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NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By Monte Morin
The number of deaths linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak rose to 20 on Thursday as health officials announced new evidence tying the illnesses to tainted steroid medication. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration , scientists have confirmed the presence of a fungus known as Exserohilum rostratum in unopened vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate that were packaged by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.
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BUSINESS
March 3, 2014 | By David Pierson
Dozens more people have been sickened by a salmonella outbreak tied to Foster Farms chicken that was thought to have been over, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. The agency reported 51 new cases of Salmonella Heidelberg between mid-January and late February. Forty-four of the new cases were found in California. “It raises concern that this outbreak may not be over,” said Robert Tauxe, the CDC's deputy director for the division of food-borne, waterborne and environmental diseases.
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BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
An outbreak of E. coli cases linked to a North Carolina fair is raising questions about the safety of petting zoos and animal exhibits. So far, Cleveland County Health Director Dorothea Wyant said 38 cases, including the death of a 2-year-old boy, have been linked to the Cleveland County Fair. Of the 16 adults and 22 children involved, eight were hospitalized. Many had stopped by to see the sheep, goats and pigs used for livestock competitions and in the "huge" petting zoo, Wyant said.
BUSINESS
February 21, 2014 | By David Pierson
A listeria outbreak linked to cheese has killed one person in California and sickened seven in Maryland, including three newborns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the outbreak is linked to semi-soft, Latino-style cheese called Caujada en Terron that is sold from a chain of grocery stores in Maryland. The cheese was made by Roos Foods of Kenton, Del. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning Wednesday to avoid products made by Roos Foods, which also sells cheese under the brand names Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina, and La Purisima Crema Nica.  The CDC did not name the grocery chain linked to the outbreak.
BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
A possible outbreak of norovirus that has sickened more than 600 passengers and crew members on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has prompted company officials to cut the trip short, the company said late Sunday. The ship, Explorer of the Seas, is heading back to its home port, Cape Liberty, N.J., two days earlier than anticipated, even after the vessel has undergone sanitation procedures at two ports as passengers grew ill.  In a statement, Royal Caribbean said a spike of "gastrointestinal illness" over the weekend led to ending the cruise early.  "After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly," the company said.  Royal Caribean said its doctors suspected norovirus was behind the outbreak.
NEWS
July 13, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Federal officials said Tuesday that they fear an outbreak of dengue fever in Florida after a survey of Key West residents found that at least 5% had been infected or exposed to the virus. With the exception of a handful of isolated cases along the Texas-Mexico border, there had previously been no cases in the United States since 1946 and no outbreak in Florida since 1934. Dengue fever, which is characterized by a fever of 104 to 105 degrees, a widespread rash, headache, fatigue and muscle aches, is the most common disease caused by mosquito-transmitted viruses in the world.
SCIENCE
September 5, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
This year's outbreak of West Nile virus is the worst since the illness was first observed in the United States in 1999, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases rose by 25% last week to 1,993 -- although only an estimated 2% to 3% of cases are reported to the government. Those are generally the most serious infections: Most people who contract the virus do not develop severe symptoms, and many never even know they were infected.
NEWS
October 17, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have linked four more deaths to the fungal meningitis outbreak caused by a batch of tainted steroid medicine, bringing the total dead to 19. Two of the new deaths were in Tennessee, with one each in Virginia and Florida. Fungal meningitis is an extremely dangerous, non-contagious infection of the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord. It often causes the brain to swell. The announcement by the CDC came the same day Food and Drug Administration authorities raided the Massachusetts offices of New England Compounding Center, the company at the center of the scandal.
NEWS
November 21, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
To date, 10 people have fallen ill - and three have died - in the hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park's “signature” cabins in Curry Village, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hantavirus only infects a handful of people in the U.S. each year, but when it strikes it is deadly about a third of the time, killing by shutting down the respiratory system.  Humans can catch the virus by getting bitten by infected deer mice, which carry the disease, or by inhaling virus particles that are shed in mouse feces or urine.  Hantavirus cannot pass from person to person.
NEWS
May 9, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II / For the Booster Shots blog
A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls' soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday. The outbreak also affected many family members after the team returned home. Norovirus is a common, easily spread virus that causes various forms of gastric distress. It is "the perfect human pathogen" because it is highly contagious, rapidly and prolifically spread, produces limited immunity and is only moderately virulent, which allows it to continue spreading, said Dr. Aron J. Hall of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an editorial accompanying the report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
WORLD
February 13, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration plans to spend $85 million over the next two years to help at least 10 countries improve their ability to respond to disease outbreaks, officials say. In a new push that aims to treat epidemics as potential national security threats, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help other countries expand their ability to detect deadly diseases early and build teams that can respond to...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
Health authorities are recommending that UC Santa Barbara students be inoculated against a strain of meningitis that infected several young adults at the seaside campus and caused an outbreak at Princeton University. University officials said Friday that the federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, which is licensed for use in Europe, Canada and Australia but not in the U.S. Four Santa Barbara undergraduate students became infected with meningitis in November.
BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
A possible outbreak of norovirus that has sickened more than 600 passengers and crew members on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has prompted company officials to cut the trip short, the company said late Sunday. The ship, Explorer of the Seas, is heading back to its home port, Cape Liberty, N.J., two days earlier than anticipated, even after the vessel has undergone sanitation procedures at two ports as passengers grew ill.  In a statement, Royal Caribbean said a spike of "gastrointestinal illness" over the weekend led to ending the cruise early.  "After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly," the company said.  Royal Caribean said its doctors suspected norovirus was behind the outbreak.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 | By Jason Wells
Federal criminal proceedings have been suspended in Fresno because of an outbreak of the flu at the county jail, where hundreds of inmates have been quarantined. U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill issued the order Tuesday afternoon "in order to assure the health and safety" of judges, court staff, attorneys and the public, the Fresno Bee reported . The Fresno County Sheriff's Office has been using lockdown procedures, preventing inmate movement "unless absolutely necessary" in an effort to keep the spread of the H1N1 flu virus from spreading, according to a media alert . A 60-year-old inmate who was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu died after he was taken to a hospital  Monday.  Inmates in the specific housing area are being assessed daily, and immunizations are being offered to both inmates and jail staff as soon as possible, according to the sheriff's office.
BUSINESS
January 9, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
The cockroach infestation that closed a Foster Farms chicken plant in Central California was the latest setback for the giant poultry company, which last year faced a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 400 people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations Wednesday at a Foster Farms plant in Livingston, southeast of Modesto, and the 250,000-square-foot plant remained closed Thursday as the poultry giant tried to remedy the problem. Several food safety experts said they were surprised that cockroaches prompted the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service to take action when it had failed to do so after last year's salmonella outbreak.
BUSINESS
January 8, 2014 | By David Pierson
The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations at a Foster Farms poultry plant Wednesday because of a cockroach infestation. The plant, which is located in Livingston, Calif., 25 miles southeast of Modesto, was one of three Foster Farms facilities linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 416 people nationwide since last March. "Our inspectors wrote several noncompliance reports for insanitary conditions at the plant and then took the action to suspend today," Adam Tarr, a spokesman for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said in an email Wednesday.
NEWS
December 9, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
An investigation of a 2009 outbreak of E. coli traced back to raw cookie dough finds the culprit may be raw flour. A report released Friday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases provides the details of the analysis, from the first outbreaks of E. coli to interviewing patients to tracking the illnesses to raw cookie dough and trying to determine which ingredient cause the illnesses. In all, 77 patients from 30 states were affected; 35 people were hospitalized but there were no deaths.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2013 | By David Pierson
Americans eat more chicken than any other meat. Yet when it comes to food safety, poultry is fraught with risks that consumer groups say aren't being fully addressed by producers and federal inspectors. That's the view of two reports released Thursday. The first, by the Pew Charitable Trusts, examines two recent salmonella outbreaks linked to Foster Farms chicken and concludes the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) lacks the authority to properly protect the public.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 4, 2013 | By Alicia Banks and Carla Rivera
The family of a UC Santa Barbara lacrosse player whose feet had to be amputated after he came down with meningitis last month says that they have been overwhelmed by the public's support. Aaron Loy is one of four student meningitis cases confirmed on campus last month. Two other men and one woman have since returned to class or are recovering. Loy's infection, however, has been marked by bouts of kidney failure, blood poisoning, tissue wounds, and, eventually, amputation. His parents, Mike and Kristen, track their son's daily progress on the Caring Bridge website.
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