News Scan for Nov 21, 2018

Pork roll Listeria cluster
Thanksgiving with a side of norovirus
Saudi MERS case
Dengue case in Florida

Listeria cluster prompts Vietnamese pork roll recall

An investigation into a cluster of listeriosis cases by federal health agencies prompted the recall yesterday of ready-to-eat Vietnamese-style pork patty rolls, according to a notice from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The recall applies to seven types of Long Phung brand patty rolls that were produced from May 21 to Nov 16, and they bear the establishment number "EST. 13561" inside the USDA inspection mark. The products were shipped to distributors and retailers nationwide.

The epidemiologic investigation identified four cases between Jul 1, 2017, and Oct 24, 2018. Whole-genome sequencing on samples collected from a Long Phung food facility showed they closely matched Listeria monocytogenes from sick patients. Health officials are working with federal and state partners to determine if more illnesses are related to the products.

The FSIS said it is concerned that the recalled products may still be in consumers' freezers. It urged people who bought the products to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase.
Nov 20 FSIS recall notice


Report details norovirus spread at a 2017 restaurant Thanksgiving feast

An investigation into 18 gastrointestinal illness complaints in people who had eaten Thanksgiving Day dinner at a Tennessee restaurant in 2017 found that point-source contamination occurred after a customer vomited, which probably led to transmission by aerosol, person-to-person, fomite, or foodborne routes. Investigators from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from Tennessee reported their findings today in the latest issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

After a restaurant patron vomited in a private dining room, an employee immediately used disinfectant spray labeled as effective against norovirus to clean up the area. After washing his or her hands, the employee served family-style platters of food and cut pecan pie.

That day the restaurant served 676 people, and it was able to help health officials with the outbreak investigation by providing contact and seating time and location information for 114 customers who had reservations. From that, health officials were able to enroll 137 (20% of the 676) in a case-control study.

Stool specimens confirmed norovirus in two patients as well as in an environmental sample collected from the underside of a table leg near where the customer vomited.

Of the foods that customers ate, only pecan pie was significantly associated with illnesses, but only 16 of 34 patients had eaten it. The vomiting event occurred around noon, and customers who seated during the 11 am to 1 pm period were significantly more likely to become ill.

Researchers concluded that norovirus probably spread through the restaurant by multiple routes and that inadequate employee hand washing probably facilitated foodborne transmission through servings of pecan pie.
Nov 23 MMWR report


MERS sickens another in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported one more MERS-CoV case for epidemiologic week 47, which involves a 29-year-old woman from Riyadh.

An investigation found she didn't have contact with camels before her MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) symptoms began, and she likely didn't contract the virus from another sick patient.

The woman's illness is the fourth case to be reported from Riyadh in November.

Her illness appears to lift the global total to 2,267 cases, at least 804 of them fatal, based on a recent update from the World Health Organization. The vast majority of cases have been in Saudi Arabia.
Nov 21 Saudi MOH update


Miami-Dade County records first locally transmitted dengue case of 2018

Officials from the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County (DOH-Miami-Dade) confirmed earlier this week the state's first case of locally transmitted dengue in 2018.

"DOH-Miami-Dade is working in conjunction with Miami-Dade County's Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division which has implemented its response protocol to eliminate breeding and adult mosquito activity in the area of the confirmed case," the agency said in a news release.

According to the Miami Herald, Florida has recorded 21 cases of locally acquired dengue in the past decade. The virus, which can be severe, is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same species that transmits Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses.

Florida officials are reminding residents of Miami-Dade County to drain standing water, empty and clean birdbaths and pet bowls at least one a week, and wear insect repellent to deter mosquito bites.
Nov 19 DOH-Miami-Dade press release
Nov 19 Miami Herald story

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