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Botulism Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Botulism News & Outbreaks

California Botulism Outbreak Update

thThe California Department of Public Health (CDPH) tested and confirmed that nacho cheese sauce that was sold at a gas station in Sacramento County has tested positive for the toxin that causes botulism. The toxin found in the cheese sauce is the same type identified in patients for whom CDPH has results. https://emdinspections.saccounty.net/document.aspx?id={8AB316AD-53B0-4F16-9C25-26209CA87B1F}&type=application/pdf 

CDPH has received reports of 10 cases of botulism linked to this outbreak, and has learned that one patient has died. The nacho cheese sauce was removed from sale on May 5. CDPH believes there is no continuing risk to the public.

“While there are still unanswered questions about this outbreak, these tragic illnesses are important reminders to be vigilant about food safety,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “As we head into the summer barbecue season, both indoor and outdoor chefs need to be on guard against all foodborne illnesses.”

Botulism cases are reported to CDPH so that appropriate action can be taken to protect public health. For botulism and other foodborne diseases, CDPH and local public health departments receive case reports, conduct investigations to determine possible sources of exposure, test laboratory specimens to identify and link foodborne illnesses, take action to ensure food items that pose a risk to public health are no longer available, provide information to the public about how to prevent disease, and publish data about overall disease trends and risks.

For foodborne diseases, CDPH does not track patient conditions or outcomes. To protect patient privacy, CDPH is not sharing information about the patients affected in this botulism outbreak, their conditions or the four counties that have reported cases.

CDPH and local health departments have notified health care providers to be aware of the symptoms of botulism, including:

·             Double or blurred vision

·             Drooping eyelids

·             Slurred speech

·             Difficulty swallowing

·             Dry mouth

·             Muscle weakness

People experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

Foodborne botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulism can be treated with antitoxin and supportive care, often in an intensive care unit. Botulism is fatal in about 5 percent of cases. The toxin that causes botulism can be found in foods that are not properly processed or stored. It is odorless and colorless, so it is not possible to tell if a product is contaminated just by looking at it.

In the kitchen or at your backyard grill, simple steps can prevent many types of foodborne illnesses, including:

·             Cook – Make sure foods are cooked to the right temperature.

·             Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often.

·             Chill – Refrigerate foods properly.

·             Separate – Separate raw meats from other foods.

Valley Oak Food and Fuel tied to 10 Botulism Cases

According to recent news reports, the outbreak of foodborne botulism originating from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove has left 10 people hospitalized, the state Department of Health reported Friday, and an Antioch resident, Martin Galindo, may have died as a result.

The botulism outbreak was reported to have come from nacho cheese sauce sold at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove.

37-year-old Martin Galindo from Antioch also died in a hospital in San Francisco on Thursday night after contracting what his family said is a rare case of botulism. ABC7 News reported on Friday that Martin Galindo contracted botulism from nacho cheese bought at the gas station and was being treated in San Francisco.

Inspection reports for the Valley Oaks Food and Fuel station show that on May 6 and 7, officers impounded bags of Montecito nacho cheese tortilla chips and closed the facility. On May 8, health officers from the state Department of Health impounded four bags of Gehls cheese sauce and reopened the store to sell prepackaged food items only.

Walnut Grove Valley Oak and Fuel Station Botulism Outbreak

oFive people sickened.

Ellen Garrison of the Sacramento Bee reports today that the Sacramento County Public Health officials are investigating the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove after several customers who ate prepared food from the station contracted botulism.

A county press release said the department is collaborating with the state Department of Public Health and the county Department of Environmental Management, which has the authority to stop the sale of prepared food at the gas station.

Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal type of food poisoning caused by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include double vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, dry mouth and muscle weakness. The county is asking that anyone experiencing these symptoms after eating prepared food at the gas station from April 23 through Sunday contact their healthcare provider.

Deer Antler Botulism Outbreak

la-1493436078-avuwzxsq0s-snap-imageThe Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) warns against consuming local deer- antler tea due to botulism risk. Public Health has recently identified one confirmed and one suspected case of botulism occurring in adults. Preliminary investigation suggests that these cases may be associated with the consumption of a deer-antler tea product (photos attached) that was acquired during the month of March. Pending further investigation, Public Health recommends that all persons who purchased product similar to this (i.e., deer-antler tea provided in a sealed pouch similar to the attached photographs) during the month of March, immediately dispose of it.

Public Health will provide more information as it becomes available.

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium. Classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and weakness. These are all symptoms of muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days. The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks or months, plus intensive medical and nursing care. The paralysis slowly improves.

People experiencing symptoms of botulism, who have recently drunk the tea, should seek immediate medical attention.

Honey and Babies Do Not Mix – Botulism

34380zdyq33t7dg-300x225The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced that a 6-month-old Adachi Ward boy died of infant botulism after his family gave him honey.

According to the metro government, it is the first death caused by infant botulism reported in Japan since 1986, when statistics started being kept.

The government warned that babies younger than 1 should not be given honey, after announcing on Friday that the boy died on March 30. Government officials said the boy had been having coughs since Feb. 16, and was taken to a hospital by ambulance on Feb. 20 after developing convulsions and suffering respiratory failure. He was diagnosed as having infant botulism on Feb. 28.

They said that the boy’s family had been giving him honey by mixing it into juice twice a day for about a month, and that the family told them they were not aware babies should not be given honey.

The bacteria Clostridium botulinum was found from an unsealed honey container kept at the boy’s house and in the boy’s stool, and a public health center confirmed that the boy’s death was caused by botulism poisoning.

Minnesota Dry Fish Botulism Recall

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has issued a consumer advisory for dried fish from a St. Paul market due to concerns about botulism.

The MDA said Friday that dried, uneviscerated fish sold from Shwe Karen Market has the potential to be contaminated with clostridium botulinum, which can cause life-threatening illness or death.

The product of concern is dried fish longer than 5 inches and still containing the internal organs. The fish was packaged in one kilogram clear plastic bags labeled “Dried Fish.” The fish was sold between Feb. 5 and March 2, 2017.

Botulism Risk – Baby Food in Canada

The recall of one brand of PC Organics baby food Feb. 3 has been expanded to all varieties of the brand as of Feb. 8.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the voluntary recall by Loblaw is due to risk of botulism in the food. It said excess water in the products, present because of a manufacturing error, might allow botulism to grow.

The recall initially involved the PC Organics brand of apple, blueberry and green pea strained baby food in the 128 millilitre container. It now includes a list of 32 different kinds in the PC organic baby food line.
“There have been reported illnesses that may be associated with the consumption of these products,” the CFIA said on its website.

The recall was triggered by a consumer complaint and the CFIA said it is investigating and will verify that the industry is removing all the recalled products.

Anyone who has purchased the baby food should throw it out or return it to place of purchase. The food has been distributed nationally.

In Western Canada, it was distributed to Extra Foods, Loblaws City Market, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Real Canadian Wholesale Club, Your Independent Grocer, Shoppers Drug Mart and affiliated independent stores.

Lizard Fish Recalled

Lizard-FishArcadia Trading Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, is recalling 34 cartons of Lizard Fish 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 consume 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 distension and constipation may also be common symptoms.  People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

The Lizard Fish was distributed nationwide to supermarkets between 2/11/2014 and 7/8/2016.

The product was imported from Vietnam and is packed in uncoded bulk 15 kg boxes.

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

The potential for the contamination was noted by an FDA Investigator during a follow-up inspection.  Subsequent FDA analysis of the product confirmed that the fish was not properly eviscerated prior to processing.  The company has ceased distribution of the product.

Mackerel Recalled over Botulism Risk

Phil-am Trading, Inc. of Jersey City, NJ is recalling Phil-am Smoked Mackerel (Hasa-Hasa), because it has 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 distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Phil-am Smoked Mackerel (Hasa-Hasa) was distributed in New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Phil-am Smoked Mackerel (Hasa-Hasa) comes in 200 g. (7.05 oz) packs and is packaged in a clear flexible plastic pouch and is topped by a predominantly red tag affixed to the top seal which has the product’s information. Its UPC code is 814487015147, and the product was distributed to stores between February and November 2016. Stores will be notified of their receipt of product and will be provided with recall instructions.

NYSDAM laboratory and sampling analysis revealed that the product is uneviscerated.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Mackerel Recalled due to Botulism

ae2219bb-f7a9-4419-82e8-7ae48a43a02b-large16x9_BOTULISMThe State Department of Environmental Agriculture and Markets is now warning consumers not to eat “Phil Am” brand Smoked Mackerel (Hasa Hasa) because the product was found to be uneviscerated.

The product is sold by Asian Supermarket Group Inc., located at 1245 Central Ave in Albany.

No illnesses have been reported to the Department to date in connection with the product.

The “Phil Am” brand Smoked Mackerel (Hasa Hasa) is packaged in a clear, vacuum package flexible plastic pouch and offered for sale at refrigerated temperatures. The product is uncoded and is a product of the Philippines. The package does contain a UPC number of “814487015147.”

Because the fish is uneviscerated, the product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal foodborne illness.

Symptoms of Botulism include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and respiratory paralysis.