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Multistate Outbreak – Salmonella Chicken Lawsuit Likely

It is not surprising to hear Salmonella illness related to chicken.  It is just about common knowledge that there is a risk of Salmonella infection when chicken is improperly handled or cooked.  What should not be common, though, is Salmonella outbreaks.  Especially Salmonella outbreaks of drug-resistant strains. But yet again, here we are.  A Salmonella outbreak often occurs when the food product is grossly contaminated, making it more likely for those handling or consuming it to become ill.  Information about this latest outbreak of Salmonella Infantis are being uncovered as the investigation trucks on and the likelihood of a Salmonella chicken lawsuit or lawsuits.

In the meantime, here is what you need to know.

What You Need to Know About the Outbreak

As of October 17, 2018, 92 people across 29 states have been linked to this outbreak with Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts being the hardest hit.  Currently there have been 11 reported cases in Pennsylvania. 10 in New York. 9 in New Jersey and Massachusetts.  Ohio has 7 reported cases.  Illinois has seen 5.  North Carolina with, Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri have 3.  Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texan, Virginia, and Washington have 2 cases each.  The states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Tennessee have 1 reported case.

These reported cases are only as accurate as the currently released data and many other cases may not be documented due to the infected individual being healthy enough to recover without medical treatment.  Those cases, unfortunately, are often unreported.  So far people have been hospitalized with Salmonella Infantis linked to this outbreak.  No deaths have been reported so far.

Two big issues are at play here.  No source has been narrowed, and multiple antibiotic resistance makes this illness more difficult to treat.

The CDC did, however, provide a link to a previous pet food investigation from earlier in the year. There may be a possible link between this outbreak (1 person was confirmed sick from exposure to raw pet food) and this earlier investigation. According to the FDA’s website, there was an investigation and a warning letter concerning raw pet foods made by Arrow Reliance Inc., including Darwin’s Natural Pet Products and ZooLogics Pet Food in early 2018. Among the laundry list of found contaminants, Salmonella was found in:

  • Natural Selections Chicken with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #43887, manufacture date 1/30/18, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 3/26/2018
  • ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #4403743887, manufacture date 2/7/18, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 3/26/2018
  • Natural Selections Duck with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #44147, manufacture date 2/5/18, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 3/26/2018
  • ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #41957, manufacture date 11/16/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 2/10/18
  • ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #41567, manufacture date 11/2/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 2/10/18
  • Natural Selections Duck with Organic Vegetables Meals for dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #40487, manufacture date 9/29/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 12/04/17
  • Natural Selections Chicken with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes
    Lot #40727, manufacture date 9/26/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 12/04/17
  • Natural Selections Turkey with Organic Vegetables Meals for Dogs, due to Salmonella
    Lot #39937, manufacture date 8/24/17 and Lot #40507, manufacture date 9/20/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 12/04/17
  • Natural Selections Duck Meals for Cats, due to potential contamination with Salmonella
    Lot #38277, manufacture date 6/1/17, in 2 lb. flexible film packages, recalled on 09/08/17

What You Need to Know About the Investigation

At this time, evidence is not linking the outbreak strain to a single source.  Current epidemiologic and laboratory evidence (patient interviews and tested samples) indicate that many types of raw chicken products from several different sources are contaminated with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis.

According to patient interviews, different types of chicken products under different brands were consumed prior to becoming ill.  The outbreak strain has been linked to food samples taken from raw chicken products, raw chicken pet food, and even live chickens.

The investigation has uncovered antibiotic resistance to several antibiotics.  Laboratory testing indicated to resistance to antibiotics: ampicillin, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, fosfomycin, gentamicin, hygromycin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracylcin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued advice to clinicians on which treatment to pursue, though the process to link a patient to the outbreak may present a lag in correct administration of treatment.

As a preventative measure, the CDC and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety Investigative Service (FSIS) – the governing body for food inspection in chicken production has shared investigation information throughout the chicken industry and asked about steps that each facility could take to reduce Salmonella contamination.

What You Need to Know About How the Outbreak is Investigated

When a patient becomes ill with what seems to be a potentially foodborne illness, their doctor will request a test to screen for the potential culprit.  Depending on the results of that test, the data from the patient sample will be uploaded into PulseNet – a “national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the CDC.”   A type of testing known as DNA fingerprinting is obtained on the sample to determine the specific genetic information of the strain infecting the patient.  With this specific information, data can be compared to other patients and food samples to link cases to other patients and potential sources of infection.  When samples are closely genetically related, they are most likely from a common source.

Patient interviews help narrow down the source to give investigators a place to start.  In this outbreak, 89% of those interviewed reported preparing and/or eating chicken products purchased raw.  Chicken products included ground chicken, chicken pieces, and whole chicken.  They were asked what brands they purchased and where they got them from.  In this outbreak, interviewed patients indicated many different brands from multiple stores.  Patient interviews can uncover other clues to help investigators narrow down the source.  “One person got sick after pets in their home ate raw ground chicken pet food.”  Recently the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a recall on raw pet food.    Another interviewed patient lives in the same home as a person who works in a facility that raises or processes chickens.

Armed with patient interview information, FSIS and FDA investigators looked for potential sources.  Samples were obtained from slaughter and processing establishments as part of FSIS’s routine testing procedures under the current Salmonella performance standards.  Samples from 58 facilities tested positive for genetically similar strains to the Salmonella Infantis strain identified in outbreak patient samples.  “This result provides evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from handling or eating raw or undercooked chicken.”

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis has been identified in samples from raw chicken pet food, from raw chicken products from 58 slaughter and/or processing establishments, and from live chickens.  Samples collected at slaughter and processing establishments were collected as part of FSIS’s routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. Furthermore, WGS showed that the Salmonella from these samples is closely related genetically to the Salmonella from ill people.  This result provides more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from handling or eating raw or undercooked chicken.

What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family

All chicken products should be considered contaminated.  Expect that germs are present and take precautions as needed to keep you family safe.  You can do this by cleaning hands, cooking tools, and surfaces.  Proper handwashing should be with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds – consider singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to be sure you wash long enough.  You can use a diluted bleach solution – one tablespoon unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water – to sanitize food contact surfaces.  Fresh bleach solution should be prepared each time.

Separating raw and ready-to-eat food items is also essential to prevent the spread of germs.  From the grocery cart, to the shopping bag, to the refrigerator, to the prep counter – keep raw foods away from other foods.  Consider using separate cutting boards and plates for raw meats and potentially contaminated foods than ones used for produce and cooked foods.  NEVER place cooked food on a plate that you had raw meat or potentially contaminated foods on.

Cooking to an appropriate internal temperature is another way to protect your family.  Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 ⁰F.  Don’t estimate or go by “color.”  Use a food thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to get an accurate temperature.

Store food responsibly.  The refrigerator should be at least 40 ⁰F.  All foods should be stored in the refrigerator within 2 hours to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.  This drops to 1 hour if the temperature creeps above 90 ⁰F.

Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed a Salmonella infection, we want you to know that a Salmonella Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Salmonella after eating or handling raw chicken products, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Heather Van Tassell, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 19, 2018
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NJ, NY, and PA Hit Hard by Salmonella Raw Chicken Outbreak

A devastating outbreak of Salmonella is currently spreading quickly throughout the United States. This multistate outbreak is made even more deadly given that the Salmonella Infantis is multidrug-resistant. Investigators from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are linking the outbreak to raw chicken products from a variety of sources with no single common supplier being identified. 92 people have been affected from 29 states. Further, there have been 21 hospitalizations. Stakeholders are currently trying to get the situation under control with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) monitoring the outbreak. Unfortunately for food safety observers, this is yet another yet another poultry-related outbreak to add to the long list of cases in recent history. Here is everything you need to know about this latest Salmonella Raw Chicken Outbreak.

What We Know

First, a clarification of what is known by the authorities must be given. Illnesses started from January 19, 2018, to September 9, 2018. CDC has been extremely thorough in their investigation to date with a comprehensive PulseNet system being used to monitor the illnesses attributed to the outbreak. There is a phenomenal range of people affected with ill people ranging in age from less than one year to 105, with a median age of 36. Additionality,  sixty-nine percent of ill people are female thus showing the gender bias for victims. This information illustrates to food safety professionals just how encompassing this Salmonella outbreak is for consumers and the subsequent dangers to health. Investigations have shown the strain in samples from a variety of raw chicken products including pet food, chicken pieces, ground pieces and whole chickens. The bacteria have also been found in live chickens.

Interviews are an indispensable tool for investigators to coherently analyze the perilous situation. Ill people were posed questions focusing on the weeks before they came ill, especially about the foods they ate and other exposures. Of 54 people interviewed, 48 (89 percent) reported preparing or eating chicken products that were purchased raw, including whole chicken, chicken pieces and ground chicken. Results conclusively prove that this outbreak caused people to get sick from handling or eating raw or undercooked chicken as ill people reported purchasing various different brands of raw chicken products from many stores. The patients live in California, Washington, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Maine.

Photo courtesy of CDC

Rosa DeLauro (D., Ct.) believes that; “The overuse of antibiotics in the livestock sector only makes this problem worse, and it is long past time we deal with the problem head-on, instead of going through the same issues over and over again. The federal government and the poultry industry need to take this problem seriously. Déjà vu (after a similar incident of antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that contaminated chicken five years ago which resulted in 634 illnesses across 29 state) is not an acceptable policy for dealing with food safety. We need to be proactive. People’s lives are on the line”.

The Outbreak Investigation

Investigators have identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis through sampling raw chicken pet food, from raw chicken products from 58 slaughter and/or processing establishments, and from live chickens. These samples were collected at slaughter and processing establishments to assist FSIS’ routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. Furthermore, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) showed that the Salmonella from these samples is closely related genetically to the Salmonella from ill people. The CDC in their investigation notice state that; “a single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry. CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the chicken industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce salmonella contamination.”

This outbreak of Salmonella is alarming stakeholders given that it is multidrug resistant, especially the following antibiotics (the main drug used to treat the disease): ampicillin, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, fosfomycin, gentamicin, hygromycin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. These results of predicted resistance came from WGS analysis of isolates from 43 ill people and 68 food or environmental samples. Moving forward, CDC and USDA-FSIS are sharing information about the investigation with representatives from the chicken industry seeking to establish precautionary measures to reduce Salmonella contamination.

Salmonella – A Household Name?

Salmonella is becoming an all too familiar illness in the U.S. Common symptoms usually occur 12 to 72 hours after being exposed with infections including diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Children under the age of 5, adults over 65 years old and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer severe Salmonella upon infection. The illness usually lasts between four and seven days with most healthy people recovering without ever needing treatment. with antibiotics. Cases that cause concern include severe diarrhea and a spread from the intestines to the bloodstream. However, there are reported cases of death unless victims are not treated promptly.

There are several easy, vital safety procedures that must be adopted to prevent Salmonella infection. Most importantly, it is paramount that the handling of raw chicken is done carefully given that raw chicken has harmful germs that can infect food preparation areas. Hands should always be washed thoroughly, especially before and after preparing or eating food, touching animals, or using the toilet.

Raw chicken should not contaminate the food preparation areas as germs can spread to other foods and surface. A separate cutting board for raw chicken and vegetables will efficiently manage germs and protect diners. It is a good idea to not wash chicken before preparing it. Another fundamental step to avoid Salmonella infection is thoroughly cooking raw chicken to kill harmful germs. Purchasing a food thermometer to effectively measure temperatures is a proactive way of ensuring food safety. Chicken breasts, whole chickens and ground poultry should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

 By: Billy Rayfield, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 18, 2018
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Multistate Raw Chicken Salmonella Outbreak

Raw chicken Salmonella. They can’t seem to get away from each other. The CDC and public health and regulatory officials across multiple states are currently investigating a multistate outbreak involving a multi-drug resistant Salmonella infection. These illnesses have been linked to raw chicken products, leading to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (USDA-FSIS) involvement in the investigation. Here is what you need to know about this outbreak!

Many outbreaks don’t ever surpass a dozen infected cases, and when the numbers reach two dozen, it’s considered terrible. However, this recent raw chicken-related outbreak has left ninety-two individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cases have been reported across 29 states! While twenty-one of the ninety-two affected people have been hospitalized, no deaths have yet to be reported.

According to epidemiologic and laboratory evidence, many different types of raw chicken products are responsible for the outbreak and a variety of different sources have been found to be contaminated with Salmonella Infantis, meaning the source that is making people sick is broad and harder to contain than normal. Per information gathered via interviews, the ill people report having eaten many different types, brands, and cuts of chicken products purchased from a collection of locations. The particular strain has been detected “in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens,” according to the CDC.A single, common supplier for the contaminated raw chicken has yet to be determined.

Per the CDC’s report on the outbreak, “Antibiotic resistance testing conducted by CDC on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people shows that the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics.” This is a dangerous situation, as it means it is much harder to eliminate! The CDC goes on to say that

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry. CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the chicken industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce Salmonella contamination.

A resistance to antibiotics, however, is scary news to anyone who has contracted this specific strain of Salmonella. A visit to a healthcare professional is certainly advisable, but few medications are proving effective in fighting this particular strain. The best protection in this case, as in many, is in prevention.

All ninety-two of the infected illness had been reported by October 15th. A list of the states as well as number of cases can easily be found on the Map of Reported Cases page provided by the CDC. According to the research presented by the CDC, the illnesses have ranged in dates from January 19th to September 9th of this year, which patients’ ages ranging from less than twelve months to 105 years old. The median age is 36 and 69% of all the ill cases are female. Fifty-four of the ninety-two sick people were interviewed and 48 of these reported having prepared or eaten chicken that had been purchased raw. Products included ground chicken, chicken pieces, and whole chickens, but many different brands from multiple stores were used. According to one interviewee, the sickness occurred after feeding the pets in the home raw ground chicken as pet food, and another illness came about by someone who works directly with raising and processing chickens.   

58 different slaughter and/or processing establishments have been identified as contaminated with the strain of Salmonella in question. Samples were collected from many different establishments as part of FSIS’s investigation testing routine, a standard test meant to identify Salmonella performance standards. As authorities collect more information, it becomes more and more apparent that people suffering from this outbreak become sick after handling or eating raw or undercooked chicken products.

The CDC offers a collection of helpful advice on the most effective ways to prevent a salmonella infection from spreading. They encourage retailers and consumers to “handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and make you sick.” While we’ve all most likely been educated on the fact that it’s best to eat your meat cooked rather than raw, outbreaks like this one occur due to improper food handling techniques. The CDC is clear about not advising consumers to avoid eating chicken or that retailers should cease selling chicken products. They are simply and directly stating that properly cooking chicken is essential in order to prevent foodborne illnesses from spreading.

In order to make it as clear and concise as possible, the CDC has presented a list for all consumers to follow in order to prevent Salmonella infection from any raw chicken products from any source:

  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken and other raw meats if possible.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

Be careful with raw ingredients, especially raw poultry, since even meats contaminated with some strain of Salmonella bacteria can appear and smell perfectly normal. Properly cooking these proteins is essential in avoiding the spread of foodborne illnesses.

Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed a Salmonella infection, we want you to know that a Salmonella Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Salmonella after eating or handling raw chicken products, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Abigail Ryan, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 17, 2018
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What’s in Your Kitchen?  A Week in Recalls: Ham Products and Breaded Chicken Tenders

MakeFoodSafe.com would like to help you keep your family safe from unsafe foods.  Each week we bring together a list of the current recalls.  Some recalls are issued due to undeclared allergens, which could cause serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if someone sensitive to the product consumes it.  Other recalls are issued due to contamination with harmful material or other health risk.  Check back often and evaluate your fridge, pantry, and shopping list to make sure you can identify which foods to avoid, like this week’s ham recalls.

This week’s recalls include:

Sprout Creek Farm Recalls Margie Cheese Due to Deviation from Temperature

Sprout Creek Farm of Poughkeepsie, New York issued a recall for their Margie Cheese on September 28, 2018 due to deviation from temperature during pasteurization.  Insufficient pasteurization may lead to potential contamination of bacteria not properly killed.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the pasteurization process required for the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance at Grade A (above 150 ⁰F) was not met.  Affected product was made on August 28, 2018 and has a best by date of November 12, 2018 and was distributed to the following firms for distribution: Baldor Foods, Simons Catering, Walbridge Farm Market, Cold Spring Cheese Shop, Turning Stone Resort, Mohonk Mountain House, Hudson Valley Harvest, Nic L Inn.

No illness has been reported in connection with this recall.

Johnston County Hams Recalls Ham Due to Health Risk

Johnston County Hams of Smithfield, North Carolina issued a recall on October 3, 2018 for approximately 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products due to potential contamination with the health risk, Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in the very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system.  Pregnant women are at risk for miscarriages and still birth.  Normally healthy individuals often experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

This recall was initiated after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) was notified of a patient ill with listeriosis that reported consuming a ham product from Johnston County Hams.  Epidemiological Investigation linked four confirmed illnesses, including one death to ham products produced at Johnston County Hams.  Samples from the facility indicated Listeria monocytogenes that is genetically closely related to patient samples.

The product can be identified as bearing the establishment number EST. M2646.  Affected product was produced from April 3, 2017 to October 2, 2018 and shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia.  See table below for specific product information.

JBS Tolleson, Inc Recalls Non-Intact Beef Products Due to Health Risk

JBS Tolleson, Inc. of Tolleson, Arizona issued a recall on October 4, 2018 for approximately 6,937,195 pounds of various raw, non-intact beef products due to potential contamination with SalmonellaSalmonella is a serious illness that can range to mild flu and gastrointestinal symptoms to severe complication.  The very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to complications.

The recall was initiated after USDA’s FSIS was notified of an investigation of Salmonella Newport illnesses where several patients indicated consuming several different beef products linked back to the JBS Tolleson, Inc production facility.

The product can be identified as bearing the establishment number EST. 267 and were shipped to retail locations and institutions nationwide.  See affected product list at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/6ae70f90-0f59-4006-a665-4d10d05156a0/RC-085-2018-Products-List.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Working Cow Homemade Ice Cream, Inc Recalls Ice Cream Due to Health Risk

Working Cow Homemade Ice Cream, Inc of St. Petersburg, Florida on October 4, 2018 of their No Sugar Added Vanilla and No Sugar Added Chocolate ice cream manufactured in the three-gallon tubs during the month of May 2018 due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in the very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system.  Pregnant women are at risk for miscarriages and still birth.  Normally healthy individuals often experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

This recall was initiated after a case of listeriosis was linked to an older sample obtained from environmental sampling in 2017.  No other illnesses have been reported and no additional positive results have been detected.  The investigation is ongoing.

Affected product was distributed to ice cream parlors, independent living facilities, and restaurants in Florida.

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, LLC Recalls Ham Biscuits Due to Health Risk

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits issued a recall on October 4, 2018 for Ham Biscuits due to the potential health risk, Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in the very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system.  Pregnant women are at risk for miscarriages and still birth.  Normally healthy individuals often experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The recall was initiated after being notified of a recall from their supplier, Johnston County Hams, Inc.  Recalled product was produced and shipped between April 3, 2017 and October 3, 2018 and distributed nationwide.  See table below for specific product information.

Callie’s Charleston Biscuits urges consumers to not consume the product and to throw it away or return to the place of purchase.

Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods, LLC Recalls Ham Due to Health Risk

Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC of Richmond, Virginia issued a recall for 89,000 pounds of ham on October 4, 2018 due to potential contamination of the health risk, Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in the very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system.  Pregnant women are at risk for miscarriages and still birth.  Normally healthy individuals often experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The recall was initiated in response to a recall from their supplier, Johnston County Hams.  Affected product includes only those with sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018.  No other sell-by dates or net weights are affected by the recall.  Additional products that came in contact with equipment used to process the Johnston County Hams recalled product are included in this recall out of abundance of caution.  See table below for specific product information.  Affected product were sold through the following retailers: Kroger in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky; Publix, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Catering by Ukrop’s, and Hudson News at RIC in Virginia only.

Ladyfingers Caterers Recalls Ham Rolls Due to Health Risk

Ladyfingers Caterers issued a voluntary recall on October 5, 2018 for their Signature Shaved Country Ham Rolls due to potential contamination with the health risk, Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in the very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system.  Pregnant women are at risk for miscarriages and still birth.  Normally healthy individuals often experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The recall was initiated in response to a recall from their supplier, Johnston County Hams.  This recall affects products distributed between April 3, 2017 and October 3, 2018 and was distributed to retail stores in California, District of Columbia, Delaware, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia.  See table below for specific product information.

One illness has been reported in connection with this recall.

Canteen/Convenco Recalls Chicken Tender Products Due to Undeclared Allergen

Canteen/Convenco of Middletown, Pennsylvania issued a recall on October 5, 2018 for approximately 1,778 pounds of ready-to-eat breaded chicken tender products due to the undeclared allergen, milk.  Those with an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk risk serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.

There have been no reports of illness in connection with this recall.  Consumers are urged to no consume the product.

This Week’s Affected Products

Manufacturer Label Size Date UPC/Lot
Johnston County Hams Johnston County Hams, Inc. Country Style Fully Cooked Boneless Deli Ham 7 to 8 lbs    
Johnston County Hams Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham 7 to 8 lbs Best By from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019  
Johnston County Hams Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc. Fully Cooked Country Ham Boneless Glazed with Brown Sugar 7 to 8 lbs    
Johnston County Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham Less Salt Distributed By: Valley County Hams LLC 7 to 8 lbs Sell By Dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019  
Johnston County Hams Goodnight Brothers Country Ham Boneless Fully Cooked 7 to 8 lbs    
Callie’s Charleston Biscuits Country Ham Biscuits     UPC 89786002001
Callie’s Charleston Biscuits Cocktail Ham Biscuits     UPC 897856002049
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Country Ham on Petite Biscuits 8CT 14 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Country Ham on Petite Party Rolls 20 CT 17.7 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Country Ham on White House Rolls 12 CT 23.3 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Country Ham on White House Rolls 2 CT 3.9 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Country Ham on White House Rolls 6 CT 11.6 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Angus Roast Beef & Cheddar Pinwheels 12.6 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Black Forest Ham & Provolone Sub 9.25 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Black Forest Ham & Provolone Pinwheels 7.8 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Combo Wrap Turkey & Bacon, Chicken Caesar, Buffalo Style Chicken, & Veg 4.8 LBS sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Cuban Style Sub 8.3 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Ham on Petite Party Rolls 20 CT 21.8 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Ham on White House Rolls 12 CT 26.9 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Honey Ham & Swiss on White House Rolls 2 CT 5.5 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Honey Ham & Turkey on White House Rolls 4 CT 11 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Honey Turkey & Cheddar on White House Rolls 2 CT 5.5 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Honey Turkey & Ham Pinwheel Tray 43 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Italian Style Sub 8.2 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Italian Style Pinwheels 8.1 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Meat & Cheese Tray 42.5 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Roasted Turkey & Colby Jack Sub 8.3 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Roasted Turkey & Colby Jack Pinwheels 9.75 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Roasted Turkey and Bacon Wrap 9.95 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Roasted Turkey and Bacon Wrap 4 CT Tray 5.03 LB sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Spicy Buffalo Style Chicken Wrap 9.6 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Turkey & Bacon Cobb Wrap 13.5 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Turkey and Swiss on Croissant 3 CT Tray 19.2 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Turkey Breast on White House Rolls 2 CT 4.5 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods LLC Turkey Breast on White House Rolls 12 CT 28 oz sell-by dates from 9/7/2018 through 10/7/2018  
Ladyfingers Catering Signature Shaved Country Ham Rolls     UPC 8 56149 00509 9
Canteen/Convenco Fresh to You Breaded Chicken Tenders w/ BBQ Sauce 6 oz Fresh Thru dates 9-14-18 to 10-5-18 Case code 1077
Canteen/Convenco Fresh to You Breaded Chicken Tenders w/ Hot Sauce 6 oz Fresh Thru dates 9-6-18 to 10-7-18 Case code 6141

By: Heather Van Tassell, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 16, 2018
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Listeria Caramel Apples: What We Have Learned

Halloween is getting closer, which means that it’s time for unfounded rumors on Facebook. That’s right: fall is barely here, it’s still basically summer, and yet someone on your newsfeed is already gearing up to share a story about Halloween candy that’s been poisoned. It’s a very old tradition to get worked up about a random poisoner harming your children through malfeasance, even though multiple examinations of police records and newspaper stories from the past 50+ years have found scant evidence that anyone has ever done this.

That doesn’t mean that Halloween treats are all safe, of course. Fans of caramel apples got an unexpected surprise in the fall of 2014: 35 people across 12 states fell ill with listeriosis that originated in the sweet seasonal treat. All but one were so sick that they had to be hospitalized. Eleven of the cases were pregnancy related (listeria can wreak havoc on a pregnant woman or a newborn), and the Centers for Disease Control recorded one fetal loss. Seven deaths were reported in all, of which at the time of this writing listeriosis was definite cause for at least three.

We know that caramel apples were behind the outbreak because of the due diligence of government investigators, who set to investigating victims in hopes of determining the source of the listeria bacteria. 90% of the victims they interviewed reported eating caramel apples before falling ill. And not just any kind of caramel apples: theirs were pre-packaged and commercially sold, albeit under the banner of several different caramel apple brands, indicating that they may have shared a point of origin at an apple supplier.

A break in the case came shortly after. Bidart Bros, an apple supplier in Bakersfield, California, submitted to a regular FDA inspection in December of 2014. Investigators took more than a hundred swabs of different surfaces and machinery while there. They took the swabs back to the lab to culture any microbes that had been picked up, and there made an unfortunate discovery: seven of the swabs that they’d taken had grown little petri-dish populations of listeria monocytogenes. Additionally, the investigators found relevant maintenance problems with the equipment used to package the apples; in various places, it was chipped, frayed, or otherwise weathered so that disinfection and cleaning of pathogens like listeria would prove difficult.

In light of this finding, Bidart Bros voluntarily recalled several lots of their Granny Smith and Gala apples. Subsequent genetic analysis of the listeria from Bidart Bros found that it was genetically indistinguishable from the outbreak strain that had laid more than thirty people low earlier in 2014. After Bidart Bros had put out their voluntary recall notice, three caramel apple producing operations that sourced from Bidart issued recalls of their product. Those recalls were followed by more findings from the FDA, who had supplemented their initial genetic analysis of the listeria with a more in-depth look through whole genome sequencing. That process confirmed their earlier findings; the listeria at the Bidart Bros facility was closely genetically related to the listeria taken from patients who had fallen ill during the outbreak.

In some ways, tracing the outbreak back to Bidart Bros raised as many questions as had been answered. Caramel apples aren’t normally thought of as likely carriers for listeria. Apples in general aren’t; they’re highly acidic, which isn’t the sort of environment that listeria usually thrives in. The bacteria is usually confined to the surface of the apple – without bruising or laceration to exploit, it can’t usually get past the skin of the apple to spread inside, and the skins are generally cleaned during the manufacturing process. The application of caramel poses another hurdle to listeria bacteria: before it’s applied to the apple, the caramel is heated to between 170 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures should be above the range at which listeria can survive.

A follow up study in the Journal of Food Protection puzzled through how apples can be contaminated with listeria despite these significant hurdles. They found that the trick is in the application of the stick with which caramel apples are held while being eaten. The stick usually goes in at the stem end, one of the places on the outside of the apple where pathogens have a natural hollow in which to breed or survive disinfection. When it goes in, the pressure applied to the stick shoves it against the flesh of the apple, expressing a bit of sugary apple juice from the fruit. That juice makes for a nutrient-rich environment in which pathogens like listeria can thrive. The sort of stick matters too: listeria did significantly better on sticks made of paper or wood than they did on plastic.

What about the caramel, though? That all depends. Although the caramel is hot enough at the point of contact to eliminate any bacteria that it comes into contact with, there are other variables in the equation: how the apple is shaped, how the caramel is applied, and where the bacteria are located on the apple all need to be considered. Survival of the bacteria hinges on the these factors and the micro-environment that it finds itself in while the caramel is being applied. In many cases, pockets of listeria were able to survive the application of caramel by virtue of where they were and the relatively quick cooling of caramel on their part of the apple. To quote the authors of the paper, “the data indicate that manufacturers should not consider hot caramel dip a lethality step sufficient to reduce or eliminate the risk of L. monocytogenes contamination on caramel apples.”

Hopefully, this incident inspires caramel apple manufacturers to be more careful about listeria. You can be careful, too: wash your apples thoroughly before eating them or coating them in caramel, and opt for plastic sticks if you’re more worried about food safety than the environment. Don’t trust the application of the caramel will be hot enough to cleanse the apple or stick.

Also remember that you’re more likely to get listeria from your more mundane interactions with fruit. Exercise particular caution with surfaces, utensils, and fruit that’s been cut into slices: listeria bacteria can travel from the rind, the counter, cutting board, or knife to the flesh of the fruit after it’s been cut. Finally, don’t forget that it’s more likely you find pathogens than razor blades or pins and needles in your holiday treats. Whatever you’ve heard on the local news or from your gossipy neighbor about tainted candy is more likely a prank, rumor, or hoax than a real threat.

By: Sean McNulty, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 12, 2018
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New York Legionnaires Outbreaks

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed another eight cases of Legionnaires’ disease from people living in the Lower Washington Heights district in Manhattan on Friday, October 5, 2018. Three people in the Bronx also have confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease. New York Legionnaires Outbreaks appear to be on the rise.

Washington Heights’ Second Outbreak

Authorities stated all eight people were hospitalized after coming down with Legionnaires’ disease symptoms within five days of each other. Seven people remain in the hospital and one person has been released.

Despite varying reports from numerous sources, the NYC health department stated in their press release on Friday, this is the second cluster of Legionnaires’ diseases in the Washington Heights area in recent months. Another similar Legionnaires’ cluster outbreak of the disease occurred earlier this year in July.

The NYC health department issued its first news release on July 11, 2018 which stated eight people had been hospitalized with the disease. In both, the July and October news releases, the NYC health department stated all individuals affected were between the ages of 40 to 80 years old and most were in their 50s.

Washington Heights is located in the northern portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan. The 2010 US Census data estimates over 150,000 citizens live in the area which borders – Harlem to the south, Inwood to the north, the Hudson River to the west, and the Harlem River to the east.

In August, a NYC health department news release reported one person had died as a result of Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health Department stated in the same August news release, the investigation of the Lower Washington Heights Legionnaires’ disease cluster was over. And at that time, no new cases had been reported in a previous three-week period.

The probable source of the Washington Heights cluster had been ascertained after a thorough epidemiologic investigation. Samples of area cooling towers and molecular examinations of Legionella bacteria from affected humans were matched.

The New York City health department’s public health laboratory epidemiologists paired the Legionella bacteria type found in the cooling tower at the Sugar Hill Project building with six affected patients from the Lower Washington Heights cluster.

The Sugar Hill Project building owners cooperated fully with the health department investigation. The building’s cooling tower was cleaned and sanitized on July 13 and the staff continues to work with health department investigators on long-term maintenance to meet the New York City’s cooling tower regulations.

The health department’s August report also reported 27 cases were associated with the Lower Washington Heights Legionnaires’ disease cluster. Twenty-five people were hospitalized, and two people were treated as outpatients. One person died because of the disease.

Currently health department officials are aggressively taking steps to ensure the safety of area residents.

First Deputy Director of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, said in the Department’s current news release, “We have ordered the Sugar Hill development, which operates the cooling tower identified as the source of the July cluster, to clean and disinfect again given its proximity to the new cases.”

“Although the risk is very low, we urge residents and people who work in the area to take precautions. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and can be treated with common antibiotics if caught early. And anyone with flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.”

What Precautions Should Be Taken?

Symptoms can mimic pneumonia and even symptoms of influenzas, the flu. Anyone who develops a cough, has difficulty breathing, has a fever, suffers from muscle aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea should see a healthcare professional immediately.

People who are at higher risk include – individuals who are 50-years old and older, are cigarette smokers, have a chronic lung disease or have a compromised immune system.

How Do People Get Sick?

Dr. Barbot also reminded everyone again that Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious but spreads through breathing in affected fine, microscopic water droplets, usually in the form of a fine mist or vapor.

The Legionella bacteria survives and grows best in warm water. The bacteria can grow in cooling towers of air-conditioning systems, large plumbing systems, hot water tanks, showers, faucets, swimming pools, hot tubs, whirlpools, equipment used in physical therapy, misting machines, hand-help sprayers, water systems found in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and hotels.

What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of a lung infection that is treatable if diagnosed in its early stages. The CDC estimates Legionnaires’ disease affects over 25,000 people in the US each year.

But, only 5,000 cases are reported annually according to the CDC statistics because there are no specific symptoms. And possibly ten percent of affected people will die from the disease.

What Are The Facts About Legionnaires’ Disease in New York?

According to a report released by the Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease, the CDC released data showing New York state reported 128 new cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the past few weeks.

The Alliance compared statistics showing 348 cases had been reported nationwide during the same time period. This information shows New Yorkers are contracting the disease at a record rate when compared to 2017’s cases.

Last year the CDC reported New York state recorded a total of 1,009 Legionnaire’s disease cases as compared to 2018 projections of around 1,180 cases.

Experts warn New York residents to request more government monitoring and treatment of suspect public water systems where the Legionella bacteria can easily grow.

The outbreaks of 2018 are concerning to current residents but manageable when compared to the outbreaks in 2016. Outbreaks from 2016 resulted in Legionnaires’ disease cluster outbreaks killing a recorded 12 people in the Bronx.

Our Legionnaires’ Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed Legionnaires’ disease, we want you to know that a Legionnaires’ Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Legionnaires’ disease, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Cindy Lockstone, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 10, 2018
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Washington Heights’ Second Legionnaires Outbreak

Washington Heights is again gripped in a second Legionnaires outbreak over the course of a few months. 8 illnesses have been reported and all of them were hospitalized. However, one of them is already discharged. The infected individuals were between 40 to 80 years old. Most of the patients are over the age of 50. The illnesses were reported within the last week itself. Health department is now investigating this newly emerged Legionnaires outbreak in the area.

“The Health Department has identified a second cluster this year of Legionnaires disease in the lower Washington Heights area and we are taking aggressive steps to ensure the safety of residents”, said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, acting health department commissioner in a statement.

No additional details were provided about the outbreak apart from that there is an ongoing Legionnaires outbreak.

Legionnaires is spread by Legionella bacteria. The bacteria generally develops inside water systems when proper safety conditions are not maintained. Once they start growing, they can infect the individuals when they breathe in the mist from the contaminated water systems. The most common sources of infections are cooling towers, air conditioning units, hot tubs, whirlpools, decorative fountains, swimming pools etc.

After the recent outbreak, the health department has been quick this time around to investigate the issue. They have ordered sampling of 20 cooling towers within a mile radius. All the towers that will test positive for Legionella bacteria will be ordered to increase the levels of biocide.

“The important thing that I want to emphasize is, it gives us really an opportunity to reassure New Yorkers that even though there may be a close to an event, that doesn’t mean we don’t keep looking, right, and that’s how we found this so quickly and are taking measures to ensure that we get the message out, and then New Yorkers can seek treatment early”, Dr. Oxiris Barbot added.

The last outbreak – in July – was traced back to the cooling tower of the Sugar Hill Project – a high-rise building on St. Nicholas Avenue near West 155th Street. Officials informed that they have ordered the Sugar Hill Project to again clean and disinfect their systems once the news of illnesses came in. Most other Legionnaires outbreak in the New York city have also been traced back to the plumbing systems.

The Health Department further informed that they will hold a community meeting on Monday at The Jackie Robinson Convention Center at 85 Bradhurst Avenue at 6 PM so as to provide residents more information on the outbreak.

Summer Outbreak Details:

The outbreak caused by Sugar Hills Project cooling tower started in July 2018 and ended in August 2018. A total of 27 patients were affected by the outbreak. Most of them were above 50 as Legionnaires can easily cause illness in older individuals. 25 people were hospitalized and one death was reported due to the outbreak. The first notification came on July 11 when total outbreak count was 8. The Sugar Hill project cleaned and disinfected its tower on July 13. Since the incubation period of Legionnaires is long, the outbreak can last longer as the diseases continue to come in.

The outbreak spurred calls from local politicians for greater transparency and more severe punishments for defaulters. The current fine for those who fail to maintain safety precautions is $2000 and any successive violations can’t be fined more than $5000. For failed inspection of towers that might cause deadly Legionnaires outbreak, the fine is no more than $10,000.

Health Department Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement that “In 2015, we worked with the City Council to create the nation’s most comprehensive cooling tower registry and regulations. During the investigation, the registry helps the Health Department to quickly identify all cooling towers in the affected neighborhood, review their inspection record, obtain samples for rapid laboratory testing and conduct an immediate visual inspection of the tower”

Remember, not everyone who inhales the mist gets the disease. People who are more at risk are those who are older (above 50), who smoke, have a chronic lung disease or a weakened immune system. The city has an average of 200-500 cases each year due to Legionnaires.

 About Legionnaires:

Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia that cause lung inflammation. Legionella bacteria survive in soil and water but they rarely cause infection that way. The bacteria multiply in water systems in large buildings like hotel, hospitals etc. and then spread through hot tubs, air conditioner, swimming pools etc. You won’t get infected if you drink the contaminated water or if you are in contact with someone who has the disease. Legionnaires is not contagious.

Symptoms of Legionnaires includes bad cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, headache, chills and high fever. Most of the people who have Legionnaires will get hospitalized. As soon as you experience the symptoms, contact your GP immediately. Around 1 in 10 people who contract the bacteria die. People who are more at risk have high fatality rate and are at more risk of complications.

Incubation period of Legionella is 2-10 days. Diagnosis is done through a series of tests like CT scan, blood tests, chests X-ray, etc. Treatment generally involves antibiotics given directly through the vein and oxygen mask / machine to help you breathe.  Complications like respiratory failure, septic shock and acute kidney failure can occur.

The only way to prevent Legionnaires is to ensure that owner of commercial premises maintain proper safety of their water systems. They hold regular inspections and regular cleaning of the systems and are aware of the law that governs Legionnaires.

Our Lawyers Can Help You:

Several residents in the Washington Heights have retained The Lange Law Firm, PLLC in the Legionnaires outbreak.

Our lawyer, Jory Lange, is one of the nation’s leading Legionnaires disease lawyers and has helped families all across the nation. If you have developed Legionnaires disease, we want you to know that a Legionnaires lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating the matter and offering free legal consultations.

Get in touch with us by giving a call on 833.330.3663 or complete the form here.

By: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 10, 2018
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JBS Salmonella Beef Outbreak: A Parent’s Perspective

This week, I opened my computer and learned of another ground beef recall on of all days National Taco Day. Us American folks use ground beef in tacos more than most, and the news of this recall makes most people wary, especially parents. The JBS Salmonella Beef Outbreak and Recall concerns me as a mother.

Almost 7 million pounds of ground beef, to put that into perspective an average sized cow weighing in at 1200-1500 pounds brings in about 470 pounds of ground beef. That is enough to make anyone say “holy cow.” Over 8000 cows worth of ground beef pulled from shelves this time because of Salmonella.

The Outbreak

The Department of Agriculture said that an epidemiological investigation identified 57 case-patients from 16 states that suffered food borne illness between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6. The huge concern is that many people like myself buys ground beef in bulk and freezes it. I vacuum seal them into 1 pound packages often and toss them right into the freezer often not writing a lot of information on the packages except maybe the date that I froze it. This is quite scary for a parent who was just looking to save a little money when finding a good deal at the grocery store and wanting to stock up for the winter months when we make more hearty meals such as soups, stews and chili that often call for ground beef.

According to ABC17 the recalled products were packaged between July 26 and September 7 and were sold nationwide under brand names Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart and JBS Generic.

The USDA inspection mark on the packaging of the recalled products contains the establishment number “EST. 267.”

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase,” the agency said in announcing the recall.

The USDA also reminded consumers to cook all ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. “The only way to confirm that ground beef or other cuts of beef are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.”

The salmonella ridden ground beef was tracked because of the illnesses, but more so technology to a certain point came into play as well. Receipts from stores were compared but also store rewards cards were used to track the ground beef and make links to the illnesses. Have you ever gotten a call from a store asking if you bought something or to warn you about a product that you have purchased? We actually have and while many times our phones ring with numbers we do not know and they go to voicemail, this was one message that I not only appreciated but admired the store for doing. Granted it was just an autodialer, but it was really important to me especially as a parent.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a pretty scary thing especially to hear as a parent. We strive to do things correctly and to keep our children safe every single day, but then incidents like this come out and we are often struck with a fear and a desire to know more about the recall and worse yet if you consumed any of the recalled meat what you should do.

Symptoms of Salmonella appear from 8-72 hours after contact and while most healthy people pop back pretty fast there is always the added risk to children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Medical attention is often required for dehydration.

Salmonella infection is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products. The incubation period ranges from several hours to two days. Most salmonella infections can be classified as stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Blood in the stool

Signs and symptoms of salmonella infection generally last two to seven days. Diarrhea may last up to 10 days, although it may take several months before bowels return to normal.

Unfortunately others are affected for much longer periods of time. Arthritis symptoms have been known to affect those who have been infected with Salmonella. This is called reactive arthritis and has been known to last for months to years and has been known to lead to chronic arthritis.

If salmonella infection enters your bloodstream (bacteremia), it can infect tissues throughout your body, including:

  • The tissues surrounding your brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • The lining of your heart or valves (endocarditis)
  • Your bones or bone marrow (osteomyelitis)
  • The lining of blood vessels, especially if you’ve had a vascular graft

It is also important to know that each year in the United States that 3,000 people die from food poisoning related illnesses each year.

How to Prevent Salmonella

Hand washing is one of the most important parts to steering clear of Salmonella. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, especially if you are showing symptoms of any stomach upset. Proper hand washing after handling raw meats is also imperative.

When cooking avoid cross contamination. This is important especially when handling the above mentioned raw meats. I make sure to have multiple cutting boards available and I use a lot of cleaners that are rated to kill Salmonella bacteria. These can be found in most any store and are relatively cheap. The multiple cutting boards are used to keep fruits and vegetables separate from the raw meats. I also have different knives available for slicing.

If you are preparing meats, never place cooked meats on a plate where any raw meats were present.

It is important that if you feel you have been affected by any recall or have symptoms of Salmonella to get medical attention and allow the doctors and health officials to do their jobs and help track down what you have been in contact with. This not only helps you but also the general public.

Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed a Salmonella infection, we want you to know that a Salmonella Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Salmonella after eating ground beef products, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 8, 2018
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DC Legionnaires Outbreak at Retirement Home

Life in Washington DC can be enthralling given the vast range of employment opportunities and countless leisure activities on offer. Home to the best museums in the nation, the list is endless for reasons to move to the city. People that have chosen Washington DC for retirement are now facing up to a health crisis. The nation’s capital is struggling with an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease that is doing considerable damage at a Northwest Washington DC retirement community. The DC Department of Health announced a DC Legionnaires Outbreak to the public with the Ingleside at Rock Creek Retirement Community being the affected site of the outbreak. Two people have been diagnosed with the illness so far and the Department of Health is working tirelessly to manage the outbreak and do their best to avoid further infections. Extra caution is being advised by authorities as residents are still at risk.

Legionnaires Outbreak

Legionnaires’ illness is relatively unknown in the U.S. Unfortunately, it is gaining more media attention and time in the news given the rise in cases recently. The facts behind the outbreak of legionnaires at Ingleside are still being established by the authorities. There are two known cases of legionnaires illness and DC health officials are currently on the ground collaborating with stakeholders to effectively bring this perilous situation under control. Stakeholders include DC Water and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC states that legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacteria that can thrive in buildings with complex water systems like hotels and long-term care facilities. Preliminary measures imposed include full water restrictions for Ingleside until filters are changed and installed on sick faucets and showers. These precautionary measures are being steadfastly implemented to manage the spread of bacteria through water. This step is crucial to ensure that more people do not become infected. Further, residents of three buildings in Ingleside have been instructed to take necessary precautions when using the water supplied. The executive director at Ingleside released the following statement; “Currently, Ingleside is under a water restriction as there are two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease. We truly care about the health and well-being of our residents and have taken steps to ensure that preventive measures are in place. We are working with DC Water and the DC Department of Health to investigate the cause.

Infected Water

The outbreak at Ingleside shows the potential for water facilities to become infected thus spreading legionnaires’ illness. Early investigations from DC Water reveal that the city water supply is safe. A spokesman from DC Water states that “we can assure District residents that this issue is isolated to the facility and that the drinking water DC Water distributes to the general population is safe“. DC Waters expertise in water management and keeping the residents of Washington DC safe are being tested by this outbreak as water supply samples have been taken from Ingleside. Doctor Sasha McGee, senior infections disease epidemiologist at DC Health reveals that “it has to be water that’s a mist of a vapor so you actually inhale it. Filters are going to be installed in shower and sink units so they can safely use the water. Until those are installed there are water restrictions so they aren’t using the water and being potentially exposed to the mist that they can breathe in and become sick”. Tests on the water have been conducted and stakeholders are patiently waiting for the results. These results will determine the scale of the outbreak and the potential for further infections.

Ingleside is a luxury retirement home targeting the high-end parts of society. An ethos of “engaged living” allows guests to enjoy their final years and relax in comfort. The website of Ingleside proudly boasts that “the community includes retirees from the Foreign Service and the Department of State, former educators from the highest levels of academia, writers and musicians and successful entrepreneurs, all with a common view of elegant living in retirement”. The elderly at Ingleside are particularly vulnerable to infection given their old age. With immune systems weakened, the defenses to fight the illness are limited. Consequently, the highest standards of safety must be maintained in the water facilities at the retirement home. A duty of care towards guests must be upheld at all times thus requiring constant cleaning and regular maintenance of water systems. Executive Director of Ingleside Frank Beech describes that; “Ingleside continues to provide ample supplies of water to all residents and is installing water filtration units in every resident apartment. DC Health has authorized with the CDC that Ingleside at Rock Creek residents can use their dishwashers, washers and dryers”.

Water is fundamental to the legionnaires outbreak at Ingleside given that the illness is spread through contaminated water. People can become infected through breathing in a mist or vapor containing legionella bacteria. For example, inhaling infected hot water vapor from a shower or sink are common causes of legionnaires. This bacteria can be found in building water systems with bacteria especially thriving from hot water. Symptoms of the illness include headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath and fever. Most healthy people do not become ill after becoming exposed. DC Health officials state that infection is almost never transmitted on a person-to-person basis. Further, not everyone who is exposed to the bacteria gets sick. Vulnerable people include elderly, smokers and people with weakened immune systems. These people are at risk to infection given the weakness of the body to fight back. Symptoms of infection usually occur two days after infection with the legionnaires infection treated by health professionals with antibiotics. The disease can be deadly and kills around 1 in 10 patients infected. Around 50 people were infected with legionnaires’ disease in 2017 in the DC area. Already this year, there have been 40 cases in the district.

Our Legionnaires’ Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed Legionnaires’ disease, we want you to know that a Legionnaires’ Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer. Our firm already represents several families in the first Washington Heights outbreak.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Legionnaires’ disease, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Billy Rayfield, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 8, 2018
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Sugar Hill Legionnaires Disease Outbreak

The New York Health Department is presently investigating a Sugar Hill Legionnaires disease outbreak. Eight people have fallen ill over the course of five days. All eight of the victims who have been registered so far have been sent to the hospital. None have died as of the time of this writing.

The Second Outbreak

This is the second cluster of Legionnaire’s cases to be registered in Washington Heights this year. In July of this year, residents of Washington Heights and Hamilton Heights in New York fell ill with the bacterial disease. The first case of Legionnaires was registered on the 11th of July; 27 in total ended up getting sick. One person perished.

The source of that first outbreak was identified by the health department as a cooling tower in Sugar Hill Project in Harlem. Samples of bacteria taken from six of the victims had the same genetic fingerprint as Legionella bacteria taken from that cooling tower, indicating that it may have been the source of the outbreak.

The health department ordered the Sugar Hill Project to clean and disinfect the cleaning tower that was identified as the source of the original outbreak. As of this time, officials aren’t sure if the same cooling tower is the source of this second outbreak as well. Although it’s already been cleaned and disinfected once, they’ve ordered building management to do the same again out of an abundance of caution; in the geographical sense, the latest cluster of cases is in nearly the exact same place as the July cluster, so there’s a chance that the same cooling tower is responsible.

So far, investigators haven’t been able to make a determination as to the source of the latest outbreak. According to a press release from the health department, they’re currently sampling bacteria from 20 cooling towers within a mile-wide radius of the cluster of cases. Any towers that test positive for Legionella bacteria will be required to increase biocide. That’s a fancy word for chemicals like chlorine that have antibacterial qualities and can be used to sanitize a water system that’s suspected as a source of the bacteria.

The diagnosed individuals in this current outbreak range in age from 40 to 80, with the majority over the age of fifty, according to a press release put out by the health department. Anyone who lives in the area and is experiencing flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, or difficulty breathing is encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Some groups are at higher risk to contract Legionnaires than others. Individuals who are older than fifty, who smoke cigarettes, who have chronic lung disease or who are immunocompromised are encouraged to keep a close eye on their health and to seek medical attention immediately if they experience the symptoms described in the preceding paragraph.

Legionnaires disease isn’t communicable from person to person. Instead, it spreads through sources of fresh water: air conditioning, cooling towers, hot tubs, and hot water tanks have all been cited as reservoirs of Legionella in the past. These sources are preferred by the bacteria because their ideal temperature range for water is quite high. They thrive in water that’s heated to 95 degrees fahrenheit. The bacteria enter the body while riding in tiny drops of water that have been aerosolized; that is, they’re small enough to float suspended on the air.

There is no vaccine for Legionnaires. The only effective way to prevent the growth and transmission of the bacteria is to maintain high standards of hygiene for water systems. Once someone has developed the infection, it can be treated with antibiotics.

It’s technically a form of pneumonia, and many of the symptoms are the same as other types of pneumonia; coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains, and fever are all characteristic of the disease. About half of Legionnaires patients develop gastrointestinal symptoms as well; these can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Many also exhibit neurological symptoms, including confusion and problems with cognition.

Legionnaires is a serious and deadly condition; most of those who develop it need to be hospitalized. About one in ten who fall ill with the condition end up dying from it. The best hope for surviving a case of Legionnaires is to detect the disease early and start treatment with antibiotics to contain the infection as soon as possible.

History Lesson

This isn’t the first time that the city of New York has grappled with this disease. An outbreak in 2015 sickened 120 people and killed 12, according to the New York Times. An average year sees between 200 and 500 New Yorkers fall ill with the bacteria.

Legionnaires and legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that causes it, are so called because of an outbreak that happened in Philadelphia in the summer of 1976. 2,000 members of the veterans organization the American Legion were attending a convention to celebrate America’s bicentennial at the Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia.

Shortly after the end of the convention, the first legionnaire died. He was followed swiftly by more than two dozen of his comrades. Some 182 members of the American Legion fell ill; 29 died.

The Centers for Disease Control saw reason to investigate. They identified a new strain of bacteria, which they named legionella pneumophila in honor of the American Legion members who had been affected by the outbreak. The bacteria were eventually found to have been breeding in the cooling tower for the hotel’s air conditioning system. Subsequent investigation revealed that legionella had been responsible for several other outbreaks in the past, both at the Bellevue-Stratford and elsewhere.

Our Legionnaires’ Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed Legionnaires’ disease, we want you to know that a Legionnaires’ Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer. Our firm already represents several families in the first Washington Heights outbreak.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Legionnaires’ disease, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Sean McNulty, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 8, 2018
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