Food Outbreak Scan for Apr 25, 2018

Dozens more lettuce E coli cases
Listeria in South Africa

CDC: 31 more sickened by E coli-tainted romaine lettuce

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 31 more cases of foodborne illness in a multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. There are now84 ill people from 19 states (3 more states than the last update on Apr 18) identified in this outbreak.

To date there have been no deaths in the outbreak, but the CDC said nine patients have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, one of the most severe outcomes of E coli infections.  

Typically, outbreaks caused by E coli O157:H7 result in a 30% hospitalization rate, the CDC said, but this outbreak, which was first reported by the CDC on Apr 10, has yielded a hospitalization rate of 54%. Officials are working to determine why this strain is causing more hospitalizations. Dates of first symptoms range from Mar 13 to Apr 12.

According to the CDC, 64 (96%) of 67 people interviewed reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. The romaine is from a growing region around Yuma, Ariz., and most commonly served pre-chopped in salads.

"Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region," the CDC said. "Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown."
Apr 25 CDCupdate


South Africa's Listeria outbreak slows, but case total still growing

South Africa continues to report more illnesses in its Listeria outbreak linked to a ready-to-eat meat product, the world's largest of its kind.

In an Apr 20 update, the country's health department said eight more cases were reported during the previous week, one of which occurred in October 2017. As of Apr 17, the number of confirmed cases had risen to 1,019, with 199 deaths reported so far.

The outbreak has had been linked to polony, a meat product similar to bologna, from an Enterprise Foods production facility. Polony samples from the factory tested positive for the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak strain. The products were recalled on Mar 4, and although cases have declined since then, 50 more cases have been reported. The disease has a long incubation period of up to 70 days, and implicated products have a long shelf life. At the height of the recall, the health department was recording 30 new cases each week.

In March, World Health Organization raised concerns about the outbreak, given that the polony products had been exported to 15 African countries.
Apr 20 South Africa Department of Health outbreak update

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