News Scan for Nov 27, 2019

More romaine E coli illnesses
Hepatitis A and blackberries
Global measles cases

CDC: 27 more people sickened with E coli in romaine outbreak 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that 27 more people have been sickened in an Escherichia coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce grown near Salinas, California. The outbreak total now stands at 67 people in 19 states, with 3 states reporting their first cases. 

"CDC advises that consumers not eat and retailers not sell any romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas, California, growing region. This includes all use-by dates and brands of romaine lettuce from this region," the agency said. Most romaine lettuce is labeled with a growing region, but if a growing region is not provided, the CDC recommends not eating the lettuce.

Thirty-nine people have been hospitalized because of their illnesses, including six case-patients who have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Wisconsin has reported the most cases, with 21, followed by Ohio (12). Maryland and California each have reported four cases.
Nov 26 CDC update


Blackberries from Fresh Thyme markets implicated in hepatitis A outbreak 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A is potentially linked to conventional (non-organic) blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery stores.

"Based on the epidemiological information collected in the investigation thus far, ill patients reported consuming fresh conventional blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in five states: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin," the FDA said in a statement.

Fourteen people have fallen ill in those five states, according to a CDC update last week, with the most recent illness onset reported as Nov 15. Eight people have been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths. The FDA warned that Fresh Thyme stores in 11 states—Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—sold possibly contaminated berries.

The FDA is urging consumers in those states to toss any Fresh Thyme blackberries bought between Sep 9 and Sep 30. If consumers in those 11 states have eaten the conventional blackberries in the past 2 weeks, the FDA suggests they talk to a healthcare provider about obtaining post-exposure prophylaxis for hepatitis A.
Nov 26 FDA
Nov 20 CDC update


Global measles count tops 440,000 cases 

The World Health Organization (WHO) today released new information about the global reach of measles in 2019, and said so far this year member nations have reported 440,263 measles cases.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been hit especially hard, with an 250,270 suspected cases and 5,110 associated deaths. Guinea, Chad, Madagascar, and Nigeria are also experiencing large outbreaks. 

In the WHO's European region, which includes parts of Asia, Ukraine has reported the most cases, with 56,802 cases, followed by Kazakhstan with 10,126 cases and Georgia with 3,904 cases. The Ukrainian outbreak has been tied to cases in the United States this year.

Elsewhere, outbreaks in Brazil, Bangladesh, and the Philippines also drove up global case counts. 

"Even with implementation of routine immunization, measles continues to circulate globally due to suboptimal vaccination coverage and population immunity gaps. Any community with less than 95% population immunity is at risk for an outbreak," the WHO said. Many of the nations facing outbreaks have conducted ongoing vaccination campaigns with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

According to WHO data, there were 408,225 confirmed measles cases worldwide at the same time in 2018.
Nov 27 WHO measles
WHO measles and rubella
surveillance data 

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation Gilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by


  Become an underwriter»