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Jury selection begins for trial of employees of peanut processing plant at center of deadly Salmonella outbreak

Jury selection is underway for the trial of three people, employees and associates with a peanut processing plant blamed for the deadliest Salmonella outbreak in U.S. history, which killed nine people and sickened more than 700 in 2009. Former Peanut Company of America owner Stewart Parnell, his brother and food broker Michael Parnell, and the peanut plant’s quality control manager Mary Wilkerson were indicted last year on 76 criminal counts that allege the three shipped peanuts contaminated with Salmonella to industrial food customers – including nursing homes, schools and food suppliers – and covered up lab tests that showed some batches ... Read More

Nationwide fruit recall expanded over concerns of Listeria Monocytogenes contamination

A nationwide recall on nectarines, peaches, plums, and pluots potentially contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria has been expanded to include additional retailers and store items made with the affected fruit. Cutler, Calif.-based Wawona Packing Co. voluntarily recalled the fruit on July 19 after an Australian importer’s test detected slight levels of the Listeria bacteria on three peaches. Wawona said in a statement that the Listeria it found fell “within tolerance levels” set by the Australian government. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, has a zero-tolerance rule for listeria monocytogenes, prompting Wawona to retain a private laboratory to ... Read More

California fruit company issues nationwide recall after finding Listeria contamination

CUTLER, Calif. — A California fruit distributer has recalled several lots of nectarines, peaches, plums, and pluots sent out to retailers nationwide over fears that it could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Wawona Packing Co. President Brent Smittercamp said that the company was recalling the products after consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Internal testing at Wawona’s Tulare County packing facility in central California found some of the fruit to be contaminated with Listeria, which can cause serious illness and may be fatal to young children the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals ... Read More

Fifth Alabamian infected with mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus

A Jefferson County, Ala., woman has become the fifth Alabamian to contract the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus, and state health officials are cautiously concerned that the disease may become a problem in the United States if the trend continues. The Cikungunya virus is spread by the Asian Tiger mosquito, which is prevalent in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. The mosquitoes have been traveling just off the American coast but have not yet reached the United States. The first Alabamian to develop Cikungunya likely contracted the virus while visiting Haiti. The virus causes symptoms such as fever, headaches, severe joint pain and rash. It ... Read More

Foster Farms chicken plant issues first recall in salmonella outbreak

Foster Farms, the poultry processing plant that distributed chicken contaminated with salmonella that has sickened hundreds of people in the past 16 months, has issued its first recall of the products. Packages of Foster Farms chicken affected by the recall have a “use or freeze by” date ranging from March 21 to March 29, and are imprinted with plant codes P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632. Though the meat has sickened more than 500 people across 25 states and Puerto Rico, the recall was initiated because of one single illness – that of a 10-year-old California boy who had to be hospitalized. Salmonella ... Read More

Two patients dead after contracting Legionaire’s disease at UAB hospital

Two patients at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Medical Center have died after contracting Legionaire’s disease from the water system in the hospital’s hematology/oncology unit, hospital officials confirmed this week. The two patients died sometime in early to mid-May, according to the hospital. The exact dates of their deaths haven’t been released by the hospital for privacy reasons. They were among eight patients in the same unit who contracted the disease. “Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water,” said Dr. Loring Rue, UAB’s Chief Patient Safety and Clinical Effectiveness Officer. “The bacteria grow best in ... Read More

CDC announces new reports of salmonella infections from Foster Farms chicken

The number of people infected with antibiotic-resistant salmonella after consuming chicken processed by Foster Farms continues to climb, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least 524 people have been sickened across 25 states and Puerto Rico with one of seven strains of salmonella. The outbreak was declared “over” on Jan. 16 with 430 illnesses, but more cases of salmonella poisonings continued to pour in. The CDC reports that three quarters of those infected are from California and that more than a third have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported during the year-long outbreak. The ... Read More

Fictional Dr. House character helps solve real-life medical mystery

Doctors were stumped by the symptoms exhibited by the 55-year-old man with severe heart failure. He had fever, swollen lymph nodes, hearing and vision loss when he arrived at the Center for Undiagnosed Diseases in Marburg, Germany. He also had a metal hip implant that replaced a previous ceramic one. The team of German doctors was no stranger to medical mysteries. They use a variety of resources to help pinpoint difficult-to-diagnose conditions. For this case, doctors recalled an episode of the then-recently-ended Fox TV series, House, a show in which the fictional character Dr. Gregory House solves some of the ... Read More

Children given flu shot, Prevnar 13 together more likely to suffer fever side effect

Children and infants who are given both the flu vaccine along with the Prevnar 13 vaccine for specific bacterial infections are likely to develop a fever, according to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics. Fever is a common side effect following either vaccination. Researchers set out to find if giving children both vaccines at the same time increased this risk. For the study, researchers asked the parents of 530 children to check their child’s temperature the evening after they were vaccinated and text the results. Researchers assessed the likelihood of children developing a fever of 100.4 after receiving either the ... Read More

Infant acetaminophen liquid recalled due to potential defect with oral syringe

Eighteen batches of Perrigo acetaminophen infant suspension liquid marked with various store brand names including Kroger and Babies R Us are being recalled because of a potential defect with the co-packaged oral syringe. The affected medicines include the 160 mg/5 mL sold in 2 oz. and 4 oz. bottles with syringes in the box, and were distributed nationally to retail stores. The packages might contain an oral dosing syringe without dose markings. The correct syringe should have a white or yellow plunger with specific dose markings for 1.25 mL, 2.5 mL, 3.75 mL, and 5 mL. If the product’s syringe ... Read More