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Cookie Dough – Gooey, Sweet, and Seasoned with… Bacteria?!

Categories: Foodborne

3 magnetic beads about 5 microns in diameter.

The possibility that E. coli O157:H7 was a contaminant in cookie dough surprised even the most experienced microbiologists here in CDC’s Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch. E. coli O157 is a common culprit of a severe diarrheal illness, usually caused by eating contaminated and undercooked ground beef or drinking unpasteurized apple juice. It shouldn’t have even been on the “Who’s Who” list of the top bacterial contaminants.

The Fit Between Wildlife Health and Human Health

Categories: Zoonotic Disease

Wildlife Disease Association's logo

“Wildlife Health from Land to Sea: Impacts of a Changing World.” That was the theme of the 58th annual meeting of the Wildlife Disease Association, held earlier this month. I had the pleasure of attending this conference along with several colleagues from the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases (NCZVED).

Hepatitis B in Kuwait: Are Immunizations Making an Impact? Yes!

Categories: Prevention/Vaccination

a grayscale map singling out Kuwait in brown.

The Public Health Matters blog welcomes requests from its readers. Recently, a reader asked us to address the issue of Hepatitis B in Kuwait. Dr. Frank Mahoney, a CDC medical epidemiologist who has worked extensively in the Middle East, wrote this response:

Q Fever: The Good, the Bad, and the Underreported

Categories: Zoonotic Disease

APHL/EID Fellow Amanda Candee collecting environmental samples from a sheep pen in western Colorado. Sheep are a major reservoir for Coxiella burnetii.

APHL/EID Fellow Amanda Candee collecting environmental samples from a sheep pen in western Colorado. Sheep are a major reservoir for Coxiella burnetii.

Q fever is a disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, which can be transmitted to humans from animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. C. burnetii is considered a possible bioterrorism agent because it is quite hardy in the environment, infects people who breathe aerosols containing the organism, and has a very low infectious dose (one organism can cause disease in a susceptible person).

One Piece Found in the Marburg Puzzle

Categories: Vectorborne

Egyptian fruit bats at home in the Python Cave, Maramagambo Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.

Egyptian fruit bats at home in the Python Cave, Maramagambo Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.

Marburg hemorrhagic fever is one of the world’s deadliest diseases. While not always fatal, infection with the Marburg virus generally causes serious illness. There is no vaccine or drug therapy available for those who become infected and we know that as many of 90 percent of those infected during outbreaks have died.

The First Step in Identifying a Foodborne Outbreak… PulseNet

Categories: Foodborne

Cluster of indistinguishable PFGE fingerprints linked to the cookie dough outbreak.

The road to last month’s cookie dough recall started when CDC scientists reviewed information collected through PulseNet, a national network of laboratories that perform DNA “fingerprinting” of foodborne bacteria like E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria. These fingerprints are plugged into a database that CDC and its state partners routinely scan. I’m a PulseNet database manager at CDC and one of my jobs is to identify “clusters” – groups of illnesses that share the same fingerprint.

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