FDA announces new Salmonella outbreak; other investigations continue

FDA announces new Salmonella outbreak; other investigations continue

Federal officials have discovered a new outbreak of infections caused by Salmonella Infantis.

Investigators with the Food and Drug Administration have not yet determined what food or beverage is the source of the Salmonella. A dozen people have been confirmed sick, but the FDA has not reported their ages or where they live.

The agency has initiated traceback efforts but has not revealed what food or foods are being traced. It is not uncommon for the FDA to spend weeks investigating an outbreak without reporting what foods might be involved.

In another outbreak the number of confirmed patients continues to consistently increase week by week. There are now 53 patients in an outbreak of Salmonella Hartford compared to 50 a week ago and 47 two weeks ago.

The FDA has not released any specific information about the patients in the Salmonella Hartford outbreak, including where the patients live or what their ages are.

Investigation efforts include on-site inspection and collection of samples for testing, in addition to traceback work. The FDA has not revealed what food or foods are being traced and tested or where the on-site samples are being collected.

Other ongoing outbreaks
Investigation continues in an outbreak that has caused liver infections from the hepatitis A virus in five patients. Two of the patients have required hospitalization.

Patients range in age from their 30s through their 60s, according to the Washington State Department of Health. 

The outbreak has been traced to frozen, organic strawberries and recalls have been initiated for berries sold at Costco and a variety of other stores and under various brand names.

For an outbreak of infections from Listeria monocytogenes, the Food and Drug Administration is continuing traceback efforts. The source of the outbreak continues to be listed as unknown. 

The FDA has also begun on-site inspection and sample analysis but still hasn’t reported what food or locations are involved in the investigation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 11 people infected across 10 states. Ten of the patients have been so sick that they had to be admitted to hospitals. No deaths have been reported.

The outbreak is long-running with patients having been identified from July 2018 through January this year, according to the CDC. The patients range in age from 47 to 88 years old, with a median age of 73. One-fourth of the patients are female.

Public health officials are continuing to interview patients to find out what foods they ate in the weeks before becoming sick. It can take from a few days up to more than two months for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop.

The patients have been identified and linked using whole genome sequencing, which provides DNA fingerprints of the bacteria. The patients’ samples have the same genetic signatures, which shows they are all part of a single outbreak.

The sick people live across the country, suggesting nationally distributed food. The patients live in Washington, California, Colorado, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

In another outbreak, the FDA has identified enoki mushrooms distributed by Utopia Foods Inc. of Glendale, NY, and imported from China, and enoki mushrooms labeled as “Producer: Shandong Youhe Biotechnology, Co.,” with an address in China and “Distributed By: Sun Hong Foods Inc.” as likely sources of Listeria monocytogenes infections. 

Enoki mushrooms are long thin white mushrooms, usually sold in clusters. They are especially popular in East Asian cuisine and are also known as enokitake, golden needle, futu, seafood, or lily mushrooms. There have been about 20 recalls of a wide variety of brands of imported enoki mushrooms in the United States in the past two years because of contamination with Listeria.

As of its most recent outbreak update on Jan. 18, the CDC reported three patients included in this outbreak. Through ongoing import and product sampling of enoki mushrooms, two strains of Listeria monocytogenes detected on enoki mushroom products have been determined through Whole Genome Sequencing to be the same strains of Listeria monocytogenes linked to illnesses in this outbreak. Both strains are included in this outbreak investigation.

Additional sample collection and analysis conducted by the Maryland Department of Health have also identified both outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes in two product samples of enoki mushrooms. These products that tested positive have the following printed on their packaging “Producer: Shandong Youhe Biotechnology Co.,” with an address in China, and “Distributed By: Sun Hong Foods, Inc.”

Click on table to enlarge. Click here to go to FDA page with links to specific outbreaks.

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