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Botulism Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Botulism News & Outbreaks

Botulism Outbreak at Mississippi Prison

Botulism_rdax_100The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a botulism outbreak at the federal prison in Yazoo City after 17 inmates became ill from drinking homemade alcohol.

Last week, the inmates consumed alcohol they made in the prison.

The inmates then began showing signs of botulism and required hospitalization. They were transferred to three hospitals in the Jackson area and each received an anti-toxin, Sharlot said.

To date, 15 of the 17 inmates remain hospitalized, according to a press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. One inmate was transferred to a federal prison in Oklahoma City before he began showing signs of botulism. He was also hospitalized.

Symptoms can occur six hours to 10 days after ingestion and include double vision, blurred vision, droopy eyes, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness and paralysis.

The  CDC is conducting the lab analysis on patient samples.

The contents of the intoxicant were not immediately clear but the incident is being investigated by the Bureau of Prisons, Sharlot said.

FCI Yazoo City, a minimum security prison housing 1,310 male inmates, is currently on limited operations as a precautionary measure. It has temporarily ceased any outgoing movement of inmates and has suspended family visitation until further notice, the release stated.

The outbreak is the sixth botulism  in the United States prison system since 2004, Sharlot said.

Canned Goods Likely Cause of Washington Botulism Deaths

The Washington State Public Health Laboratory confirmed botulism was the cause of two deaths in Grant County earlier in February. The deaths were announced on Feb. 19th by the Grant County Health District (GCHD) and said they were likely caused by botulism but awaited further testing. GCHD officials said both of the cases were from the same household and had “classic” botulism symptoms.

The food source still has not been found but GCHD officials said they are working closely with the family to “properly destroy any unopened home-canned food found in the residence.” “The thorough work by medical providers and staff at GCHD in coordination with Washington State Department of Health has lead to the confirmation of botulism (botulinum) toxin in the patient’s blood samples. This in turn confirmed the clinical suspicion and the results of our environmental investigation,” GCHD Environmental Health Manager Todd Phillips said in a press release. “This tragic event is a reminder to all of us about proper food preparation and canning.”

Botulism is a serious, muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacteria found naturally in soil.

Canned food may be behind the recent deaths of two people in Grant County Washington

Heath officials are investigating the death of two people that was likely caused by botulism. Leaders at the Grant County Health District (GCHD) said it is still early in the investigation but the suspected source is home-canned food, though it has not been confirmed yet.

The Washington State Department of Health reported an average of 0 to two cases of food-related botulism deaths each year over the last 10 years.

The identities of the two were not released by Grant County officials.

Botulism is a serious, muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacteria found naturally in soil. There are three main types of botulism: foodborne, infant, and wound.

Historically, home-canned vegetables, fruits and meat products have been the most common cause of foodborne botulism outbreaks in the United States.

Here is a list of the top ways to make sure you stay safe in your own kitchen.

Use proper canning techniques: make sure your recipes are always current with scientifically tested guidelines. Don’t use outdated publications or cookbooks, even if they were handed down to you from trusted family cooks.

Use the right equipment for the kind of foods that you are canning: always use a pressure canner when canning low-acid vegetables, meat, fish and poultry.

When it doubt, throw it out: if the container is leaking, bulging, swollen or if the jar spurts liquid or foam when you open it, toss it.

Botulism is considered a medical emergency. If symptoms of foodborne illness arise, go to a doctor right away.

The GCHD noted the disease is not spread from person to person but symptoms appear anywhere between six hours to ten days. Here is the list of symptoms provided by the GCHD:

Double vision
Blurred vision
Drooping eyelids
Slurred speech
Difficulty swallowing
Dry mouth
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Muscle weakness

Experts say to never taste home-canned food to determine if it is safe.

Michigan Botulism Worry

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is warning consumers that may have purchased any of the products listed below, produced by Lock Stock and Barrel Ranch of Onaway, Michigan, to dispose of all products immediately because they were manufactured without using the required controls for the safe production of processed foods. This potential problem was discovered by MDARD Inspectors with the Food & Dairy Division during the course of a routine food safety inspection. Products under recall include the following:

•    Beef Vegetable Soup
•    Tomato Basil Soup
•    Bacon Cauliflower Soup
•    Mama Splans Medium Salsa
•    Mama Splans Hot Salsa
•    Sweet Salsa
•    Tomatillo Salsa
•    Mango Salsa
•    Peach Salsa
•    Dilly Beans
•    Pickled Beets
•    Pickled Carrots
•    Pickled Mushrooms
•    Pickled Asparagus
•    Pickled Cauliflower
•    Pickled Garlic
•    Bread & Butter Pickles
•    Sweet & Hot Pickles
•    Dill Pickles
•    Dill Relish
•    Bloody Mary Mix
•    Spaghetti Sauce

Known products from this manufacturer were sold in glass jars ranging in size from 8 oz. to 32 oz. Acidifed and low-acid foods such as these pose a serious risk of botulism if pH and other critical factors are not carefully controlled during processing to prevent the growth of C. botulinum.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: General weakness, dizziness, double vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing, Difficulty in breathing, weakness of muscles, abdominal distension, and constipation may also be common symptoms. The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

No illnesses have been identified at this time. The products were sold at the firms retail outlet, the Lock Stock & Barrel Ranchs General Store, located at 20420 State Street in Onaway, Michigan. The products were also sold at various farm markets, including those in Rogers City, Posen, Indian River, and Gaylord Michigan.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should throw them away immediately. Double bag the products in plastic bags that are tightly closed and then place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash outside of the home. Consumers with health concerns from consumption of the product should contact their health care provider.

Co-Packing Tied to 10th Canner with a Botulism Risk

Josephson’s Smokehouse of Astoria, Oregon is latest US company to recall products packed by Skipanon Brand Seafood. Josephson’s Smokehouse is the tenth secondary recall of companies where Skipanon was co-packing.

These others are Dungeness Seaworks; Brigham Fish Market; Northwest Wild Products; Bornstein Seafood; The Spot; Pacific Oyster Co., dba The Fish Peddler; Garibaldi Cannery; Ecola Seafoods; and Vis Seafoods.

Josephson’s Smokehouse is recalling nine canned salmon, sturgeon and tuna products it received from Skipanon of Warrenton, Oregon with any codes starting with “OC” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced.

Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

The Josephson recall is affected by a voluntary recall initiated by Skipanon following an FDA inspection that turned up a lack of documentation and potentially under-processed products.

On Oct. 9, 2015, Skipanon recalled all lots and all sizes of its own brand of canned seafood products because of the potential botulism risk.

Uneviscerated Fish Botulism Risk

Seaquest Seafood Corp. of Industry, CA, is recalling its Dehydrated & Marinated Uneviscerated Fish as listed below because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distention and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

The recalled items were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through restaurant distributors.

The products come in the corresponding weight listed below in clear plastic packages inside a master paper carton with Sunrise Brand on the sides of carton.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this recall.

The potential for contamination was noted after FDA inspection found that the product had not been eviscerated or was under-eviscerated.

– Sunrise Brand Marinated Silver/White Croaker, 30 x 14oz, Barcode 5 08 54336-50081 0
– Sunrise Brand Marinated Climbing Perch, 30 x 16 oz, Barcode 2 08 54336-20130 4
– Sunrise Brand Marinated River Barb,60 x 10 oz, Barcode 2 08 54336-20140 2
– Sunrise Brand Dehydrated Anchovy size 2/3cm, 1 x 22 lb, Barcode 5 08 54336-50161 9
– Sunrise Brand Dehydrated Anchovy size 3/5cm, 100 x 3.5oz, Barcode 2 08 54336-20161 9
– Sunrise Brand Dehydrated Anchovy size 1/2cm, 1 x 22 lb, Barcode 5 08 54336-50166 4
– Sunrise Brand Dehydrated Big-Eye Herrings, 1 x 3.3 lb, Barcode 5 08 54336-50201 2

Botulism Risk in Canned Tuna from Oregon

ucm466533Skipanon Brand Seafood LLC of Warrenton, OR, is voluntarily recalling ALL LOTS, ALL SIZES of ALL Skipanon brand canned seafood products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use any of the recalled product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distention and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

There have been no reported cases of illness to date.

Products were distributed to wholesalers and retailers in Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington and sold to Internet customers nationwide from the website at skipanonbrand.com. The last date of distribution of recalled products is September 2015.

Affected production codes include any codes starting with “OC.” The code can be found either at the bottom or on top of the can. Products are packaged in metal cans with net weights ranging from 5.5 oz. to 66.5 oz.

This voluntary recall was initiated due to lack of documentation and possibly under-processed products. The problem was discovered during an inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is ongoing. This recall is being made with the knowledge of FDA and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Michigan and Botulism

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday warned consumers who may have purchased products with one of three labels – Brandy’s “Jam”boree-N-More, Brandy & Dutch Weigand and Pier III – to dispose of the products immediately.

No illnesses have been identified at this time. The products were sold at various farmers markets and festivals, including the St. Clair Shores, Dodge Park, Sterling Heights, Shelby Township and New Baltimore farmers markets.

The products were manufactured in an unlicensed facility not using required controls for safe production of processed foods, the MDARD said.

Known products include various pickled products, relishes, syrups and jams, but other products may have been produced under these labels. Acidified foods like pickled products pose a serious risk of botulism if pH and other critical factors are not carefully controlled during processing to prevent the growth of C. botulinum, the MDARD said in a statement.

Botulism can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing, difficulty in breathing, weakness of muscles, abdominal distension and constipation.

The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should throw them away immediately.

Large Botulism Outbreak at Ohio Church Supper

On April 21, 2015, the Fairfield Medical Center (FMC) and Fairfield Department of Health contacted the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) about a patient suspected of having botulism in Fairfield County, Ohio. Botulism is a severe, potentially fatal neuroparalytic illness.* A single case is a public health emergency, because it can signal an outbreak (1). Within 2 hours of health department notification, four more patients with similar clinical features arrived at FMC’s emergency department. Later that afternoon, one patient died of respiratory failure shortly after arriving at the emergency department. All affected persons had eaten at the same widely attended church potluck meal on April 19. CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile sent 50 doses of botulinum antitoxin to Ohio. FMC, the Fairfield Department of Health, ODH, and CDC rapidly responded to confirm the diagnosis, identify and treat additional patients, and determine the source.

A confirmed case of botulism was defined as clinically compatible illness in a person who ate food from the potluck meal and had 1) laboratory-confirmed botulism or 2) two or more signs of botulism or one sign and two or more symptoms† of botulism. A probable case was a compatible illness that did not meet the confirmed case definition in a person who ate food from the potluck meal.

Among 77 persons who consumed potluck food, 25 (33%) met the confirmed case definition, and four (5%) met the probable case definition. The median age of patients was 64 years (range = 9–87 years); 17 (59%) were female. Among 26 (90%) patients who reported onset dates, illness began a median of 2 days after the potluck (range = 1–6 days).

Twenty-seven of the 29 patients initially went to FMC. Twenty-two (76%) patients were transferred from FMC to six hospitals in the Columbus metropolitan area approximately 30 miles away; these transfers required substantial and rapid coordination. Twenty-five (86%) patients received botulinum antitoxin, and 11 (38%) required endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation; no other patients died. Within 1 week of the first patient’s arrival at the emergency department, 16 patients (55%) had been discharged. Among 19 cases that were laboratory-confirmed, serum and stool specimens were positive for botulinum neurotoxin type A or Clostridium botulinum type A.

Interviews were conducted with 75 of 77 persons who ate any of the 52 potluck foods. Consumption of any potato salad (homemade or commercial) yielded the highest association with probable or confirmed case status (risk ratio [RR] = 13.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.6–41.8), followed by homemade potato salad (RR = 9.1; CI = 3.9–21.2). Of 12 food specimens collected from the church dumpster, six were positive for botulinum neurotoxin type A; five contained potato salad and one contained macaroni and cheese that might have been contaminated after being discarded.

The attendee who prepared the potato salad with home-canned potatoes reported using a boiling water canner, which does not kill C. botulinum spores, rather than a pressure canner, which does eliminate spores (2). In addition, the potatoes were not heated after removal from the can, a step that can inactivate botulinum toxin. The combined evidence implicated potato salad prepared with improperly home-canned potatoes, a known vehicle for botulism (3).

This was the largest botulism outbreak in the United States in nearly 40 years (Table). Early recognition of the outbreak by an astute clinician and a rapid, coordinated response likely reduced illness severity and facilitated early hospital discharge. This outbreak response illustrates the benefits of coordination among responders during botulism outbreaks. Close adherence to established home-canning guidelines can prevent botulism and enable safe sharing of home-canned produce (2).

Acknowledgments

Fairfield Medical Center, Lancaster, Ohio; Fairfield Department of Health, Lancaster, Ohio; Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Bureau of Infectious Diseases, Columbus, Ohio; ODH Bureau of Public Health Laboratory, Reynoldsburg, Ohio; ODH Office of Preparedness, Columbus, Ohio; Franklin County Public Health, Columbus, Ohio; Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC; Strategic National Stockpile, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, CDC; Office of Regulatory Affairs, CDC.
1Ohio Department of Health; 2Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC; 3Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Infectious Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC; 4Fairfield Department of Health; 5Fairfield Medical Center. Corresponding author: Carolyn L. McCarty, wmw8@cdc.gov, 614-728-6941.

References

Sobel J. Botulism. Clin Infect Dis 2005;41:1167–73.
National Center for Home Food Preservation, US Department of Agriculture. USDA complete guide to home canning, 2009 revision. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture; 2009. Available at http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.htmlExternal Web Site Icon.
Sobel J, Tucker N, Sulka A, McLaughlin J, Maslanka S. Foodborne botulism in the United States, 1990–2000. Emerg Infect Dis 2004;10:1606–11.

Pickles Recalled Over Botulism Concern

Homemade of Leavenworth, Washington is recalling pickle and sauce products because they may have been improperly produced. Washington State Department of Agriculture routine sampling discovered that a bottle of Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles had a pH level high enough to allow the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Required records were not available to support that safe processing guidelines were followed on all sauce and pickle products produced at Homemade.

Foodborne botulism is a severe type of food poisoning caused by the ingestion of foods containing the potent neurotoxin formed during growth of the organism. Foodborne botulism can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Recalled products are packaged in clear glass bottles with metal caps. There are no lot codes or expiration dates on recalled products. The following products have been recalled:

Bread and Butter Pickles (16 oz./454 g)
Icicle Pickles (16 oz./454 g)
Pickled Beets (16 oz./454 g)
Chili Sauce (12 oz./340 g)
Lite BBQ Sauce (12 oz./ 340 g)
Medium BBQ Sauce (12 oz./340 g)
Hot BBQ Sauce (12 oz./340 g)
Horseradish BBQ Sauce (12 oz./340 g)

The recalled products were sold from small retailers and fruit stands in Chelan and Douglas counties in Washington State.