Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food-borne Pathogen Traced To Lettuce

Date:
February 18, 2004
Source:
Infectious Diseases Society Of America
Summary:
For the first time, scientists have identified fresh produce as the source of an outbreak of human Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infections, according to an article published in the March 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

For the first time, scientists have identified fresh produce as the source of an outbreak of human Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infections, according to an article published in the March 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online. The outbreak was identified in Finland and traced epidemiologically to farms producing lettuce.

Y. pseudotuberculosis, first identified in 1883, causes infections characterized by fever and abdominal pain that are often confused with acute appendicitis. The microbe is well known in veterinary medicine as the cause of illnesses in hares, deer, and sheep, among other animals. Y. pseudotuberculosis infections in humans are relatively rare, and while foodborne transmission has long been suspected, attempts to trace the pathogen to a concrete source of contamination in the past have been unsuccessful.

In October of 1998, two microbiology laboratories in southern Finland discovered an alarming increase in infections during routine surveillance of laboratory-diagnosed infections. J. Pekka Nuorti, of the National Public Health Institute of Finland, and colleagues from the University of Helsinki, the National Public Health Institute of Finland, and the National Food Agency of Finland initiated epidemiological and environmental investigations that would eventually reveal the source as contaminated iceberg lettuce.

In a case-control study, 38 patients with confirmed infections were questioned about what and where they ate in the two weeks before the onset of their symptoms. The investigation led to four lunch cafeterias where the patients reported eating iceberg lettuce. The lettuce served in those cafeterias was traced to four farms in the southwest archipelago region of Finland. While no lettuce remained from the shipments identified from the cafeterias, Y. pseudotuberculosis was discovered in soil, irrigation water, and lettuce samples from one of those farms. The investigators suspect that the pathogen was spread by the feces of roe deer, which have been carriers of the pathogen in the past. Deer feces were found in and around the open, unfenced fields where the lettuce was grown.

In an accompanying editorial, Robert V. Tauxe, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes that the next step in preventing future outbreaks of this kind might begin with studying the behavior of Y. pseudotuberculosis in lettuce plants and attempting to define whether deer or other animals are the specific reservoir of the pathogen. Such investigations may lead to better methods of prevention--from fenced-in fields to vaccinations of implicated animal populations or the use of disinfecting strategies such as irradiation--and give those who enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables more security about what they eat.

###

Founded in 1904, The Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID) is the premier publication in the Western Hemisphere for original research on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases; on the microbes that cause them; and on disorders of host immune mechanisms. Articles in JID include research results from microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and related disciplines. The journal is published under the auspices of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), based in Alexandria, Va., a professional society representing more than 7,500 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Infectious Diseases Society Of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Infectious Diseases Society Of America. "Food-borne Pathogen Traced To Lettuce." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040218074750.htm>.
Infectious Diseases Society Of America. (2004, February 18). Food-borne Pathogen Traced To Lettuce. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040218074750.htm
Infectious Diseases Society Of America. "Food-borne Pathogen Traced To Lettuce." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040218074750.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins