Monthly Archives: September 2019


Oysters from Mexico region linked to gastrointestinal illness outbreak, California officials say

By Madeline Farber | Fox News https://www.foxnews.com/health/california-oysters-mexico-gastrointestinal-illness-outbreak

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) https://www.cdph.ca.gov/ says oysters harvested from Baja California Sur, Mexico are linked to a gastrointestinal illness outbreak in California. The CDPH said 12 people between [February and April 2019] have reported getting sick after eating raw oysters from stores and restaurants in San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Santa Barbara County.

The investigation is ongoing, but so far, laboratory testing of oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon revealed 6 different toxic pathogens, including non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing _E. coli_ https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborne-pathogens/bad-bug-book-second-editionMexican authorities are also investigating.

The CDPH says shellfish sold at stores and restaurants is required to have tags indicating where the product is from. People who become ill after eating raw oysters or undercooked shellfish should contact a doctor, the CDPH says. The CDPH also says shellfish should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature. The department also warns against quick steaming.

1,300 hit by food poisoning in Mexico

By News Desk            https://www.foodsafetynews.com/author/newsdesk/       on May 2, 2019

More than 1,300 people have suffered suspected food poisoning in the Mexican state of Veracruz https://www.oecd.org/education/imhe/46827070.pdf after eating cake.

The Veracruz government reported that 1,358 people were treated in eight hospitals and clinics. People ate the cake, described as being in “poor condition” as part of a celebration of Children’s Day, https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/mexico/children-day which is marked every April 30 in Mexico.

The Ministry of Health of Veracruz https://www.devex.com/organizations/ministry-of-health-mexico-52587 posted a statement on Facebook confirming medical attention was given to intoxicated adults, infants and three pregnant women.

According to a health agency in Veracruz (SESVER), ingestion of contaminated food happened during an event organized by a non-governmental organization which distributed tamales, cake and beverages. A tamale https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamale is made with ground meat packed in dough, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed.

The non-governmental organization World Vision Mexico https://worldvisionmexico.org.mx/ issued a statement saying food for the event was provided by different organizations and it was working with authorities to determine the cause of the illnesses.

Between two and four hours after the event, infants had abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Initial evaluations did not find severe cases or deaths but emergency care continues and more patients are expected due to any incubation period.

In Tehuipango, Tlaquilpa, Zongolica and Río Blanco additional clinics were set up and children have been treated at the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2016-2017/americas/mexico.html.

Tests on food samples are being conducted by another agency to find the origin of the poisoning and results are expected in the next few days.

Another food poisoning in Guerrero
Meanwhile in another incident, about 200 people, mostly children, suffered food poisoning in the Mexican state of Guerrero https://www.britannica.com/place/Guerrero.

The source is suspected to be pozole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozole – a type of stew or soup – which was consumed in celebration of Children’s Day. The incident happened in Mezcalcingo, a town in Chilapa.

Of those sick, 60 were initially reported as seriously ill but the secretary of health, Carlos de la Peña Pintos, later reported that infants who ate food in poor condition were out of danger and stable.

A total of 108 people were taken to Hueycantenango, a city in José Joaquín de Herrera for treatment. The governor, Hector Astudillo Flores, said the navy https://www.navy.mil/, Red Cross https://www.redcross.org/ and emergency response teams were involved.

Dates from Iran linked to Hepatitis A outbreak for second time in 2 years

By Joe Whitworth  https://www.foodsafetynews.com/author/jwhitworth/ on May 1, 2019

Officials are investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborne-pathogens/bad-bug-book-second-edition

 in Sweden related to dates from Iran that are suspected to be the source of the infections.

The Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten), https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/the-public-health-agency-of-sweden/

and National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/en

the relevant infectious disease units and municipalities are investigating to identify the source of infections.

Officials from Folkhälsomyndigheten and Livsmedelsverket told Food Safety News https://www.foodsafetynews.com

that hepatitis A cases are reported to the national database. At that point the suspected source of infection is often unknown.

“We observed an increase of domestically acquired hepatitis A virus infections with genotype IIIA strains, a genotype which we usually associate with travel-related cases in Sweden,” they said.

Since the end of February, nine cases of the viral infection have been linked to the outbreak, with the last one reported on April 16. Eight of the patients are confirmed and have the same type of hepatitis A infections from the genotype IIIA, which is also known as 3A. The ninth patient’s infection is suspected to be the same.

Patients are between the ages of 28 and 73. Five are men and four are women. They are from seven counties: Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala, Skåne, Södermanland, Kalmar, and Halland.

The investigation has not yet identified one brand of dates or a joint producer.

“The cases (patients) reported consumption of dates https://www.foodsafetynews.com/tag/hepatitis-a-outbreak/

of different brands from different suppliers on the Swedish market but all dates are from Iran. Cases have bought dates from different supermarkets. The regional departments of communicable disease control are interviewing the cases. The dates have a long shelf life so it´s still too early to say that the outbreak is over.”

Outbreak in Denmark last year
In eight confirmed outbreak patients in 2018, four different strains from genotype IIIA were detected. Two of the Swedish patients have similar virus strains to those found in an outbreak in Denmark in 2018 linked to dates from Iran.

In the Danish outbreak, 27 people fell ill from December 2017 to February 2018, with 22 admitted to hospitals. Dates from Iran were imported by RM Import A/S and sold in Rema1000. Norway also reported one case as part of the outbreak.

In the 2018 outbreak, several variants of genotype IIIA strains were detected in patients. One of the outbreak strains was also detected in dates.

Folkhälsomyndigheten and Livsmedelsverket reported there are no ISO methods for detection of Hepatitis A on dates.

“The National Food Agency has used a similar method as Denmark used last year when they were able to detect hepatitis A virus in dates. After steps of elution with wash buffer and concentration of the virus, molecular analyses with PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is used to detect the virus. So far no viruses have been found in the different samples of dates but further analyses are ongoing,” according to agency officials.

Representatives from the agencies confirmed they had shared information on the outbreak strains with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, but no other countries had seen them so far this year.

Additional consumer information on hepatitis A https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/hepatitisaoutbreaks.htm

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness, including liver failure. It can take up to 50 days for symptoms to appear. Some infected people don’t develop symptoms at all, but they are contagious and can easily contaminate foods and beverages they prepare or otherwise handle.

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infectious person.

The incubation period is usually 14 to 28 days. Symptoms include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Recovery following infection may be slow and take several weeks or months.