FOODBORNE DISEASE SCAN: Salmonella in live poultry, E coli outbreak in frozen foods, foodborne illness in Canada

May 10, 2013

CDC reports 207 cases of salmonellosis linked to live poultry
Two new multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections from mail-order live poultry have sickened 207 people and hospitalized 39, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in two updates. The first outbreak involves 146 people infected with Salmonella Typhimurium in 26 states. Patients range in age from less than 1 year to 70, but 66% are 10 years old or younger. Of 91 patients with available data, 27 (30%) were hospitalized. Illness-onset dates range from Mar 4 to Apr 26. Of 88 people interviewed, 84 (94%) had contact with live poultry such as chicks, chickens, ducks, or ducklings before becoming ill. Almost all who had purchasing information said they bought live baby poultry from 13 different agricultural feed stores in multiple states.
May 10 CDC Salmonella Typhimurium update
The second outbreak comprises 61 cases in 18 states and involves Salmonella Infantis and Mbandaka strains. Patients range in age from less than 1 year to 88 years, and 48% are 10 years old or younger. Among 34 patients with available data, 12 (35%) have been hospitalized. Illness-onset dates range from Mar 8 to Apr 22. "Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis and Salmonella Mbandaka infections to contact with chicks, ducklings, and other live baby poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio," the CDC said. The agency first alerted the public to the outbreaks on Apr 25 but had no case details at that point. Last year the CDC reported three separate outbreaks linked to live chicks, involving at least 334 cases.
May 10 CDC Salmonella Infantis and Mbandaka update
Apr 25 CIDRAP News item on initial announcement

E coli outbreak linked to frozen foods expands to 35 cases
The CDC also announced today 3 more Escherichia coli O121 infections linked to Farm Rich frozen food snacks, raising the outbreak total to 35. One additional state—Missouri—has been affected since the previous update on Apr 26, raising the total to 19. Nine patients have been hospitalized, two of them with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication. Investigations so far point to the Farm Rich products as one likely outbreak source. Officials earlier found the E coli O121 outbreak strain in two different products from the homes of sick patients. The outbreak was first announced on Mar 29, and the company has recalled more than 10.5 million pounds of not fully cooked frozen mini meals and snack items.
May 10 CDC E coli update

Study: 1 in 8 Canadians hit by foodborne disease each year
One in eight Canadians gets sick from foodborne pathogens each year, with norovirus far and away the leading culprit, researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) estimated in a study yesterday in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. That rate is slightly below the US rate of one in six, the PHAC noted in a summary of the study. The researchers tracked illnesses from 30 pathogens known to cause foodborne illness, as well as acute gastrointestinal illness caused by unspecified agents. The known pathogens caused an estimated 1.6 million infections (range, 1.2 million to 2.0 million) from 2000 through 2010, or about 40% of the estimated 4 million total cases (range, 3.1 million to 5.0 million), with the unspecified agents accounting for the rest. Four pathogens accounted for 89% of all illnesses from known pathogens: norovirus (65%), Clostridium perfringens (11%), Campylobacter (8%), and Salmonella (5%). The PHAC said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using similar methods, found the annual US incidence of foodborne illness to be about one in six.
May 9 Foodborne Pathog Dis abstract
May 9 PHAC summary of the study

This week's top reads