NEWS SCAN: Salmonella outbreak, H5N1 in Egypt, pneumococcal vaccine, mumps outbreak

Mar 11, 2010

Salmonella outbreak grows, prompts fresh round of spice recalls
The number of patients sickened in a nationwide Salmonella outbreak has grown by four to 249 in 44 states, and lab findings in pepper products used in the salami and sausage products linked to the outbreak have now prompted a round of secondary recalls, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today. Two spice suppliers that sold black and red pepper to salami maker Daniele, Inc., Mincing Overseas Spice Company and Wholesome Spice Company, have issued product recalls. Two of Mincing's distributors, Dutch Valley Foods and Frontier Natural Products Co-op, have issued voluntary recalls of potentially contaminated products. Dutch Valley's recall applies to a variety of seasonings and dip mixes sold under the Bulk Foods, Inc., brand, and the Frontier recall involves several products containing black pepper that are marketed under the Frontier and Whole Foods Market brands. The FDA said in its investigation of the pepper supply chain it has collected 153 composite samples, representing more than 3,600 subsamples. So far four pepper products collected at Daniele Inc., have tested positive for Salmonella. A crushed red pepper sample from Wholesome Spice Company yielded the outbreak strain, and results are pending on the firm's ground red and whole black peppers and black pepper lot from Mincing. In its tests on pepper products that customers received from the two companies, two samples were positive for Salmonella, though not the Montevideo strain implicated in the outbreak. Those findings prompted Heartland Foods to recall coarse ground pepper and Mincing to recall a certain black pepper lot.
Mar 11 FDA update on Salmonella investigation

Shopper cards helped CDC trace Salmonella source
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used the shopper card system for the first time to trace foodborne illness clusters that were eventually linked to salami and sausage containing contaminated pepper, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Local and state health departments have previously used shopper card records to pin down food culprits, but this is the first time the CDC has successfully used the method.  Early in the investigation, the CDC suspected some type of Italian meat, but people who were sickened in the outbreak couldn't remember what brand they bought. Seven patients gave their permission for the CDC to trace their purchases, and supermarkets provided the purchase information. Of the seven, five had purchased meats produced by Daniele Inc., based in Rhode Island. Laboratory testing found Salmonella in black and red pepper used to coat some of the products.
Mar 10 AP story

Egypt reports new fatal H5N1 case
Egypt's health ministry yesterday reported a new H5N1 avian influenza fatality, a 20-year-old woman from Cairo governorate, according to a statement from the Egypt State Information Service. She got sick after exposure to infected birds in her house. No other details were available, including the date of her death. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the woman's case, along with the recent death of a 53-year-old man from Qualubia governorate, she will be listed as Egypt's 105th H5N1 case and 32nd death.

CDC panel recommends new pneumococcal vaccine for kids
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that a new, 13-valent formulation of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals' Prevnar pneumococcal vaccine be given to all children younger than 5, children younger than 6 with underlying conditions, and children who have gotten at least one dose of the four-dose series of the previous formulation, Prevnar 7 (PCV7). The new formulation (PCV13), approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 24, protects against 13 serotypes of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, 6 more than PCV7. The recommendation was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). In an accompanying article, the CDC says that, while the introduction of PCV7 suppressed disease caused by those serotypes by 76%, there was an increase in pneumococcal disease caused by other serotypes, 64% of which would have been prevented by PCV13.
Mar 11 CDC ACIP recommendation
Mar 11 CDC accompanying MMWR article

CDC issues mumps warning ahead of Passover
The CDC today e-mailed a health alert to clinicians warning about potential spread of mumps disease in the Hasidic Jewish community in connection with upcoming Passover holiday travel and urging those in contact with the communities to vaccinate themselves and their children with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The CDC urged people to get the vaccine before travel and gatherings for the holiday, which runs from Mar 30 through Apr 5. A mumps outbreak is affecting Hasidic populations in the Northeast, primarily in New York and New Jersey. The outbreak is also affecting Hasidic communities in Israel. The CDC recommends that healthcare providers who have Hasidic patients ensure that adults and children are current with their MMR vaccine and consider offering a second dose to adults who have received one dose. The second dose for children can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose.
CDC mumps resource page
Feb 12 MMWR article on mumps outbreak

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