NEWS SCAN: Papaya Salmonella cases up, anthrax case update, food re-inspection fee opposed, China reports polio cases

Aug 29, 2011

Papaya-linked Salmonella outbreak grows to 106
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued its final update on a Salmonella Agona outbreak linked to imported papayas from Mexico, which sickened 106 people in 25 states between Jan 1 and Aug 25. The final numbers reflect an increase of seven more patients in two more states since the CDC's last update on the outbreak on Jul 26. Earlier this year investigation linked the outbreak to eating fresh, whole papayas imported from Mexico by Agromod Produce, Inc, based in McAllen, Tex. On Jul 23 the company recalled the products that were distributed nationwide and to Canada through retail and wholesale outlets. On Aug 25 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned papaya imports from Mexico after finding Salmonella on 15% of Mexican papaya samples. The positive samples were from 28 different firms and included nearly all of Mexico's major papaya-growing regions.
Aug 29 CDC final outbreak update
Aug 25 CIDRAP News Scan

Anthrax patient in Minnesota had prior lung condition, is recovering
The patient who has been treated in a Minnesota hospital for inhalational anthrax is a man in his 60s who had a prior chronic lung condition that may have made him more susceptible to Bacillis anthracis infection, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) revealed in a recent update. The man was sick when he arrived in Minnesota in early August after traveling through several other states, including Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, where B anthracis is found in the soil and infections have occurred in animals. "He is recovering and he will be discharged in the near future," Minnesota State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield told CIDRAP News today. She said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized the B anthracis strain and noted that it has previously been found in the United States and Canada. The patient had "multiple exposures to soil and animal products" during his trip, the MDH said in its Aug 26 update. Lynfield said investigators have not been able to determine specifically where the exposure occurred. The illness is the first human anthrax case in Minnesota in several decades.
Aug 26 MDH update

Proposed FDA food-import re-inspection fee stirs opposition
There are signs of opposition to a food safety re-inspection fee that the FDA is authorized to charge under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, according to a report today in Food Safety News. The report says FDAImports.com LLC, a consulting firm for food and drug importers, is building a coalition of food importers and foreign food manufacturers to oppose the proposed reinspection fee, which aims to help cover the FDA's food inspection costs under the new law. The proposal would allow the FDA to collect a fee from importers if they have to re-examine a food shipment because of safety concerns. Some importers are concerned that the rule will be interpreted too loosely and have a major effect on the industry, and FDAImports is working to get businesses to voice their concern by submitting comments to the FDA. David Acheson, a former FDA official who is now a consultant with Leavitt partners, said it is unlikely that the fee would affect a "huge number" of food imports, according to the story.
Aug 29 Food Safety News story

China reports four imported polio cases
Chinese health authorities recently said they have detected four polio infections in the country's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region that were imported from Pakistan, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. The infections, which struck children ages 4 months to 2 years in the region's Hotan prefecture, were reported in early to mid July. Two of the patients have been released from the hospital and have recovered, and two are still hospitalized in stable condition, according to the report. China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus's Pakistan source was confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Though China borders three of the four countries where polio is endemic, before the recent outbreak it has been polio-free for 11 years, Xinhua reported. Pakistan has reported a rise in polio cases this year, and in July the WHO said wild polio virus type 3 (WPV3) had been isolated from a child in a remote federal tribal area, the first in Asia for 2011.
Aug 26 Xinhua story
Jul 7 WHO statement

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