CDC Investigating Two Food Poisoning Outbreaks

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) just announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently said that the total number of <"">food poisoning cases in two particular outbreaks has risen to 26. As we wrote earlier this week, one outbreak involves Salmonella tied to cantaloupe; the other, E. coli O157:H7 believed to have originated from bologna.

CIDRAP said that the agency is working with health officials in some states as well as with federal investigators, to investigate both multi-state outbreaks. Two different companies issued food product recalls after epidemiologic investigations linked the Salmonella Panama infections to specific cantaloupe shipments from Del Monte Fresh Produce and the E coli O157:H7 infections to Lebanon bologna manufactured by Palmyra Bologna Company, said CIDRAP.

As of this week, the CDC announced that it received reports that 12 patients in four states fell ill as a result of Salmonella Panama: Oregon (5), Washington (4), California (2), and Maryland (1). The dates of onset for these Salmonella illnesses took place between February 5 through 23 and the patients were between one and 68 years of age; two were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

According to the epidemiologic investigations, all but one of the ill patients ate cantaloupe in the week prior to falling ill and all 10 ate cantaloupe purchased at seven separate locations that were part of national warehouse club, Costco, according to the media, noted CIDRAP.

The investigation involved utilizing Costco membership card records to locate the one farm involved, said the CDC. According to its recall notice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the cantaloupes came from a Del Monte’s farms in Asuncion Mita, Guatemala, wrote CIDRAP, which said 4,992 cartons of recalled cantaloupes were distributed through Costco in seven western states and sold March 10-21.

The CDC said that as of March 22, 2011 it was notified of 14 infections connected to the E. coli outbreak and involved patients from five states: Maryland (3), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), and Pennsylvania (6). Illness onset dates were January 10 to February 15 and involved patients from one to 70 years of age; 11 were male and three required hospitalization, said CIDRAP. No patients have been diagnosed with the potentially fatal hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which affects the kidneys.

The Seltzer Beef Lebanon bologna—23,000 pounds—was, as we’ve previously noted, packaged for both consumers and retailers and could have, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), been further sliced and repackaged and was sent to California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. Of 13 sick patients studied and the 21 “age-matched controls,” patients were 69-percent likelier to report having eaten Lebanon bologna; four purchased Seltzer Lebanon bologna at four different grocery stores in three states, said the CDC, wrote CIDRAP.

Also, as we mentioned this week, the bologna recall was categorized as a Class I, meaning that this represents a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the defective product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

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