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Solving The Case Of Poisoned Peanuts

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, February 09, 2009 10:59 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Salmonella, CDC, FDA, Food Borne Illness, Public Health


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / No Peanuts / author: MentalArt

Cracking the case of the poisoned peanuts has involved federal scientists, as well as clues in Ohio and other states.

The breakthrough came in Minnesota at the hands of public health hotshots known as Team Diarrhea, or Team D. They discovered in late December that some of the patients they interviewed lived or had eaten at one of three places: a nursing home, another long-term care institution and an elementary school.

The outbreak, responsible for sickening 575 people across 43 states, has resulted in the recall of more than 1,500 foods that have been traced back to the Blakely, Ga., plant that makes a mere 1 percent of the country’s peanut products.

To make matters worse, in the midst of it all, the government claims the peanut plant knowingly shipped peanut butter that tested positive for salmonella.

For the feds to uncover an outbreak of foodborne illness several things must first happen. Sick people need to go to the doctor. Tests need to be ordered. The lab must correctly perform those tests, and report findings to state and/or local authorities who then must alert the federal government.

Before the cause can be determined, health officials need to know the type of salmonella that caused the outbreak and what food is carrying the bacteria. More than 2,500 types of salmonella, divided into subtypes exist.

The list of recalls and possibilities is ongoing. Recalls include candy, crackers, cookies, ice cream, pet treats and much more.

The AP has a tidy Timeline of events in the salmonella outbreak.

Confirmed Case of Dog Sick with Salmonella

The first case of a dog sickened with salmonella after eating contaminated dog treats has been confirmed in Oregon.

The dog, a 3-year-old mixed breed named Levi, got sick last month after eating Happy Tails multi-flavored dog biscuits that tested positive for salmonella.

Last week, officials warned pet owners: “Some of the peanut products made by PCA have been used by pet food manufacturers. Salmonella is an organism that can potentially be transferred to people by handling of pet treats.”

In pets, salmonella symptoms include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and fever. Some pets may have a decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

With the potential for cross-contamination between humans and animals, people need to be especially diligent about washing their hands after touching a dog with bloody diarrhea. #

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