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Social media, DNA typing help identify source of foodborne strep outbreak
Date:7/17/2013

ontaminated 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: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/teach-others/download-materials


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Contact: Jerica Pitts
jpitts@pcipr.com
312-558-1770
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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