Friday, April 19, 2013

CDC report: Illnesses linked to poultry, seafood rising.

Mary forwarded this from today's issue of the AMA's "Morning Rounds":

The AP (4/19) reports, "Bacteria commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is causing more and more food poisonings, health officials said." Over the past five years, the number of Campylobacter cases "grew by 14 percent," according to a report (pdf) released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the report, which the CDC refers to as "the nation's annual food safety report card," was "based on foodborne infections in only 10 states" (about 15% of the US population), it is considered to be a "good indicator of food poisoning trends."

        The Wall Street Journal (4/19, A3, Tomson, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) adds that the report also showed a 43-percent increase over the 2006-2008 rate of infections from Vibrio bacteria. Last July, cases of Vibrio, which has symptoms similar to cholera, prompted the Food and Drug Administration to issue a consumer warning against eating shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, New York. The Journal notes that an FDA spokesperson said the agency is accelerating its efforts to gain jurisdiction over how states implement plans to control for Vibrio contamination.

        The Los Angeles Times (4/19, Healy, 692K) "Booster Shots" blog says Vibrio and Campylobacter were "followed distantly by Shigella, Cryptosporidium, Escherichia coli, Vibrio, Yersinia, Listeria and Cyclosporidium," in the report. Of the "15,531 food-borne illnesses reported by the CDC's 10-site surveillance system in 2012, 4,563 resulted in hospitalization and 68 resulted in death." And although "Salmonella killed the largest number of infected patients, Listeria was the most deadly, killing 10.74% of the 121 patients who were infected by it."

        In its coverage of the CDC report, Bloomberg News (4/19, Armour) notes that the "Obama administration has been slow to fully enact the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which was supposed to be the most sweeping overhaul of US food safety in 70 years." One of the "two regulatory proposals" the FDA released "Jan. 4 to carry out the core of the food safety act would give companies one year to develop a formal plan for preventing the causes of food illness. The second would force produce farms with a 'high risk' of contamination to develop new hygiene, soil and temperature controls."

        The CDC report is also covered by the Denver Post (4/19, Booth, 443K) "Daily Dose" blog, The Packer (4/19, Ohlemeier, 13K), HealthDay (4/19, Preidt), Medscape (4/19, Lewis) and MedPage Today (4/19, Petrochko).
        FDA commissioner requests more funding. Reuters (4/19, Clarke) reports Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, asked Congress on Thursday for more funding to enable the agency to improve food safety and importation oversight, as well as to design chemical- and biological-threat countermeasures. During her testimony at a budget hearing yesterday, Dr. Hamburg told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that the FDA is reducing the amount of money allocated to travel expenditures and training to weather some $209 million in Federal sequestration cuts the agency faces. She also noted that the agency is funded in part, through taxpayers but that the bulk of the FDA's money is garnered through the user fees that pharmaceutical companies pay to accelerate new product reviews. Reuters quotes Dr. Hamburg as saying, "FDA is a true bargain among federal agencies."

No comments: