breaking news

Springfield home fire a possible case of arson, police say

Feds use technology to track Dole listeria outbreak


Federal agencies are using a relatively new technology to track the recent listeria outbreak that was linked to Dole’s production facility in Springfield last week.

The CDC and FDA are using Pulsenet, a national laboratory network of public health and food regulatory agency labs, to track the outbreak, said to Kate Fowlie, a spokeswoman for the CDC.

The CDC used a technique called whole genome sequencing to link the outbreak to Springfield.

DNA fingerprints were pulled from samples of listeria from ill patients, Fowlie said. Public health labs across the U.S. upload the DNA fingerprints to Pulsenet, and the CDC can then review data to see if something unusual or unexpected is happening, indicating a possible outbreak, Fowlie said.

Whole genone sequencing shows the complete genetic makeup of an organism, said Lauren Kotwicki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She likened it to a construction project. Instead of a building’s outline, the technique can show the building’s entire blueprint, Kotwicki said.

“Because the technology allows the FDA to identify the cause of an outbreak more quickly, the FDA is able to apply it in ways that have the potential to help reduce food-borne illnesses and deaths over the long term both in the U.S. and abroad,” Kotwicki said.

In this case, the listeria samples taken from sick patients were genetically similar, Fowlie said. The Ohio Department of Health later took samples of packaged salads produced in Springfield and found they shared many genetic traits with the samples from patients.

“Also, epidemiologic evidence showed of five people who were asked about eating packaged salad, all five had reported eating packaged salads in the month before their illness began, and two of two people who remembered the brand of packaged salad eaten said Dole brand,” Fowlie said. “This epidemiologic and lab information linked the illnesses to Dole brand packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio.”

Dole voluntarily closed its Springfield facility Thursday, after one death and 12 illnesses in several states. The CDC has been investigating the cases since September last year, but they were not linked to the Springfield production site until this month.

So far, no deaths or illnesses have been reported in Ohio, according to state and local health officials.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

5 amazing flight deals we found at local airports for summer travel
5 amazing flight deals we found at local airports for summer travel

It’s time to book your next vacation. Discount airlines flooded regional airports with cheap, new flights to destinations across the world. WOWair, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air added new flights in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton — lowering airfare for eager travelers in the region. There are plenty of cheap flight options to...
Mario Batali faces criminal investigation, NYPD officials say 
Mario Batali faces criminal investigation, NYPD officials say 

The New York Police Department is investigating celebrity chef Mario Batali, but police haven’t said exactly what they are investigating CBS News reported on “60 Minutes” that multiple former female employees of  The Spotted Pig, a restaurant that caters to the rich and famous in New York, claim that Batali and the co-owner...
JUST IN: Local restaurant chain named to national ‘Top 100 Movers & Shakers’ list
JUST IN: Local restaurant chain named to national ‘Top 100 Movers & Shakers’ list

A Kettering-based restaurant chain scored some national acclaim over the weekend when it was named to Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list. It’s at least the second appearance on the list for Hot Head Burritos, which opened its first restaurant in Kettering in 2007. Hot Head was #54 in the 2012 Top 100 Movers and...
Military brides in Dayton can get a free wedding dress this week
Military brides in Dayton can get a free wedding dress this week

A local organization is giving away wedding dress for military brides this week. The third annual Marry Me Military for all military brides will take place on Sunday, May 27 in the Grand Ballroom at Holiday Inn Dayton/Fairborn. The event, offered by the United Service Organizations -Central and Southern Ohio, is open to 75 brides from noon to 3 p.m...
Best state for veterans? Ohio isn’t on the list
Best state for veterans? Ohio isn’t on the list

Ohio isn’t one of the best states for veterans, according to a new analysis. The average officer is only 45 years old — 42 for non-disability enlisted personnel — upon retirement from service, according to WalletHub’s new analysis. Military retirees deal with re-assimilation into civilian life, sometimes facing challenges...
More Stories