Shutdown limits CDC ability to respond to salmonella outbreak

October 11, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hello again.

I have published over 700 articles on this site and I do not believe I have ever said that an article is a must read, but this one is.

I just came across this disturbing article in Wired Science by Maryn McKenna, a journalist for national magazines and the author of SUPERBUG and BEATING BACK THE DEVIL.

She reports that the government shutdown has seriously limited the ability of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to respond to the salmonella outbreak from eating chicken that has sickened 278 people so far.

Multiple strains had been identified before the shutdown. Several are resistant to multiple families of antibiotics.

The references below to a person named Braden is a reference to Dr. Chris Braden, director of the CDC’s division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases.

Here is what you need to know:

The official case count still stands at 278, but no one believes the numbers will stop there.

The breakdown by state — 17 states, not 18 as we heard the other day — is: Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (11), California (213), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Michigan (2), North Carolina (1), Nevada (8), Oregon (8), Texas (5), Utah (2), Washington (15) and Wisconsin (1).

Out of the 278, the CDC has some data for 274 of them. Those people range in age from less than a year old to 93 years old. The median age is 20. (NB: The median is not the average of all the ages; it’s the middle of the range of all of them. That it is low suggests there may be lots of teen and child cases.)

Out of the 278, the CDC has medical information for 183 of them. Of those, 76, or 42 percent, have been admitted to hospitals — which, Braden said, is about double what the CDC usually expects.

Illnesses in this outbreak have been occurring since March 1. But, Braden said, CDC analysts don’t believe this is just a continuation of the earlier outbreak that Foster Farms was involved in last summer; rather, they think it is a different one. More on that lower down.

A statistically significant proportion of the people whom state health departments have managed to interview seem to have been made ill by chicken which they bought raw and cooked at home — which is to say, not chicken that was bought cooked, and not chicken from a restaurant or food-service provider.

You also need to know the following information about the microbes:

There are seven strains of Salmonella circulating within this outbreak.
Within the limited testing they have been able to do, the CDC has determined that four of the seven strains are drug-resistant.

Two of the four are resistant to many antibiotics.

The antibiotics to which the strains are resistant are: ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline.

This complex resistance pattern “is probably contributing to the high hospitalization rate,” Braden told me.

Please read the complete article and take appropriate action to protect yourselves and your families from this serious health hazard.

Damn the politicians and their stupid games with our lives!

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