E-Cigarette/Vaping Outbreak Update

CDC.gov As of December 27, 2019, there have been 2,561 hospitalized cases of lung injury or deaths, associated with the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products reported from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 55 Deaths were confirmed in 27 states and DC.

No state has gone unaffected by this e-cigarette and vaping outbreak.

Emergency department visits suggest that the outbreak of EVALI or e-cigarette, or vaping product use-associated lung injury, began in June of 2019. Cases have been declining since a peak in September., but have yet to go to levels previously seen before June and remain a constant concern.

Laboratory data support previous findings that vitamin e acetate is closely associated with EVALI.

  • The study analyzed samples from 51 EVALI cases from 16 states and a comparison group of samples from 99 healthier people for vitamin E acetate, plant oils, medium-chain triglyceride(MCT)oil, coconut oil, petroleum distillates, and diluent terpenes.
  • Vitamin E acetate was identified in bronchoalveolar lavage(BAL) fluid samples (fluid samples from the lungs) from 48 of the 51 EVALI patients, but not in the BAL fluid from the healthy comparison group.

National data shows that certain groups of EVALI patients released from the hospital are more likely to be rehospitalized or die.

Listeria Outbreak Proves Fatal

Hard boiled eggs produced by Georgia processor, Almark Foods, have been found to be contaminated by the deadly bacteria, Listeria. The multi state Listeria outbreak has claimed one fatality already in Texas.

The CDC is currently recommending that anyone that is at a higher risk of infection not purchase, nor consume any store bought or restaurant ordered hard-boiled eggs, or purchase or consume any other products that may contain hard-boiled eggs.  This includes but is not limited to pregnant women and their newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or on dialysis.

All hard-boiled eggs that were recently purchased should be thrown out immediately, regardless of packaging, use by date or where they were purchased. The area where they were stored must be thoroughly sanitized, as well as any other surfaces that contacted the eggs. Follow these steps on cleaning your refrigerator, from the CDC.

What is Listeria?

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium commonly found in water, soil, and fecal matter. Humans are most likely to become infected after consuming foods that have been exposed to and are harboring the pathogen.  Foods regularly found to cause listeria outbreaks are deli meats and unpasteurized dairy products.

An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.”   –CDC.gov

Symptoms

Listeria can cause fever and diarrhea similar to other foodborne germs, but this type of Listeria infection is rarely diagnosed. Just like any other food related pathogen, Listeria can cause the typical fever and diarrhea, and often, this type of infection will go undiagnosed.

An invasive Listeria infection, such as that in a pregnant woman, may cause flu like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle weakness. The worst of this type of infection will often lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

Those with weakened immune systems may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and even convulsions with fever and muscle aches, similar to the flu.

The incubation period, or timeframe before someone with invasive Listeriosis starts to feel symptoms, can be between one to four weeks after eating the food contaminated with Listeria.

Strangely, some people can go as late as a little over two months, seventy days, or the same night as they were exposed to the Listeria bacteria.

If you or a member of your family has become ill, or you would like more information, please feel free to contact us 24/7. You can also reach us on social media or call us at 361.882.8284

Drug-Resistant Bacteria Outbreak in Pet Shop Locations

The CDC has announced an outbreak of a form of Campylobacter, gram-negative bacteria that are highly drug-resistant. So far 30 patients have been linked to the outbreak. Several said to have handled puppies at a pet shop chain and a few were employees of the same chain.

Illness from Campylobacter can begin in as little as two days and last a week. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea.

It is important to remember to support your local animal shelters. Always wash your hands after handling any animals.

Vitamin E Acetate Common Denominator in Vaping Injuries & Deaths

fatal_lung_injuryThe CDC announced today that Vitamin E Acetate is the common denominator in vaping injuries. Fluid samples were taken from the lungs of 29 patients.

Of the 29 patients, THC was identified in 82% of the samples and nicotine was identified in 62% of the samples, yet vitamin e acetate was found in ALL samples.

Vitamin E is a vitamin found in many foods, including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, fruits, and vegetables. It is also available as a dietary supplement and in many cosmetic products, like skin creams. Vitamin E acetate usually does not cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin.

However, previous research suggests when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with the way the lungs function normally. Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive in the production of e-cigarette or vaping products because it resembles THC oil. Vitamin E acetate is also used as a thickening ingredient in e-liquids.

Be sure to stay up to date on the stats here, and more at CDC.gov

Salmonella Outbreak Ground Beef

salmonella_entericaAn outbreak of Salmonella Dublin has infected ten people after they consumed ground beef. Eight were hospitalized and one death out of California has been reported.

The CDC is currently investigating to find the source of the ground beef outbreak, but is yet to announce a recall of all ground beef, and instead is suggesting you thoroughly cook all ground beef to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, before consuming. It is also recommended that you use a digital thermometer for an accurate reading. The CDC also suggests that you require the same when eating out.

Symptoms of Salmonella

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

What is Salmonella Dublin?

  • Salmonella Dublin is a *zoonotic Salmonella enterica serotype (primarily found in cattle) that in recent years has increased in infection incidence, antimicrobial drug resistance, and illness clinical severity.
  • It will mostly affect youngstock between 2 to 5 months old but can also cause abortions in pregnant females.
  • Salmonella dublin is also a serious threat to human health.
  • a higher percentage of persons with Salmonella Dublin infection were hospitalized and died during 2005−2013 (78% hospitalized, 4.2% died) than during 1996–2004 (68% hospitalized, 2.7% died).
  • Salmonella dublin is typically transmitted herd to herd through carriers but can also be spread by infected, yet asymptomatic calves. Carriers are typically yearling heifers or mature cows that show no clinical signs of disease but will consistently or intermittently shed the bacteria in their feces and milk.

Find the CDC release here, of the ground beef salmonella outbreak.

*strain of salmonella that is primarily found in animals (cows), but is now transferring to humans.