DPH Advises Delaware Residents of Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Involving Turkey Products

 

Image credit: FDA. Thermometer in cooked turkey

DOVER – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Delawareans of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Reading infections linked to raw turkey products. According to the CDC, 164 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported in 35 states, including one person in Delaware. Of the cases reported nationally, 63 people have been hospitalized. No Delawareans have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported from Delaware. One death was reported from California.

The CDC says the outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products and live turkeys. Of the 85 people interviewed, 44 (52 percent) reported preparing or eating turkey products that were purchased raw, including ground turkey, turkey pieces and whole turkey. People who were ill reported buying many different brands of raw turkey products from multiple stores. Additionally, three of the 85 people who were interviewed said they became sick after pets in their home ate raw ground turkey pet food. Another three people interviewed worked in a facility that raises or processes turkeys, or lived with someone who did.

A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday period, the CDC is not advising consumers to avoid eating properly cooked turkey, and is not advising retailers to stop selling raw turkey products. However, individuals should follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw turkey:

  • Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and will make you sick.
  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they are touched by raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.
  • Thaw turkey (https://www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime/index.html) in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.

Most people with Salmonella infections develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. Children younger than 5, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

People who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention.

For more information about this outbreak, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/reading-07-18/index.html . For more information about preventing Salmonella infection, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/prevention.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Advises Delaware Residents of Multi-State Listeria Outbreak Involving Deli Ham, and Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Involving Raw Chicken Products

DOVER – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Delawareans of a multi-state outbreak of Listeria infections linked to deli ham. Several companies have recalled ham products that could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and could make people sick. To date, there have been no confirmed cases reported in Delaware, but DPH urges consumers to take precautions to prevent illness. Listeria is particularly harmful to pregnant women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported in North Carolina and Virginia. All four had been hospitalized and one death was reported by Virginia health officials.

Johnston County Hams, Inc. recalled the following ready-to-eat ham products:
• Johnston County Hams, Inc. Country Style Fully Cooked Boneless Deli Ham
• Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham with sell-by dates from April 10, 2018, to September, 27 2019
• Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc. Fully Cooked Country Ham Boneless Glazed with Brown Sugar
• Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham Less Salt Distributed by Valley Country Hams, LLC. with sell-by dates from April 10, 2018, to September 27, 2019
• Goodnight Brothers Country Ham Boneless Fully Cooked

The recalled ham products were produced from April 3, 2017, through October 2, 2018. In addition, the recalled products are labeled with establishment number “EST. M2646” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Ladyfingers Gourmet to Go recalled the following ready-to-eat ham rolls:
• Signature Shaved Country Ham Rolls. The rolls are made with ham produced by Johnston County Hams and bear the UPC: 8 56149 00509 9.

Consumers who have any of these recalled products at home should not eat them, even if some of it was consumed and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the product has been recalled, do not eat it. Before purchasing deli ham at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not one of the recalled products.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any of the recalled products. Retailers should also clean and sanitize deli slicers and other areas where recalled deli ham was prepared, stored or served. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for sanitizer strength and application to ensure it is effective. For more information, visit: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index/controlling-lm-retail-delicatessens.

If you believe you might have a recalled product, return it to the store for a refund or throw it away. If you do not know if the ham you purchased was recalled, ask the business where you purchased it or throw it away. If you have questions, contact the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 or 24/7 at 888-295-5156.

People with invasive listeriosis usually report symptoms starting one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis. The symptoms differ for pregnant women compared to non-pregnant individuals:

Women who are or may be pregnant: Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
People other than pregnant women: Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. Medical providers should report suspected cases of Listeria to the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 or 24/7 at 888-295-5156.

For more information regarding the outbreak, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/countryham-10-18/index.html. For more information regarding the food recalls, visit https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2018/recall-084-2018-release or https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm622719.htm. For additional information on Listeria infection, visit https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html.

DPH Also Advises Residents of Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Chicken Products

DPH is also taking this time to make Delaware residents aware of a multi-state outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Infantis infections linked to raw chicken products. According to the CDC, 92 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported in 29 states, including two cases in Delaware. Of the cases reported nationally, 22 people have been hospitalized (including two Delawareans). No deaths have been reported.

The CDC says the outbreak strain has been found in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens, and is resistant to multiple antibiotics, including first-line treatment options. This means if antibiotics are needed for severe infections, alternative or second-line treatments may need to be used. Advice to clinicians can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/infantis-10-18/advice.html.

A single, common supplier of chicken has not been identified. There is no need for consumers to avoid eating properly cooked chicken, and retailers are not being advised to stop selling raw chicken products. However, individuals should follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw chicken:

• Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and make you sick.

• Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.

• Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check and place it in the thickest part of the food.

• Don’t spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use two separate cutting boards for raw chicken, meats and seafood; and the other for fruits and vegetables. Wash boards completely with soap and warm water between each use to kill germs.

• CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets (https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/publications/pet-food-safety.html). Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

For more information about this outbreak, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/infantis-10-18/index.html. For more information about preventing Salmonella infection, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/prevention.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Issues Reminder of Open Testing Dates for TB; Announces Call Center to Close Friday, June 1, 2018

x-ray picture of lungs and tuberculosis bacteria
close up of TB bacteria in lungs – courtesy Thinkstock

DOVER — The Division of Public Health (DPH) is continuing its efforts to encourage former residents and employees of the ManorCare Health Services Foulk Road facility in Wilmington, between January and September 2017, to be tested for tuberculosis (TB). On May 25, 2018, DPH announced hundreds of individuals at the facility may have been exposed to a person with active TB during the nine-month period. While the risk for transmission of TB is usually not high, DPH has been contacting former patients and employees via letters and phone calls to encourage them to seek free TB testing at DPH clinics located in one of three Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) State Service Centers.

DPH will offer three open testing days at its clinic at the Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark, as the overwhelming majority of former staff and residents live in New Castle County. The open testing dates are June 4-6, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Testing is for walk-ins only on these days.

DPH opened a call center on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, to follow up with individuals who had been sent a letter and answer any questions, as well as to field questions from the public. As the number of incoming calls has decreased significantly since the opening, DPH is announcing that the call center will cease operations at 4:00 p.m., Friday, June 1, 2018. A recorded message on the call center line will instruct callers to contact the DPH TB Elimination Program with any questions at 302-744-1050.

Former staff and residents who cannot come to one of the open testing dates in Newark, or who live in Kent or Sussex counties and need an appointment are also asked to contact the TB Program and provide their contact information to staff. Residents in New Castle County will receive a call back from Hudson State Service Center staff to schedule an appointment. In Kent County, staff from Williams State Service Center in Dover will return calls to schedule appointments there, and in Sussex County, Adams State Service Center staff in Georgetown will return calls to schedule appointments there.

“We continue to actively encourage those who may have been exposed to tuberculosis to get tested as TB infection is treatable with medication that can prevent it from turning into full-blown, spreadable TB disease,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “I would also like to thank our DPH call center operators who generously volunteered their time to assist us with our response efforts for their service.”

The individual considered to be the source of the exposure was not diagnosed with active TB until April 2018 when the person sought medical treatment for feeling extremely ill. TB is a reportable disease in Delaware and the health care facility that made the diagnosis reported it to DPH as required.

TB is a bacterium that can be inhaled into the lungs of others when a nearby person with the active disease coughs, sneezes, sings or laughs. People with TB disease are most likely to spread the disease to people they spend time with every day, such as family or other household members, close friends, and coworkers. Signs and symptoms of TB may include a progressively worsening cough that lasts more than two weeks, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills and chest pain. TB can affect any bodily organ but is infectious to others only when it occurs in the lungs or larynx (voice box).

Only people with TB symptoms can spread the disease. TB is not spread by casual or brief contact such as shaking hands, touching, sharing food or drink, utensils, bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or saliva from kissing.

TB disease is treatable and curable, usually by taking several medications for six to nine months. About 5 percent to 10 percent of persons infected with TB if untreated will develop the disease at some time in their lives; most within the first two years after the infection occurs.

In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. The bacteria become inactive, but they remain alive in the body and can become active later. This is called latent TB infection. People with latent TB infection cannot spread TB bacteria to others. People who have latent TB infection can be treated to prevent TB disease from developing.

For more information on tuberculosis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm. For more information on the DPH Tuberculosis Elimination Program, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/tbservices.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware’s Dr. Vibha Sanwal Receives CDC’s Childhood Immunization Champion Award

Picture of Dr. Vibha Sanwal
Dr. Vibha Sanwal

Dover Dr. Vibha Sanwal[/caption] – Vibha Sanwal, MD, from Rainbow Pediatrics of Georgetown & Lewes, has been named a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion for her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunizations in her clinic offices. The Division of Public Health’s (DPH) Immunization Program nominated the pediatrician for the award.

Dr. Sanwal is recognized for embracing the Assessment, Feedback, Incentive & eXchange (AFIX) assessment process by reviewing patient charts against the Immunization Information System (IIS) and updating individual immunization records as patients came in during their scheduled office visits. Her clinic staff also reviewed their patient roster to ensure that the roster in the IIS matched the patient roster in their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. This process enables the IIS to reflect her clinic’s true coverage rates for all the vaccine-preventable diseases and provides a roadmap to ensure all her patients get each of the vaccines needed to stay healthy.

“Through the Childhood Immunization Champion awards, CDC and Delaware proudly acknowledge Dr. Sanwal’s passion, hard work and commitment to children’s health by working to eliminate vaccine preventable diseases in our state,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

“I am honored to be recognized as the Immunization Champion for Delaware,” Dr. Sanwal said. “Vaccinations prevent disease and reduce suffering, improve our quality of life, and help our children live long, fulfilling lives. We will continue to work hard to improve the immunization rate of our population at Rainbow Pediatrics.”

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 21 to 28, 2018, is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. Each year during NIIW, the CDC Foundation honors health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of those individuals who strive to ensure that children in their communities are fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases before the age of two.

“The tremendous success of CDC’s immunization programs to protect the nation’s children from vaccine-preventable diseases is a direct result of the efforts of childhood immunization champions,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC. “We cannot overstate the value of the dedication our Champions have shown, which ultimately protects our children, schools, and communities from serious diseases.”

CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates and other immunization leaders. State Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and submitted nominees to CDC. One winner was selected in each of the 50 participating states and the District of Columbia.

For profiles of other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/champions.

For information on immunization schedules for infants and children, visit: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dph/dpc/immunize-children.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DPH Advises Delaware Residents of Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Involving Chopped Romaine Lettuce

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Delawareans of a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections linked to chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. The lettuce could be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 and could make people sick. To date, there have been no confirmed cases reported in Delaware, but DPH urges consumers to take precautions to prevent illness.

Consumers who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and instead throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. Do not buy or eat it if the source of the romaine lettuce is unknown.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. Businesses should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and multiple states are investigating the outbreak. According to the CDC, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time.

• 35 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 11 states. According to the CDC, nearby Pennsylvania has reported nine cases, New Jersey has reported seven cases, and Virginia has reported one case.

• 22 ill people have been hospitalized, and three people have developed kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli two to eight days (average of three to four days) after swallowing the bacteria. Most people infected with E. coli O157 develop diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Most people recover within one week. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in young children under 5 years, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of HUS can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination. People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. Medical providers should report suspected cases of E. coli O157:H7 to the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 302-744-4990 or 24/7 at 888-295-5156.

For more information:

CDC: Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Chopped Romaine Lettuce

CDC: Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Chopped Romaine Lettuce (Espanol)

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers 

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.