Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"The Source Of Listeria Contamination Of Cantaloupe-A Biochemist UPDATES It All" By Reverend Barbara Sexton 'The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

Dear Ones:
     By now, you've probably had it 'up to HERE' with reports of tainted/contaminated foodstuffs.
     And I don't blame you if your eyes 'glaze over' with ennui as the 'lot of us' involved in gathering, analyzing and disseminating information drone on and on about the minutiae of various FDA Recalls...and what's being done to 'preserve the public's health'.
     But once in a while, the epidemiology 'shakes out' just beautifully and a coherent explanation exists for the situation under discussion.
     Such is the case with the Listeria monocytogenes contamination of cut and whole cantaloupe in the United States which has killed and which has sickened so many more.
     You will remember, from my previous article, that this is the very first time that Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe has been linked to food-borne illness in humans.
LINK: www.dearoneshealingministry.blogspot.com/2011/10/cantaloupe-listeria-contamination.html 
     Also you will recall that cantaloupe from Jensen Farms was distributed to the following states (and to no foreign countries that anyone is aware of):  
"FDA has verified that the following states received recalled cantaloupes directly from Jensen Farms: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. There is no indication of foreign distribution."
     Thus, what follows is a rare case of expert scientific study culminating in concrete evidence and conclusions which the public--meaning ALL of us--can use in a very real way to protect and preserve the lives and health status of ourselves and our loved ones.
     So here goes...
     On October 21, 2011, the FDA published a detailed report entitled, 
"Environmental Assessment: Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Fresh Whole Cantaloupe Implicated in a Multi-State Outbreak of Listeriosis" which you can read at your leisure, for I will encapsulate the pertinent findings in it here, for you:
     Here are the basic findings of this FDA report:
1)  The positive 'swab cultures' collected at Jensen Farms DID match the types of Listeria found in the patients who were affected by this pathogen:
"Of the 39 environmental swabs collected from within the facility, 13 were confirmed positive for Listeria monocytogenes with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern combinations that were indistinguishable from three of the four outbreak strains collected from affected patients. "
2)  Swab cultures positive for the Listeria in question was found all over the Jensen Farms operation: 
FDA Environmental Swabs Positive Results:
   Processing Line
9 positive samples from the grading belt
Swabs 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30 & 33
2 positive samples from the conveyor
Swabs 20 & 28
1 positive sample from the felt rollers
Swab 13
    Packing Area
1 positive sample from the conveyor belt
Swab 34
FDA Product Sample Results
1 Cantaloupe Sample collected from cold storage
5 subs tested positive
(10 whole cantaloupes or “Subs”)

LINK:  www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/CORENetwork/ucm272372.htm#records
3)  The FDA has deduced how this Listeria outbreak at/from Jensen Farms originated:
"FDA identified the following factors as those that most likely contributed to the introduction, spread, and growth of Listeria monocytogenes in the cantaloupes:Introduction:
  • There could have been low level sporadic Listeria monocytogenes in the field where the cantaloupe were grown, which could have been introduced into the packing facility
  • A truck used to haul culled cantaloupe to a cattle operation was parked adjacent to the packing facility and could have introduced contamination into the facility
  • The packing facility’s design allowed water to pool on the floor near equipment and employee walkways
  • The packing facility floor was constructed in a manner that made it difficult to clean
  • The packing equipment was not easily cleaned and sanitized; washing and drying equipment used for cantaloupe packing was previously used for postharvest handling of another raw agricultural commodity
  • There was no pre-cooling step to remove field heat from the cantaloupes before cold storage. As the cantaloupes cooled there may have been condensation that promoted the growth of Listeria monocytogenes" 
LINK:  www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/CORENetwork/ucm272372.htm#records
4)  The FDA once again emphasizes:
"FDA’s findings regarding this particular outbreak highlight the importance for firms to employ good agricultural and management practices in their packing facilities as well as in growing fields. FDA recommends that firms employ good agricultural and management practices recommended for the growing, harvesting, washing, sorting, packing, storage and transporting of fruits and vegetables sold to consumers in an unprocessed or minimally processed raw form."
5)  Considering the two-week shelf-life of cantaloupe, the FDA believes that ALL of the affected cantaloupe has been removed from the marketplace by Jensen Farm's voluntary recall of Sept. 14, 2011
6)  The final FDA consumer information is as follows:
"Listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures, about 40 Fahrenheit (4 Celsius). The longer ready-to-eat refrigerated foods are stored in the refrigerator, the more opportunity Listeria has to grow.
It is very important that consumers clean their refrigerators and other food preparation surfaces. Consumers should follow these simple steps:
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
Always wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process 
LINK: www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/CORENetwork/ucm272372.htm#records
     So there you have it with this cantaloupe recall which, hopefully, will be ending shortly, although the FDA still considers this to be an open investigation.
     A warning letter has been sent to Jensen Farms 
LINK:  www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/ucm276249.htm
and we have every expectation that things will be 'cleaned up'--literally--poste haste.
     But consider that this outbreak has been acknowledged to be the deadliest foodborne outbreak in the United States in more than 25 years.  There have been 123 cases and 26 deaths (which includes one miscarriage) reported to the CDC from 26 states.
LINK: www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/cantaloupes-jensen-farms/index.html
     And there are yet others who are pregnant and got ill and who are still being monitored.
     Therefore, we must not 'just hope'...but follow-up diligently and remain vigilante, so that no further food-borne illnesses occur due to Listeria contamination in cantaloupe or any other food.
LINK: www.fda.gov/downloads/NewsEvents/Newsroom/MediaTranscripts/UCM277070.pdf 
God Bless You 
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

Monday, October 24, 2011

"OCCUPY WALL STREET' Protesters Face Many Disease & Sanitation Challenges: A Biochemist Explains Them All" By Rev. Barbara Sexton 'Dear Ones Healing Ministry'

Dear Ones:
     There are a number of health concerns that the "OCCUPY" protesters, their supporters/visitors/sight-seers, law enforcement, public health and all who have contact with their 'camps' and 'campers' should be aware of.
     You may want to read my article series on the risks of TSA 'pat-downs' at airports as a 'primer' of sorts, to get yourself acquainted with what one needs to be on the 'look-out' for in tight quarters, especially when there is person-to-person contact.
LINK: http://dearoneshealingministry.blogspot.com/p/tsa-pat-down-page-by-reverend-barbara.html
     As bad as the unsanitary conditions of TSA 'pat-down' areas are, the conditions "OCCUPY" campsights are infinitely worse.
    Essentially, what we have with these protesters is minimal and ineffective sanitation coupled with poor or non-existent medical care.
     "OCCUPY" areas are, in many cases, merely 'outdoor homeless shelters' run (for the most part) by those who may or may not have the professional training to do so...And who, even if they do have such training are, according to most news reports, woefully lacking in adequate supplies and back-up.
     "OCCUPY" encampments all over lack adequate sheltering materials, not to mention toilet facilities, heat and refrigeration.
     Most important of all, many of these "OCCUPY" camps lack the capability to address what even the BEST legitimate 'non-profit homeless shelters' have difficulty adequately handling, which is: mental illness, substance abuse and what is known as 'dual-diagnosis' (mental illness combined with substance abuse of some sort.)
     I offer here no remediation other than the obvious, but rather an impartial, apolitical list of 'things to consider' for my fellow human beings at this time in history.
     As a 'homeless advocate' for three decades, and as a health care professional well-versed in 'disaster and emergency preparedness' and 'epidemiology', I have a great understanding about what is necessary for the safe and sanitary administration of emergency housing for men, women and pregnant women and women and children.
     Let me state simply that "OCCUPY" protesters and others involved with persons involved in this movement, have a great number of sanitation, health, wellness and environmental concerns to contend with.
     There are 'human factors' (i.e. acts of violence/man-made disasters) and natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and the like), as well.
     Who does "OCCUPY" call in the event of crimes of assault and rape?  Who will they 'turn to' if a storm strikes or a diarrheal disease breaks out in the camp?
     Many of the 'illnesses and diseases' listed below are reasonably easy to avoid and eradicate nowadays using simple methods of 'good hygiene', camp cleanliness...and impeccable professional medical care at the first sign of trouble.
     I'm not sure that "OCCUPY" camps can make the grade, even if and when everyone involved are brought into the mix for the 'betterment of all'.  Human nature just does not work that way and we will always have those who, for one reason or other, are 'marginalized'.
     What I see is that the "OCCUPY" 'tent cities' will likely go the way of most 'tent cities'.
      The cold-hard fact is that an 'urban OCCUPY protester' eating his or her 'designer poached salmon donation' with a working 'grey water' project at their feet will fare no better than a natural disaster victim across the world eating a WHO rations reconstituted with donated clean water.
     In fact, camp refugees overseas may well get superior medical and other care if relief workers can get to them and they accepts their offers.
     Oh, human pathogens are 'great equalizers' indeed.
     Diseases we used to 'be protected from' are quite mobile, thanks to jet travel.  Diseases, such as smallpox, once believed to be have been 'wiped out' due to worldwide immunization, may not have been...And "OCCUPY" campers must consider whether their close-quarters' 'neighbors' have or have not been immunized against certain pathogens.
     My best advice is this: don't rule anything in the following lists IN or OUT if you are feeling ill after having attended an "OCCUPY" event, and visit your health care professional IMMEDIATELY if something doesn't feel right.
     Parents: if you 'visit' an "OCCUPY" campsite or live in one, I beg you to consider the health and well-being of your children.
     Children, like the elderly and those who are immuno-compromised, are at greater risk when it comes to illness, disease and exposure to extremes of temperature, both heat and cold.
     For "OCCUPIERS" and others of all ages, here's your 'list' of things to watch out for.
     It's not necessarily 'fully inclusive' and will be updated as necessary.

1)  Used/exchanged clothing, bedding, sleeping bags, towels, wash-clothes, anything of cloth (especially when 'damp' or wet) can transmit:
  • bed bugs
  • lice ('crabs')-head/armpit/body/pubic areas
  • fleas
  • scabies (mites)
  • ringworm (a fungus, not a 'worm'!)
  • MRSA 'Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus' (a bad 'staph' skin infection)
  • Molluscum contagiosum (a virus)
  • molds of all types
  • mildew
  • roaches (potential hitch-hikers in anything made of cloth or paper)
2)  Used/Exchanged personal items, razors, utensils, plates, cups, shared childrens' toys, toothbrushes, 'surfaces', used and improperly disposed of bandages, dressings, tampons, sanitary pads, condoms, toilet paper, cigarette butts and all items contaminated with blood, semen, saliva, sputum, feces or any other bodily secretions have the potential to transmit:
  • hepatitis B
  • hepatitis C
  • viral hemorrhagic fevers
  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • influenza
  • SARS
  • bacterial infections
3)  Improperly cooked/handled/heated/stored/prepared food can transmit:
4) Poor hygiene can encourage:
  • vaginitis ('yeast infection')
  • bacterial vaginitis ('vaginosis')
  • toxic shock syndrome
  • bladder infection
  • jock itch
  • athlete's foot
  • folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles)
  • furuncles (boils)
  • Necrotizing Fasciitis ('Flesh eating disease) due to Streptococcus pyogenes
  • blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) complicated by bacterial infection
  • warts
  • flea infestation complications
  • lice (head/body/pubic) complications
  • scabies (mites)
5) Person-to-Person contact, especially when combined with poor hygiene, can transmit:
  • gonorrhea
  • syphilis
  • vaginitis
  • jock itch
  • anal abscess
  • scabies
  • fleas
  • lice
  • furuncle (boil)
  • carbuncle (group of furuncles)
  • impetigo
  • genital warts
  • herpes
  • viruses
  • influenza
  • bacteria
  • tuberculosis (via a TB patient coughing, sneezing, speaking or singing) link: http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm
6)  Wounds, punctures, lacerations, abrasions improperly or not treated can cause:
  • tetanus
  • bacterial, viral, protozoan infections
  • many diseases included here
  • sepsis
  • amputation
7a)  Mice in camp can transmit:
  • Salmonella
  • Ratbite fever
  • dermatitis
  • Favus
  • tapeworm
  • Lyme disease
  • Tularemia
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis
  • Hantavirus
  • Rickettsialpox
7b)  Rats in camp can transmit:
  • rabies
  • plague
  • Salmonella
  • Tularemia 
  • rat bite fever (Streptobacillus moniliformis North America, Spirillum minus Asia)
  • other infections (due to bites, droppings)
8)   Insects in camp can transmit:
  • West Nile virus (mosquitoes)
  • Eastern Equine virus (mosquitoes)
  • Lyme's disease (ticks)
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (ticks)
  • malaria (mosquitoes)
  • Tick-Borne Relapsing fever (ticks)
  • MRSA (Brown recluse spider bites)
  • dermatitis-like skin conditions-intense itching with and without secondary infections
9)  Contaminated water for drinking, bathing, recycling (when some gets into eyes/nose/body orifices/is accidentally swallowed, etc) can transmit:
  • Amebiasis   
  • Buruli Ulcer
  • Campylobacter
  • Cholera
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Cyclosporiasis
  • Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)
  • Escherichia coli
  • Fascioliasis
  • Giardiasis
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Norovirus
  • Rotavirus
  • Salmonella
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Shigellosis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • viruses, bacteria, protozoans and parasites ('worms') of all sorts
  • Botulism
  • Dysentery (Shigella and/or Salmonella)
  • Legionnaire's Disease (caused by Legionella)
  • 'Swimmers Ear' (Otitis externa)
  • Vibrio illness 
  • Adenovirus
  • Ascariasis (roundworms)
  • Echinococcosis (caused by tapeworm larvae)
  • Enterobiasis (pin worms)
  • Fasciolopsis 
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Hymenolepiasis (dwarf tapeworm)
  • Microsporidiosis (Protozoan)
  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Polio (rare overall, but found in US, esp in CA, TX & PA http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/vasp/default.htm
  • Polyomavirus infection ( JC and BK variants)
  • Taeniasis
  • Brain-eating Amoeba (Naegleria fowleri-rare-enters through the nose, to the brain)  link: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/faqs.html 
  • Rat bit fever link:  http://www.cdc.gov/rat-bite-fever/ 
10)  Dogs, cats, other pets improperly vaccinated and cared for medically can transmit the following to humans, especially those living in close, unsanitary quarters:
  • Bartonella ('Cat Scratch Disease')
  • Dog and Cat Flea Tapeworm (Dipylidium Infection)
  • Giardia
  • Leptospirosis (from dogs)
  • Mange (rarely, from dogs)
  • MRSA (dogs, cats)
  • Plague (cats, dogs bitten by infected fleas)
  • Rabies (dogs, cats)
  • Ringworm (dogs, cats)
  • Sporotrichosis (dogs, cats--a fungus)
  • Toxocara infection (roundworms from dogs, cats)
  • Toxoplasmosis (protozoan in cats)
  • Yersiniosis (usually from pigs, but from dogs and cats, too)
  • other infections (due to bites, scratches)
11)  Environmental factors can elicit"
  • hypothermia/frostbite (cold)
  • hyperthermia/heat stroke (heat)
  • sunburn/burns/skin cancer (sun exposure)
  • dehydration (heat, usually)
  • electrolyte imbalance (heat and dehydration)
  • trench foot (immersion in water, lack of sock change/foot hygiene)
  • asthma/lung/'breathing' issues (dust, 'mites' in bedding & clothes, perfumes/oils, cleaning solutions, roach dropping inhalation, second hand smoke, candle smoke, incense)
  • skin rashes/dermatitis (scabies ('mites'), molds, mildews due to rotted food, reused clothing/bedding, allergies to plastics used as 'tarps', etc, DEET allergies, scented baby wipes, perfume allergies, smoke allergies (facial rash usually, swelling), incense allergy (exposed skin 'itches'), second hand smoke, etc
  • vaginitis (women be careful with different brands of sanitary products)
  • hives (full body) ( something ingested or grossly exposed to-check for food allergies and be careful with 'donated' skin care products such as lotions, powders, sprays, make-up)
  • anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction to something exposed to and/or ingested)
     It is very difficult to live with minimal creature comforts, especially when the weather (and other factors) are against you.
     Winter is coming and the flu season is here.  Cold is a 'stressor' which taxes the immune system, thereby weakening it.
     Having the 'flu' in an urban 'tent city' will be no picnic.
     Influenza readily turns into pneumonia when conditions are poor and a person is not receiving adequate food, rest and relief from the elements.
     Also, please note that 'strep throat' (due to Streptococcus bacteria) is extremely common and spreads like 'wildfire' in contained areas when food and water are shared...presenting as yet another thing for "OCCUPY" campers to be on the look-out for.
     A 'strep throat' can turn into life-threatening 'Scarlet Fever' very quickly, so if you have a sore throat and notice a head/neck/chest red rash, get medical help IMMEDIATELY.
     Remember that the 'fecal-oral' route is responsible for many bad 'infections' such as those caused by E. coli.
     So, as much as possible....wash, wash and wash again with soap and water after using the bathroom and whenever you can, all "OCCUPY" participants!
     Don't depend on 'hand gels' or 'baby wipes', alone, in lieu of showering.
     Also, when you use hand gels or (even better in my opinion70% isopropyl alcohol), do not wipe/shake-off the 'excess'.
     Let things 'air dry' for maximum effectiveness of these sanitizers.
     Any comments/questions can be directed here (below) or to BarbaraKSexton@aol.com
God Bless & Keep You
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Cantaloupe Listeria Contamination Problem Expands: A Biochemist Explains It All" By Rev. Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

Dear Ones:
     Per the CDC, we are two and a half months into the latest Listeria outbreak in our food supply.
     This situation is significant because IT IS THE FIRST TIME CANTALOUPE HAS EVER BEEN IMPLICATED in a Listeria outbreak.
     All illnesses related to this event started 'on or after July 31, 2011'.
LINK: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/index.html
     But this 'time frame' is somewhat amorphous, considering the 'lag period' between ingestion of contaminated melon and the development of...and reporting of...cases of listeriosis.  It may well be that the offending organisms have been at work infecting our cantaloupe supply for OVER FOUR and a half months, instead.
     Because it can take up to 2 MONTHS for listeriosis to develop after food contaminated with Listeria is consumed, you must understand that this FDA Recall is ONGOING.

LINK: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/treatment.html
     The initial recall was for 'Jensen Farms' cantaloupes:
     "On September 14, 2011, FDA issued a press release to announce that Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes after being linked to a multistate outbreak of listeriosis.
LINK: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm271899.htm
     However, the FDA and CDC pointed out that not all of the 'Jensen Farms' cantaloupe was readily 'identifiable' as it was distributed throughout the nation's food supply chain.
     And sure enough, on October 6. 2011, Fruit Fresh Up, Inc. brand cantaloupe and cut mixed fruit was added to the list of 'brands of cantaloupe' for consumers to AVOID:
"October 6, 2011 - Fruit Fresh Up, Inc. of Depew, New York is recalling approximately 4,800 individual packages of FRESH CUT CANTALOUPE AND CUT MIXED FRUIT CONTAINING CANTALOUPE because they have the potential to be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Fruit Fresh Up, Inc. was not advised of the possible contamination of the cantaloupe it acquired from an independent wholesale vendor until last Thursday, September 27th."
LINK: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm274835.htm
     New Yorkers, especially, will want to AVOID all of the following products by Fruit Fresh Up, Inc:
"The fresh cut fruit subject to this recall was sold between August 31, 2011 and September 11, 2011, and consisted of the following products: Cantaloupe Chunks, Cantaloupe Slices, Gourmet Fruit Salad, Small Fruit Salad, Small and Large Fruit Salad with Pineapple, Fruit Salad with Kiwi, and Fruit Trays."
     And REMEMBER (again) that the 'lag period' between ingestion of Listeria-contaminated produce and the development of signs and symptoms of listeriosis CAN BE AS LONG AS TWO MONTHS (8 weeks).
     So if you ATE any of these Fresh Fruit Up, Inc. products, be sure to see your health care provider IMMEDIATELY if you think you are developing what you believe to be any 'food-related' illness.  Check out the CDC's Listeriosis infection page for detailed information:
     It is plain to see that we are far from 'identifying' all the Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe that has been distributed to date.
     Indeed, the expert advice-which I cannot EMPHASIZE ENOUGH-is to exercise ALL CAUTION with eating ALL cantaloupe for the time being!:
"CDC recommends that consumers not eat whole or pre-cut Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupe from Jensen Farms. This is especially important for older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women...Even if some of the cantaloupe has been eaten without becoming ill, dispose of the rest of the cantaloupe immediately. Listeria bacteria can grow in the cantaloupe at room and refrigerator temperatures. Cantaloupes that are known to NOT have come from Jensen Farms are safe to eat. If consumers are uncertain about the source of a cantaloupe for purchase, they should ask the grocery store. A cantaloupe purchased from an unknown source should be discarded: "when in doubt, throw it out." 
LINK: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/cantaloupes-jensen-farms/101211/index.html
     Did you get that, my dear Readers?  "WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT".  And Rev. Barb advises that unless you are absolutely certain of a cantaloupe's 'origin', AVOID EATING IT AT ALL FOR THE TIME BEING!

     To date, 25 states are affected by this Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe:
" As of 9am EDT on October 11, 2011, a total of 116 persons infected with any of the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported to CDC from 25 states.  The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (34), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (7), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (4), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), New Mexico (13), New York (1), North Dakota (1), Oklahoma (11), Oregon (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (17), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3). "
LINK: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/cantaloupes-jensen-farms/101211/index.html 
     As of October 12, 2011, 23 DEATHS and 1 miscarriage (not included in the deaths stat) have been reported to the CDC:
"Twenty-three deaths have been reported: 5 in Colorado, 1 in Indiana, 2 in Kansas, 2 in Louisiana, 1 in Maryland, 1 in Missouri, 1 in Nebraska, 5 in New Mexico, 1 in New York, 1 in Oklahoma, 2 in Texas, and 1 in Wyoming. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage." 
     For those interested in the more technical aspects of the Listeria contaminated FDA Recall, note the following:
"Listeriosis is caused by Listeria monocytogenes, a gram-positive bacillus common in the environment and acquired by humans primarily through consumption of contaminated food. Infection causes a spectrum of illness, ranging from febrile gastroenteritis to invasive disease, including sepsis and meningoencephalitis. Invasive listeriosis occurs predominantly in older adults and persons with impaired immune systems. Listeriosis in pregnant women is typically a mild "flu-like" illness, but can result in fetal loss, premature labor, or neonatal infection. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics."
     'Febrile gastroenteritis' means fever and tummy ache and intestinal woes.  'Meningoencephalitis' refers to the brain and the membranes around the brain and the spinal cord (the 'meninges' pron men-IN-geez) being infected by the Listeria bacteria.
      It is a common practice and an essential 'tool' to 'subtype' pathogenic bacteria.  This is necessary to determine what bacteria are involved in an outbreak and can be critical to determining the transmission of--and eventually the original SOURCE of--the offending microbe.
     Most importantly, sub-typing allows health care providers to develop and administer an ideal antibiotic regimen for those who become infected.
     We all know by now that pathogens are those microbiological agents which cause disease, the most common of which known to the public are bacteria and viruses.
     In this case, "four widely differing PFGE pattern combinations and two serotypes (1/2a and 1/2b) have been associated with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes" (pron: list-TEAR-ee-ah mah-no-sye-TAHGE-en-eeze) were isolated from cut and whole cantaloupe samples collected from patients' homes, from grocery stores where Jensen Farms melons were sold and from the Jensen Farm, itself.
     The above report is from the 'Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report' aka the 'MMWR', which is an 'arm' of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
     PFGE is 'Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis' is a technology which allows a biochemist to apply a given sample to a 'gel matrix' wherein the specific components of the sample are 'separated' when a pulsed electric field (from several directions sequentially) is applied to it.
     PFGE is the technology that allows for 'DNA typing', for genetic 'fingerprinting' and for 'genotyping' any number of biological and natural ' moieties and has helped very effectively to distinguish between different Listeria sub-species.
     What happened with this Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe situation is that doctors and local and state health agencies reported cases of listeriosis to the FDA, which started studies of the situation.
     As in the case of infectious diseases, the CDC then became involved, for this Listeria contamination of cantaloupe has not 'gone away'.  Thus began the 'sample collection and analysis' as a collaborative effort between the FDA and the CDC...each doing what they do best.
     And, now, as you see MMWR is 'onboard' reporting on deaths and other 'outcomes' for consumers who have been infected with Listeria.
     So my advice for all of us is to be on guard here.  We are dealing with a yet-evolving and ongoing food-borne illness cluster, which is UNUSUAL and unprecedented in many ways:
"This outbreak has several unusual features. First, this is the first listeriosis outbreak associated with melon. Second, four widely differing PFGE pattern combinations and two serotypes (1/2a and 1/2b) have been associated with the outbreak. Third, this outbreak is unusually large; only two U.S. listeriosis outbreaks, one associated with frankfurters (108 cases) and one with Mexican-style cheese (142), have had more cases (1,2). Additional cases likely will be reported because of the long incubation period (usually 1--3 weeks, range: 3--70 days) and the time needed for diagnosis and confirmation. Fourth, this outbreak has the highest number of deaths of any U.S. foodborne outbreak since a listeriosis outbreak in 1998 (1). "
     I had not written on this outbreak Listeria in cantaloupe previously, thinking (and praying) that the media would have covered it adequately, you'd be informed and it would just run a 'limited course'.
     But Listeria-contamination of cantaloupe is NOT going away and we must be mindful of 'lag periods' in both disease manifestation and in reporting times.
     We also do not know, yet, if food processors are inadvertently contaminating OTHER foodstuffs with Listeria, and if so, what they may be.
     In an ideal situation, manufacturers 'cooperate' in FDA and CDC investigations, but this is not always the case, as I have written about before.
     So my best advice is to be aware of what you eat, AVOID what you should, be aware of your BODY and seek competent professional health care advice from a trusted health care provider at the first indication that something may be wrong.
     Anyone interested in the contamination of chopped Romaine lettuce with Listeria can read about that here:
May God Bless You & keep you healthy!
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross
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Questions/Comments:  Here below this article

'Girls' Night Out-PAINT THE TOWN PINK Fri. Oct 14, 2011 Stamford Marriott" Posted By Reverend Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross'

For more information, visit here: http://www.paintthetownpink.org/
Tickets are $50 per person and pre-registration is
required. Call 1.877.233.WELL (9355)

Salvo Randazzo
From Rev. Barb:
     Everyday we see the things that unite us and those that divide us.  
     But no matter what the 'human condition' may be, one NON-variable is the fact that CANCER in all it's incarnations and ramifications affects ALL OF US...at one time or another.
     I say this not only as a pastor, but as a scientist, a wife, a mother, a patient, a care-giver, a daughter, an aunt and a grandmother--- and I defy anyone to come forward with irrefutable evidence that they have remained UNTOUCHED by the dis-EASE known as 'cancer' and the 'threat' thereof.
     Won't you take a moment to reflect upon the fact that all who struggle against this 'great adversary known as cancer' are deserving of our compassion, respect and support in every way that celebrates the inherent glory of human life?
     Surely one way we can do that is to support the 'PAINT THE TOWN PINK' initiative sponsored by Stamford Hospital and other community partners.
Thank You & God Bless You,
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

God's Got You Covered

A true challenge for Christian Believers: To 'love' those who 'hate us', but to be WISE about it!

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