NEWS SCAN: Tempeh outbreak link confirmed, dog food recall expands, healthcare-associated infections

May 7, 2012

Tests confirm Salmonella outbreak strain in tempeh
Tests conducted at North Carolina's public health laboratory have confirmed that a Salmonella strain that prompted a recent tempeh recall matches a strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B that has so far sickened 46 people, according a May 4 statement from the Buncombe County Department of Health (BCDH). The BCDH said even though the food source has been identified, it is continuing to receive illness reports due to person-to-person transmission of the outbreak strain. It repeated its advice for the public to wash their hands before preparing food and to properly prepare food. Some of the patients have gotten sick by exposure to food items that were contaminated by uncooked tempeh. Lab tests have also revealed that the Salmonella Paratyphi B strain involved in the outbreak causes nontyphoidal Salmonella infection that can be severe, but not as severe as another strain that testing first indicated. So far seven hospitalizations have been reported, none of them fatal.
May 4 BCDH press release

Salmonella concerns spark recall of 11 more dog food brands
Diamond Pet Foods has recalled several more brands of dry dog food made at its Gaston, S.C., production facility where three other brands were made that have been linked to a multistate Salmonella Infantis outbreak. In a May 5 statement, the company said additional products subject to the recall have tested positive for Salmonella and that products are being pulled from store shelves as a precaution. The nine brands are Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health, Taste of the Wild, and Kirkland Signature, according to the recall notice. The brands were manufactured between Dec 9, 2011, and Apr 7, 2012. Diamond Pet Foods has set up a Web site to share information with customers on the recalls, which also lists two additional recalled brands, Canidae and Apex. On May 3 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 14 people in nine states have been sickened from the outbreak strain, which was first identified in routine product sampling by Michigan officials.
May 5 FDA recall notice
Study: Healthcare-associated infections lead to higher readmission rates
Patients who contract healthcare-associated infections may be at a higher risk of readmission to the hospital, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). University of Maryland researchers analyzed data from 4,737 patients who had positive clinical cultures for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), or Clostridium difficile after more than 48 hours following hospital admission. They found that patients with these infections were 40% more likely than other patients to be readmitted to the hospital within a year (hazard ratio 1.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-1.46). The increased risk held after adjustment for variables such as age, sex, length of stay, and illness severity. "The potential to reduce readmissions along with other known benefits—lower patient morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs—may provide additional impetus to reduce healthcare-associated infections," lead researcher Jon Furuno, PhD, said in a SHEA new release.
June Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol study
May 4 SHEA news release

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