CAHFS Weekly Update: E. coli outbreak in Minneapolis; Urgent multistate salmon caviar recall; Ebola outbreak spread in Congo
Addis Hunde Bedada


E. coli outbreak in Minneapolis

A strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) was lab-confirmed in three children who swam at Lake Nokomis beaches in late July or early August. The children became ill after swimming at the lake between July 26 and August 2. None have been hospitalized.

Symptoms of illness include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but only a low-grade or no fever. People typically become ill two to five days after exposure, but this period can range from one to eight days. Most people recover in five to 10 days. However, STEC infections sometimes lead to a serious complication involving kidney failure, called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. Those most at risk of developing complications from STEC include children younger than 10, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

As a result of the large group of suspected cases, officials of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board took immediate action to close the beaches. State health officials recommended that anyone who swam recently at Lake Nokomis and has symptoms of E. coli contact their health care provider. They also stressed that anyone who is experiencing diarrhea should not go swimming in any body of water while they are sick.

MN Department of Health


Urgent multistate salmon caviar recall

Grained Salmon Caviar 95g made from sockeye salmon has been recalled as it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. The product was distributed in many states and may have been distributed to Canada.

Food contaminated with C. botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled but can still make anyone sick. Symptoms in adults can include paralysis of breathing muscles, facial paralysis or loss of facial expression, unreactive or fixed pupils, difficulty swallowing, drooping eyelids, blurred or double vision, difficulty speaking or including slurred speech, and a change in sound of voice, including hoarseness. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as soon as six hours or as long as 10 days after exposure.

The recalled product by the FDA and Canadian Food Inspection Agency was also reviewed and sent to a lab for testing. The analysis showed a lower than normal salt content, fostering an anaerobic environment, which is necessary to breed C. botulinum bacteria. Although no C. botulinum bacteria were detected in the product, consumers are warned to not use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled. No illnesses have been reported yet. 

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled Grained Salmon Caviar product and developed symptoms of botulism poisoning should seek immediate medical attention and must inform the manufacturer.

Food Safety News


Ebola outbreak spread in Congo

An Ebola epidemic in West Africa from 2013 to 2016 became the world’s largest outbreak, spreading through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and killing more than 11,300 people. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, this has affected 2,765 people, of whom 1,808 have died. The outbreak had spread to South Kivu region, 430 miles south of where the outbreak was first detected. Two new cases were confirmed in the current outbreak, opening a new front in the fight against Ebola.

Efforts to control the outbreak have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help. Many people in eastern Congo do not trust doctors and other medical professionals. Coupled with fear of the virus, this has presented major hurdles to health workers who are combating Ebola’s spread. The new cases will again raise serious questions about whether the large-scale, international-led health response to the Congolese Ebola crisis is capable of containing the outbreak, which has been described by some officials as the most complex public health emergency in history.

Although this vaccine is not yet approved and its commercial use is not yet authorized, it has been shown to be effective and safe during Ebola outbreaks in West Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak a global health emergency, and fears of the disease’s spread led the neighboring country of Rwanda to temporarily shut a border crossing this month. 

NY TImes


Portrait of Addis Hunde Bedada

Addis Hunde Bedada

Addisalem Hunde Bedada is a veterinary public health resident at the University of Minnesota. Since graduating from Addis Ababa University, Dr. Hunde Bedada has worked as an instructor and researcher at Wollega University, and most recently, as a veterinary drug and feed inspector with the Ethiopian Veterinary Drug and Feed Administration and Control Authority. He is particularly interested in food safety and production systems, antimicrobial resistance, One Health, and zoonotic disease outbreak investigation and prevention. In his free time, Dr. Hunde Bedada can be found reading books, enjoying nature and watching soccer.