FDA: 141 sick, 2 dead in 20 states from Salmonella in cantaloupe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections.

A total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Thirty-one persons have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported in Kentucky.

In the course of their investigation, state officials in Kentucky and Indiana found evidence that they believe indicate cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana may be a source of the ongoing Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak. FDA officials are actively investigating potential sources of the outbreak, and will continue to update the public as more specific information becomes available.

2 dead, 50 ill in Kentucky with Salmonella from Indiana cantaloupes; multi-state outbreak unfolding

A strain of salmonella associated with two deaths and 50 illnesses in Kentucky since early July has been found in cantaloupes tested by the state, public health officials said Friday.

Acting Public Health Commissioner Steve Davis issued a statement Friday advising Kentuckians to avoid eating cantaloupes that were grown in southwestern Indiana.

“In addition, health care providers are encouraged to be mindful of patients who may have symptoms consistent with salmonellosis and report all cases to the local health department,” Davis said.

Illnesses have occurred statewide and many counties have people who have been sickened, including some in Central and Eastern Kentucky, said Beth Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Cases are most concentrated around Owensboro and in far Western Kentucky, where both deaths occurred, Fisher said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collaborating with public health officials in affected states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the ongoing outbreak, including tracing the source of the affected melons and shipments of melons that may have been contaminated.

A table of cantaloupe-related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/cantaloupe-related-outbreaks.

Game of the day: is it a hot sauce name or salmonellosis?

Gonzalo Erdozain writes:

Hemorrhoid Helper, Buhba’s Butt Blaster, Ass in the Tub, and Screaming Sphincter are all hot sauce names, but could be Salmonellosis symptoms.

As part of our four-day tour of Table Rock and Branson, we decided to stop by the most visited attraction in Missouri: Bass Pro Shop’s headquarters.

Upon arrival, I noticed a few animals being showed to visitors. I later found out this informational activity was organized by the Wonders of Wildlife Museum.

Along with the owl, chinchilla, and table with deer antlers and other cool items, there was a snake being handled and a tortoise walking around for visitors to pet. I observed various children petting the tortoise and then walking away. I did not see any hand sanitizer when I was there. By the time I went back to see if I could find an adult supervisor to ask about Salmonella testing in the animals, the whole thing had been wrapped up, so I wrote Bass Pro Shop an e-mail. This is what I got:

“My name is … and I am the Director of Conservation Programs for Wonders of Wildlife Museum. The animal presentations that you are referring to was actually done by Wonders of Wildlife staff and volunteers and not Bass Pro.

“There is hand sanitizer available during every encounter, at the artifacts table and the staff reminds people to use it after touching the animals. All of the staff and volunteers are educated about zoonosis and the importance of washing your hands.

“All of our animals are seen weekly by our on staff veterinarian and we have an stringent examination schedule to ensure the health of our animals and the public.”

On paper, these are recommended procedures, but sometimes things get lost in translation. There were no adult supervisors at the time I walked by the event, and no hand sanitizing gel or hand hygiene station that I could see. Guidelines and regulations are only as good as how well they are followed and enforced. Rather than inspiring the next hot sauce:

• always wash hands after petting an animal, or being within an animal area, whether you pet the animal or not;
• within animal area, don’t eat, drink, smoke, or engage in any behavior that would facilitate fecal-oral route of transmission; and,
• avoid bringing personal items that could facilitate cross-contamination, like strollers or bags into the animal area.

These events are fun, entertaining, and informative, but they should also be safe.

44 sick in Kentucky Salmonella outbreak

Why is this just being made public now?

Maybe it has been public and slipped my mind.

WSAZ reports that nine cases of Salmonella have been confirmed in Olive Hill, Ky., and at least four are part of a statewide outbreak sickening at least 44 people.

People apparently started getting sick about July 11, and there have been no new cases of Salmonella reported since July 31.

Two weeks later and the outbreak becomes public.

A statewide investigation is underway to try to find the source of the cases.

19 sick; Salmonella outbreak in Nebraska care facility

South Heartland District Health Department along with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is investigating an outbreak of salmonellosis associated with the Blue Hill Care Center in Webster County. To date there have been 17 confirmed cases and 2 probable or suspected cases reported in residents, staff or visitors. Four residents were temporarily hospitalized after showing symptoms. A visitor is still hospitalized. Blue Hill Care Center is cooperating fully with the investigation to help identify the source and eradicate the issue.

Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with Salmonella should contact their doctor for recommendations on testing and treatment. For further information or to report suspected cases, contact South Heartland District Health Department toll free at 1-877-238-7595.

Cilantro recalled because of Salmonella risk

In the long-running series of fresh herbs as vectors for dangerous microorganismsFresco Green Farms Inc. of Winchester, Calif. is recalling 1,643 cases of cilantro harvested from July 18th 2012 to July 27th 2012, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The cilantro was on store shelves in California andMinnesota beginning July 19, 2012 and likely sold or removed from sale before August 6, 2012. There have been no illnesses reported. The cilantro is bunched and tied together with a brown rubber band. Each bunch has the following dimensions; 10 inches of length and 1 ¼ width. The individual bunches have no identifying labels or lot numbers. They were distributed in shipping cases labeled “Fresco Green Farms Inc., Hemet, CA. Produce of USA cilantro 2.5dz “ Consumers who may have purchased the cilantro should contact the store where hey purchased it to determine whether the cilantro was included in the recall.

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the USDA, which revealed that the cilantro harvested from July 18th to July 27th has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Dried mint recalled in Australia for Salmonella

Mint was becoming my new favorite herb. Got a plant growing out back and, even though bartenders complain, I’ve been making the occasional mojito.

But birds, animals and skinks all have to crap somewhere – and herbs are quite vulnerable to microbial contamination.

Grand Foods has recalled Mint Tr Kuru Nane (Tr) – dried mint from Grand Foods retail outlet in Campbellfield, Victoria due to Salmonella contamination. Food products contaminated with Salmonella may cause illness if consumed.

Yes, Amy’s drinking some rum drink out of a coconut, with mint. Sorenne is drinking juice.