NEWS SCAN: Low-path H5N1 in Germany, turtle-linked Salmonella, Campylobacter in raw milk, FSMA comment deadline

Feb 18, 2013

Low-path H5N1 outbreak hits German duck farm
Veterinary officials in Germany today reported a low-pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at a poultry farm in Brandenburg state, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). An Associated Press (AP) story said ducks were housed at the farm, which is located in the town of Seelow, about 40 miles east of Berlin near the border with Poland. The virus sickened 22 of the ducks, and authorities culled the remaining 14,500 to control spread of the disease. The source of the virus is unknown, according to the OIE report. Confirmation tests on samples from the ducks were done at the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. Germany's last low-pathogenic H5 outbreak was in late December when the virus struck a farm in Schleswig-Holstein state, located in the northern part of the country.
Feb 18 OIE report

Two more Salmonella outbreaks linked to turtles raise cases to 347
Two more Salmonella outbreaks tied to pet turtles have been added to the list of overlapping outbreaks under investigation, bringing the total to eight, with 347 cases in all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Feb 15. That's 49 more cases than reported in the last update on Dec 6, 2012. The outbreaks have affected people in 37 states and Washington, DC, up from 34 states 2 months ago. One of the latest outbreaks includes 19 infections with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- in five states; the other one consists of 43 cases of Salmonella Typhimurium in 11 states and Washington, DC. A total of 10 patients in the two outbreaks were hospitalized, but there have been no deaths. In the outbreaks overall, 28% of patients have been hospitalized. Seventy percent of patients have been under 10 years old, 70% have reported exposure to turtles, and 44% have been Hispanic. A third of the patients reported buying pet turtles from street vendors, while 11% bought them from pet stores. Because of the Salmonella risk, the sale of pet turtles with shells less than 4 inches long has been banned since 1975.
Feb 15 CDC update
Related Dec 7, 2012, CIDRAP News item
CDC map of affected states

Raw milk suspected in Campylobacter infections in Alaska
At least four people in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula recently suffered Campylobacter infections after drinking raw milk, the Alaska Division of Public Health (DPH) said in a Feb 15 health advisory. The four people were infected with Campylobacter isolates that were matched by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. In addition, at least one person with a probable infection also reported drinking raw milk, and an infant in close contact with a confirmed case-patient has a suspected case, the statement said. The strain identified in the cases has not been seen in Alaska before, it said.
Feb 15 Alaska DPH notice

FDA extends comment deadline for info gathering under FSMA rules
Stakeholders will get another 3 months to comment on the information-gathering provisions of two proposed rules related to the Food Safety Modernization Act, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced. The FDA had set a Feb 15 deadline for comments on the information-collection parts of the rules on produce safety and preventive controls, but the deadline has been changed to May 16, the agency said in a Federal Register notice. That's the deadline for commenting on other aspects of the proposed rules. The FDA said it extended the deadline in response to requests from stakeholders. The United Fresh Produce Association had requested an extension last week. The information-gathering provisions are subject to review by the White House Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
Feb 19 Federal Register notices concerning the preventive controls and produce safety rules
Related Feb 13 CIDRAP News item

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