There’s always a lot to remember when you are going back to school. And this year, it includes a considerable number of foodborne disease outbreaks that are not yet over, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreaks that kept CDC investigators busy all summer involved those Cavi Brand whole fresh papayas, deli meats, ground beef, and bison. From the animal-borne side of the house, there are pig ear dog treats, pet hedgehogs, and all that backyard poultry.

Indeed, the summer is ending with active outbreaks involving the three top food-related pathogens; E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. For all those going back to school or college early, or maybe taking a late summer vacation, it’s a lot to remember. Here’s a recap:

E. coli

A seven-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O103 and 0121 has infected 21 people. Recalled ground bison is the likely cause.

Northfork Bison Distribution on July 16 recalled ground bison and bison patties. Bison Burgers and Buffalo Burgers were other names for the products. Also included was a 4-ounce burger patty.

Northford is a Canadian company based in Saint-Leonard, Quebec.

No deaths are associated with the outbreak, but eight infected people required hospitalization. The CDC cautions consumers not to eat and restaurants and retailers not to sell or serve any of the recalled ground bison products.

Regulatory officials collected records from the restaurants where ill people ate ground bison. “These records showed that the ground bison produced by Northfork Bison Distributors, Inc. was sold in several restaurants where ill people ate ground bison,” CDC reports.

No cases of the hemolytic- uremic syndrome, a sometimes fatal kidney disease, are connected to the outbreak. The CDC; the U.S. Food and Drug Association; and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are continuing the investigation.


This past spring deli meat and cheese sickened eight people in four states with listeriosis. One death occurred. But, there’s been nothing more since that report on April 17.

Both FDA and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are “monitoring the outbreak,” according to the CDC. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that meat and cheeses sliced at deli counters were responsible for the outbreak.

The outbreak strain was present at multiple deli counters.

The CDC did not advise consumers to avoid eating deli products. It did warn retailers to clean and sanitize deli slicers. And, people at high risk, especially the elderly and pregnant women, were advised to be careful with deli meat and cheeses.


Pig ears, a treat for dogs, have spread Salmonella illnesses to 127 people in 33 states. The dog treats have not killed anyone, but they’ve sent 26 people to the hospital.

And the outbreak strain is antibiotic-resistant to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefoxitin, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline.

The CDC and FDA have warned consumers not to buy or feed any pig ears, including any that are already purchased. This outbreak appears to be ongoing as the number of illnesses increased by 34 during the last two weeks of July.

Pig ear victims also include the very young. More than one in five are younger than five years old. Pig ear dog treats from multiple suppliers are blamed for the outbreak.

“No single supplier, distributor or common brand of pig ear treats have been identified that could account for all the illnesses,” CDC reports.

The initiation of three pig ear recalls during July are associated with the Salmonella outbreak. They include Pet Supplies Plus, Lennox Intl Inc., and Lennox Intl. All three recalled their pig ears for possible contamination with Salmonella.

Cavi Brand whole, fresh papayas

An outbreak of Salmonella Uganda with 71 cases reported in eight states is blamed on imported whole fresh papayas sold under the Cavi brand.

On the day after the Fourth of July, CDC warned consumers, saying no one should sell or serve the Cavi brand papayas. Eating any papayas imported from Mexico was also discouraged.

Importers, suppliers, and other foodservice providers were warned not to sell or serve any Cavi brand papayas, which were distributed by Agroson’s LLC.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates the Cavi brand whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico are “a likely source of this outbreak,” according to CDC. Agroson’s LLC did not recall the Cavi brand papayas.

Backyard poultry

By mid-July, there were 768 human Salmonella illnesses in 48 states in deadly outbreaks caused by keeping a backyard flock of chickens. The outbreak blamed on backyard poultry grew by 489 between mid-June and mid-July.

The outbreak involves multiple Salmonella serotypes. Two deaths have occurred, one in Texas and one in Ohio. For 122 or 29 percent of the Salmonella cases, hospitalization was required.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence points to contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries are the likely source of the outbreaks. Of 315 interviews with ill people, 237 or 75 percent reported contact with chicks or ducklings.

Others reported visits to agricultural stores or hatcheries. From others, environmental samples came from backyard poultry environments.

“Backyard poultry from multiple hatcheries are the likely source of these outbreaks,” CDC reports. “Regardless of where poultry is purchased, they can carry Salmonella germs that can make people sick.”

Pet hedgehogs

Pet hedgehogs are the likely source of the Salmonella Typhimurium that’s sickened 47 people in 21 states. Eight required hospital stays, but no deaths are associated with the outbreak.

The outbreak, which started last year, continued to grow over this summer. It added 20 cases between May and August this year.

In interviews, 26 or 74 percent of 35 ill people interviewed said they’d had close contact with a pet hedgehog. The ages of the unfortunate run from 2 to 95 years of age. The median age is17 years old, and 67 percent are female.

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