Category Archives: foodborne disease

Research – Lab work in South Africa’s Listeria outbreak was ‘remarkable’

Food Safety News

Researchers have described how a laboratory handled increased demand during the 2017-2018 listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) and epidemiological data were used to determine the source of the outbreak as ready-to-eat processed meat manufactured by Enterprise Foods.

A total of 1,060 cases were reported from January 2017 to July 2018 and 216 people died.

The largest ever reported outbreak of listeriosis included an alert in mid-June 2017, a peak in mid-November 2017, and identification of the outbreak source in mid-February 2018.

“This eight-month timeline was rather remarkable, considering the large number of cases involved and the limited capacity and resources available for foodborne disease outbreak investigations in South Africa,” according to researchers.

The study is published in the Foodborne Pathogens and Disease journal

USA – Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak Grows to 196 Sick

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak has now sickened at least 196 people in 10 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-eight people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No one has died. That’s an addition of 19 more ill persons since the last update on April 26, 2019.

Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak Grows to 196 Sick

Information – Advice CDC – Do not rinse chicken!


Americans eat more chicken every year than any other meat. Chicken can be a nutritious choice, but raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and sometimes with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. If you eat undercooked chicken or other foods or beverages contaminated by raw chicken or its juices, you can get a foodborne illness, which is also called food poisoning.

That’s why it’s important to take special care when handling and preparing chicken.


Information – WHO to help countries estimate foodborne diseases

Food Safety News

GENEVA — The World Health Organization’s leaders say it will help countries estimate their respective foodborne disease burdens.

Kazuaki Miyagishima, director of food safety and zoonoses and foodborne diseases at the international organization, said there are plans to equip countries with a tool to provide national estimates. It is expected to be available later this year.

He said nations need to demonstrate and estimate the burden of foodborne diseases to make a strong case to invite investors to come to food safety. Estimates will allow countries to make the point for sustained investments in the area.

USA – Outbreak of E. coli Infections – E.coli O103 STEC


Latest Outbreak Information
Illustration of a megaphone.
At A Glance


Photo of romaine lettuce in a wood bowl.

  • A total of 109 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from six states.
    • Seventeen people have been hospitalized. No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, have been reported. No deaths have been reported.
  • Preliminary epidemiologic information suggests that ground beef is the source of this outbreak.
    • Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants.
    • Traceback investigations are ongoing to determine the source of ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where ill people ate.
  • At this time, no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified.
  • CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid eating ground beef at this time. Consumers and restaurants should handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness.
  • At this time, CDC is not recommending that retailers stop serving or selling ground beef.
  • This is a rapidly evolving investigation. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Canada -Health unit pinpoints bacteria in Strathroy Portuguese Club food poisoning -Clostridium perfringens

Global News

CDC Clost perf

Image CDC

The investigation gathered food samples from the event and stool samples from those who attended.

In lab reports, Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin turned up in two stool samples and Clostridium perfringens was found in a sample of roast beef — the former is what the latter bacteria turns into once digested.

“We did take other food samples… it was only the roast beef that came back growing bacteria,” said Mary Lou Albanese, the manager of infectious disease for the MLHU.

Albanese added that the bacteria is quick-moving, often making people ill within 12 hours after ingesting.



Research – Estimate of the annual burden of foodborne illness in nondeployed active duty US Army Service Members: five major pathogens, 2010–2015

In this study, we estimate the burden of foodborne illness (FBI) caused by five major pathogens among nondeployed US Army service members. The US Army is a unique population that is globally distributed, has its own food procurement system and a food protection system dedicated to the prevention of both unintentional and intentional contamination of food. To our knowledge, the burden of FBI caused by specific pathogens among the US Army population has not been determined. We used data from a 2015 US Army population survey, a 2015 US Army laboratory survey and data from FoodNet to create inputs for two model structures. Model type 1 scaled up case counts of Campylobacter jejuniShigella spp., Salmonella enterica non-typhoidal and STEC non-O157 ascertained from the Disease Reporting System internet database from 2010 to 2015. Model type 2 scaled down cases of self-reported acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) to estimate the annual burden of Norovirus illness. We estimate that these five pathogens caused 45 600 (5%–95% range, 30 300–64 000) annual illnesses among nondeployed active duty US Army Service members. Of these pathogens, Norovirus, Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella enterica non-typhoidal were responsible for the most illness. There is a tremendous burden of AGI and FBI caused by five major pathogens among US Army Soldiers, which can have a tremendous impact on readiness of the force. The US Army has a robust food protection program in place, but without a specific active FBI surveillance system across the Department of Defence, we will never have the ability to measure the effectiveness of modern, targeted, interventions aimed at the reduction of specific foodborne pathogens.