Navigation Links
Social media, DNA typing help identify source of foodborne strep outbreak

[EMBARGOED FOR JULY 18, 2013] Facebook posts helped alert public health officials to a strep throat outbreak among a high school dance team in 2012, and DNA fingerprinting led investigators to pasta prepared by a previously ill parent as the likely source. Although strep throat, or Group A Streptococcus (GAS) pharyngitis, usually spreads from person to person by droplets, foodborne transmission is possible, as a report published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases found. The most common form of GAS illness is strep throat, but some cases can have more severe consequences.

Among 63 people who consumed food at a Minnesota high school dance team banquet, 18 came down with strep throat less than three days later. When multiple posts soon appeared on the team's Facebook page about ill dance team members and relatives, a parent contacted the state health department.

After interviewing approximately 100 people by telephonethose who attended the banquet, household contacts of attendees, and those who did not attend but ate banquet leftoversand conducting DNA typing of bacterial strains isolated from those who became ill, lead report author Sarah Kemble, MD, and her team of investigators at the Minnesota Department of Health narrowed the possible source of the outbreak to cooked pasta served at the banquet.

The DNA fingerprints of the strep bacteria isolated from the throats of those who became ill matched those of the bacteria identified in the pasta. In addition, one person who became ill and did not attend the banquet, but who ate some of the leftover pasta brought home by family members who did attend, helped confirm how the bacteria was transmitted. This person had a laboratory-confirmed GAS infection that matched the same DNA fingerprint pattern. No one else in the household had symptoms of strep throat, and throat swabs on all the other household members were negative for the bacteria.

"We suspect cooked food was contaminated by respiratory droplets from a person who carried the strep bacteria in the throat when the food was cooling or reheating," Dr. Kemble said. "The food probably was not kept hot or cold enough to stop bacterial growth." Both the parent who prepared the pasta and a child in the same household reported having strep throat three weeks before the banquet."Foodborne illness is not limited to diseases that cause vomiting and diarrhea," Dr. Kemble noted.

The rapid communication possible within a large group using online social media played an important role in bringing this outbreak to the attention of a parent, who then contacted the health department, Dr. Kemble said. A more formalized use of social media for disease surveillance and outbreak investigations may have the potential to benefit public health in some circumstances, the authors noted.

Tips for Reducing the Spread of Foodborne Illness

  • Do not prepare food for others if you are ill, especially if you are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, or have a respiratory infection and are coughing or sneezing. If you are receiving treatment for an illness, ask your doctor how long you should wait after treatment before preparing food for others.

  • When preparing food in large batches (e.g., for large groups of people), ensure the food is kept hot or cold. Disease-causing bacteria grow best in the "temperature danger zone" of 41 F to 140 F.

  • Use a thermometer to ensure that food items are meeting proper temperature requirements.

  • Educational materials for those cooking for large groups are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:


Contact: Jerica Pitts
Infectious Diseases Society of America

Related medicine news :

1. Mobilizes Social Entrepreneurship Through Crowdsourcing Agreement with Indonesia’s Largest Youth Organization
2. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) to Congress: Don’t Pay Social Security Based On Illegal Work
3. Dr. Speron Reveals How Social Media Has Caused a 28% Increase in Cosmetic Procedures in His Practice Over the Last Four Months
4. FetchRx Joins Pinterest Social Media Site
5. Gluteboost Launches New Community and Social Network Devoted to Butt Enhancement
6. ThreeTwelve Creative’s HelpBase Software Powers New Social Services Directory Launch
7. Comfort & Harmony™ Weighs in on Possible Lifelong Social Benefits of Breastfeeding, Makes Breastfeeding Easier with mombo™ Nursing Pillow Available at Babies “R” Us
8. Social Media Optimization: Casey Gollan Shows Businesses How to Get the Most Out of Social Networking
9. Egg banking for social reasons
10. Children with delayed motor skills struggle more socially
11. Rutgers-Camden professor examines social capabilities of performing multiple-action sequences
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... , ... November 29, 2015 , ... Effective immediately, every ... In addition starting on Black Friday Target is offering a “Buy One Scrub Set, ... is a rare opportunity to purchase IguanaMed at a discounted price. , ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Safe storage for contraceptive devices may not always be easy ... Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, New Jersey, there is an easy solution ... having to replace NuvaRings more often than necessary. As such, it affords peace of ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios is back ... to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Users have full control over angle of ... Pulse masking effects, users are sure to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... study carried out by the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia ... of hospitalizations for head injuries. The article explains that part of the reason for ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... A team of Swiss doctors has released a report on mesothelioma relapse ... the findings on the website. Click here to read the details now. ... who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP surgery. Among the 106 patients who ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "2016 ... by Test, Country Volume and Sales Segment ... Emerging Opportunities" report to their offering. ... the addition of the "2016 Global ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , 26 november 2015 ... kondigt de geplande investering aan van ten ... de laboratoria en het mondiale hoofdkantoor in ... uitbreiding zal resulteren in extra kantoorruimte en ... aan de groeiende behoeften van de farmaceutische ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... --> --> Juntendo University ... contrast weighting of MRI for patients with Multiple Sclerosis ... agreement with SyntheticMR in order to use SyMRI in clinical ... to generate multiple contrast images from a single scan and ... making it possible to both fine tune images and recreate ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: