium perfringens. Since November 8th, 179 people who attended the Sacred Heart Turkey Dinner have reported becoming ill. One person was hospitalized. Clostridium perfringens outbreaks are typically associated with inadequate heating or reheating of high protein foods, such as beef, turkey or chicken.
  • Pierre, SD. November 24th: Four Brown County children are confirmed to have been infected with Salmonella during the past week. An additional 20 children are ill, but the cause has not been confirmed. The source of the illnesses is not yet known, but County Health officials are reminding consumers and food handlers to take appropriate precautions when preparing food.
  • Frederick, MD. November 24th: Salmonella sickened at least eight residents of the Homewood at Crumland Farms nursing home between early July and early November. One person died after being hospitalized for salmonellosis; another person who also was hospitalized has since returned to the nursing home. The home has been inspected repeatedly, but the source of the infections remains undetermined.
  • Richmond, VA. November 24th: The Virginia Department of Health is warning the public not to consume raw or undercooked shellfish. Eating shellfish that have not been cooked thoroughly may result in a Vibrio infection. In 2009, there were 29 reported cases of Vibrio gastroenteritis in the state.
  • Springfield, IL. November 24th: The Illinois Department of Health has noted a marked increase in the number of reported outbreaks of Norovirus in schools and daycare facilities in the state. At least three counties have been affected, including Kane County (5 outbreaks involving 71 people), and Cook and McHenry counties (50 or 60 outbreaks).

  • Allariz, Spain. November 23rd: Sixty school children attending Padre Feijoo, Allariz, were absent from class on Friday due to gastroenteritis. All but 17 of the students returned to school on Monday.
  • Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. November 23rd: More than 300 people reported symptoms of acute gastroenteritis between November 8th and 14th.
  • UK. November 24th: The UK's main supermarkets have signed up to a new voluntary code of conduct on food labelling to provide consumers with clearer information on the origin of their food.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Bundibugyo, Uganda. November 11th: Eight people are suspected to have died of typhoid in Bundibugyo district; 17 people were infected in this outbreak.
  • Buea, Cameroon. November 23rd: An outbreak of cholera has been declared, with seven suspected cases already hospitalized. One person has died.
  • Brazzaville, Congo. November 23rd: A cholera outbreak has infected thousands, with more than 40 deaths. More than 100 people are infected, and 6 have died, in the capital city of Brazzaville.
  • Cairo, Egypt. November 23rd: A farmer and his three sons were hospitalized with severe stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea after eating a meal of spoiled Termsa.
  • Shizuoka City, Japan. November 23rd: Students and staff at the Hutaba udo Shimizu Corporation Board of Social Welfare nursery were affected by food poisoning due to Norovirus.
  • Beijing, China. November 24th: All 113 patients quarantined for paratyphoid fever in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have recovered and been discharged from hospital, signaling an end to the outbreak.
  • Daru Island, Papua New Guinea. November 24th: Up to 100 people may have died during the current cholera outbreak. Australia has banned travel between Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait to prevent the outbreak from reaching Australia.

Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Honduras. November 23rd: In the last week, the number of cases of diarrhea in children under the age of 15 has increased by 279. An additional 87 cases in patients older than 15 years also have been reported.
  • Venezuela. November 23rd: An outbreak of amebiasis among students and teachers has resulted in the suspension of classes during the last 15 days. More than 100 cases of parasitosis have been reported, including 40 ill children.
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. November 24th: The number of patients with suspected cholera in the eastern part of Santo Domingo is on the rise. It's unclear how many people have been infected, but one medical center is reporting receiving 25-30 children and 4-5 pregnant women daily.
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti. November 24th: CBC reports that deaths from the cholera epidemic in Haiti could rise above 10,000 if help doesn't quicken, but bureaucracy is slowing aid down, says a Canadian who heads the United Nations humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean country. Some experts believe that the death toll already has reached as high as 2,000 people, according to the article.

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