FOOD SAFETY NEWS SCAN: Dog food Salmonella outbreak ends, HUS treatment, CDC raw-milk letter

Jul 19, 2012

CDC says dog food Salmonella outbreak is over
A Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to contact with dry dog food appears to be over, with 49 illnesses reported from 20 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday. The total represents an increase of 27 patients and 7 states over the CDC's last update on Jun 13. Two cases from Canada are also included in the CDC's total. Of 24 cases with available information, 10 (42%) patients were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. The CDC said yesterday that a sample from the facility and retail samples of dry food yielded the outbreak strain, plus a Salmonella Infantis strain with a second pulse-field gel electrophoresis pattern linked to 16 of the patients. The CDC said the additional strain was isolated from dry dog food collected from the home of a patient in Canada who was sick with a non-outbreak strain of Salmonella. The CDC first announced the outbreak on May 3, which was linked to multiple brands of dry dog food made by Diamond Pet Foods at a plant in South Carolina. The outbreak, the second linked to dry pet food, spurred the recall of several dog food brands.
Jul 18 CDC final outbreak update

Panel: Common HUS treatments in German EHEC outbreak showed little benefit
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) does not appear to respond to the monoclonal antibody drug eculizumab or to plasmapheresis with or without glucocorticoids, a European panel said today. In a study published in the British journal BMJ, the EHEC-HUS consortium, comprising mostly German physicians, reported on a retrospective case-control study involving 298 adult patients with EHEC-induced HUS from 23 hospitals in northern Germany. The patients were part of last year's outbreak linked to fenugreek seeds that affected 3,842 patients, including 855 with HUS. Of the patients, 251 (84%) were treated with plasmapheresis (174 with glucorticoids and 77 without), and 67 received eculizumab, a drug that was administered to more than 300 outbreak patients after a report early in the crisis showed promise in three children with HUS. Eculizumab was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last year for atypical HUS, but not for typical HUS. The consortium found no clear benefit from either plasmapheresis or eculizumab. They found some benefit of antibiotic treatment in those with established HUS but said more study is needed for that approach.
Jul 19 BMJ study

CDC stresses dangers of raw milk in letter to state officials
Stating that "the role of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in the transmission of infectious diseases is well documented," an official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscored in a letter yesterday to state and territorial public health departments the dangers of unpasteurized milk products. Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, also steered officials and outbreak investigators to an updated CDC Web site on raw milk. Tauxe said that, while good hygienic practices during milking can reduce the risk of foodborne illness, they cannot replace pasteurization to kill pathogens. He also noted that 82% of dairy-related outbreaks reported to the CDC from 1973 through 2009 were due to raw milk products and that 93 raw milk or raw cheese outbreaks from 1998 through 2009 caused 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths, mostly from E coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. Tauxe also suggested that state regulators should "consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products."
Jul 19 Food Safety News story on the letter

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