Records kept by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 2019 is winding down with fewer multistate outbreaks of foodborne disease than last year.  Of course, two months remain before 2019 will be over.

The food safety detectives in Atlanta have investigated 14 outbreaks in 2019, compared with 24 during 2018. And CDC has already declared 11 of those 14 as being, in all likelihood, over. It continues to call the public’s attention to the three 2019 outbreaks that are remaining.

The three outbreaks that remain open involve pet turtles, pig ear dog treats, and a mystery source.

Pet turtles sickened 21 people in 13 states with Salmonella Oranienburg, sending seven to the hospital. CDC last updated those numbers on Oct. 9, 2019.

Multidrug-resistant Salmonella made 143 people in 35 states sick as of last Sept. 5 from handling dog ear treats. And 33 people have required hospitalization. The outbreak remains an active case for the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state health departments.

And CDC went public on Aug. 23 with an outbreak of deadly Listeria infections for which it has not determined a source. The outbreak, including two deaths, involves at least 24 cases in 13 states. Twenty-two of those infected with Listeria required hospitalization.

Whole-genome sequencing shows the Listeria making people sick in the United States is closely related to genetically to the Listeria, making people sick in Canada. Canadian authorities suspect diced cooked chicken, but CDC has not speculated about the source of the outbreak beyond that. Nor have the widespread recalls of chicken from Georgia’s Tip Top Poultry been linked to the mystery outbreak.

CDC becomes the lead agency when a foodborne disease outbreak crosses from one state into another. An outbreak involves two or more people getting the same illness from food or drink.

Multistate outbreaks that CDC believes are over include:

  • Cyclospora infections — Fresh Basil imported from Mexico infected 241 people from 11 states. No deaths.
  • E. coli infections — Ground bison produced by Northfork Bison Distributions was a likely source of an outbreak of E. coli O103 and E. coli O121. The 8-state outbreak infected 33 people, sending18 to hospitals. No deaths.
  • Salmonella infections–The outbreak Linked to Cavi Brand Whole, Fresh Papayas, sicked 81 people in nine states. No deaths, but 27 required hospitalization. Cavi declined to recall.
  • E. coli infections — Several recalled flour brands, Pillsbury, King Arthur, and ALDI’s Baker’s followed the 9-state outbreak. Three of 21 infected required hospitalization. No death.
  • An outbreak of Salmonella — Six Infections in three states linked to Karawan brand Tahini. One hospitalization. No deaths.
  • Multistate outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses — Oyster Imported from Mexico likely cause. Sixteen illnesses in 5 states. Two hospitalized. No deaths.
  • Listeria infections — Linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses. Ten illnesses, including one death, in five states. All ten were hospitalized.
  • An outbreak of Salmonella Infections — Frozen raw tuna is the likely cause. The 8-state outbreak involves 15 cases with two hospitalized. No deaths.
  • An Outbreak of Salmonella Infections – Pre-cut melons are the likely cause of the 137 illnesses in ten states. Thirty-eight were hospitalized. No deaths.
  • E. coli outbreak – Ground beef likely cause of 209 illnesses in ten states with 29 hospitalizations. No deaths.
  • Salmonella infections – Butterball Brand Ground Turkey was likely the source of the outbreak. There were 7 cases in three states. One hospitalized. No deaths.

Since the Food Safety Modernization Act became law in 2011, CDC has led 119 investigations in multistate outbreaks of foodborne diseases. The number fluctuates from year to year. Eight investigations during 2017 marked the low, and that was quickly followed in 2018 by the high with 24.

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