NEWS SCAN: H5N1 infections in Egypt, E coli turns up in ground beef samples, more food contamination updates

Jul 1, 2009

Egypt, WHO report three new H5N1 cases
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed three new H5N1 avian influenza cases that were reported in early and mid June by Egypt's health ministry. All are young children who are recovering. The first patient is a 1-year-old boy from Domiat governorate who got sick on Jun 1 and was hospitalized and treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) the next day. He was discharged on Jun 9. The second patient is a 4-year-old girl from Dakhlia governorate who became ill on Jun 5 and was hospitalized and given Tamiflu the following day. She was released from the hospital on Jun 14. The third patient is a 1-year-old boy from Kefr el Sheikh governorate who started feeling sick on Jun 15 and was hospitalized and placed on Tamiflu the next day. He is in stable condition. The WHO said the source of infection in all three of the cases was close contact with sick and dead poultry. The three new cases raise Egypt's H5N1 total to 81, 27 of them fatal. They raise the world's number of H5N1 cases to 436, which includes 262 deaths.
[Jul 1 WHO statement]

Michigan officials find E coli outbreak strain in ground beef samples
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that Michigan's public health laboratory has identified the Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak strain that trigged a recall of about 421,000 pounds of beef products from JBS Swift Beef Company in unopened packages of ground beef from a patient's home. Several state health departments, the CDC, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are investigating the outbreak. So far 23 cases with the matching genetic fingerprint have been reported from nine states: California, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Wisconsin. Most ill patients reported eating ground beef, and many said it was undercooked. The first illness was reported Apr 2, and the last one began on Jun 13. Of 17 patients for whom hospitalization status is known, 12 (70%) were hospitalized. Two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney condition.
[Jul 1 CDC ground beef E coli outbreak update]

CDC reports slight rise in cookie dough E coli cases
The number of patients sickened in an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to prepackaged raw cookie dough has grown to 72 in 30 states, the CDC reported yesterday. The updated numbers are an increase of three cases and 1 state since the CDC's last report on Jun 25. Case control studies showed a strong link between being sick with the outbreak strain and eating raw Nestle Toll House cookie dough. Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found E coli O157:H7 in a sample taken at the Danville, Va., facility where the dough is produced. Further testing is under way to determine if it matches the outbreak strain.
[Jun 30 CDC cookie dough E coli outbreak update]

Companies pull products due to Salmonella concerns
Two companies have removed products containing food ingredients made by a Minnesota company that may be contaminated with Salmonella. Dunkin' Donuts pulled its hot chocolate and Dunkaccino beverages from its menu as a precautionary measure, though none of the products were contaminated, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. Meanwhile, Traditions, a Pearl, Miss., company today recalled its boxed prepackaged meal kits that contain aseparate portion of instant nonfat dry milk. The FDA had previously announced a recall on the dried milk, made by Plainview Milk Products Cooperative on Jun 28. The recall involves the past 2 years of the company's food ingredient products, which might be tainted with Salmonella. The USDA had found Salmonella in a dairy shake ingredient, which led to an investigation that found some contamination on equipment at Plainview's plant.
[Jul 1 USDA recall notice]

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