NEWS SCAN: Salmonella outbreaks in cantaloupe, pastries; measles battle in DRC

Mar 29, 2011

Updates on Salmonella outbreaks linked to cantaloupe, pastries
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that it has received another report of a patient sickened in a Salmonella Panama outbreak linked to cantaloupe, pushing the outbreak total to 13 from 5 states. The newest report appears to be Colorado's first case-patient linked to the outbreak. So far, three patients were hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Epidemiologic investigations found that 12 of the patients ate cantaloupe before they got sick. On Mar 22 Del Monte Fresh Produce recalled certain cantaloupe shipments from a grower in Guatemala after illness reports surfaced. Federal officials, state partners, and the company are still investigating the outbreak. So far the outbreak strain has not been found in the cantaloupe.
Mar 29 CDC update
In other outbreak developments, an 80-year-old Rhode Island man who was sickened in a Salmonella outbreak linked to tainted pastry from one of the state's bakeries has died from his infection, the Providence Journal reported today. The focus of the Rhode Island Department of Health Department (RIDH) investigation is Italian pastries from DeFusco's Bakery in Johnston. The products were distributed to several outlets, including a grocery store, other bakeries, a catering operation, and a senior center. So far the RIDH has received reports of 33 suspected illnesses, of which 17 led to hospitalization, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. The department said in a Mar 27 statement that the most likely source of the illness is contaminated zeppole pastries that may have come in contact with raw eggs. The bakery apparently stored pastry shells in egg crates, which could have exposed them to raw eggs.
Mar 29 AP story
Mar 27 RIDH press release

Group sounds alarm over DRC measles outbreak
A measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is "spreading like wildfire," Doctors Without Borders said yesterday in a statement that also included pleas for the country's government to make the epidemic a national priority and for the international community to assist with the response. The group said so far 21,000 cases have been detected in the last 6 months, and although 1.5 million children have been vaccinated, the disease is rapidly spreading north with no signs of slowing. Gael Hankenne, head of the group's mission in the DRC, said in the statement that it is the only group involved in the hands-on response. Another officials from the group said that without a quick international response, responders will be unable to stop the spread of the disease.
Mar 28 Doctors Without Borders press release

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