- U.S. listeria outbreak kills 13, infects 72 - CDC
- Philippines counts cost as Typhoon Nesat departs
- China officials probe Shanghai subway train crash
Posted: 27 Sep 2011 08:58 PM PDT
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupes from Colorado has infected 72 people in the United States and killed 13, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.
The foodborne outbreak is the deadliest in the United States in more than a decade, exceeding the 2008-2009 salmonella outbreak from tainted peanuts that killed nine and infected more than 700 people in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, 18 states have reported infections from one of the four strains of listeria involved in the outbreak, the CDC said.
Of the 13 deaths, four were in New Mexico, two were in Colorado, two were in Texas, and there was one each in Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
All of the illnesses started on or after July 31.
The CDC has traced the source of the outbreak to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed that it found Listeria monocytogenes, the bacterial strain found in the tainted cantaloupes, in samples of melons from Jensen Farms.
The company issued a recall on Sept. 14 of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes in response to the outbreak. The fruit was shipped to at least 17 states from July 29 through Sept. 10, 2011.
The FDA has advised consumers to throw out the recalled melons.
Listeria bacteria thrive in low temperatures. Outbreaks are usually associated with deli meats, unpasteurized cheeses and smoked refrigerated seafood products.
The outbreak in melons is the deadliest in the United States since a 1998 multistate Listeria outbreak involving contaminated hot dogs and deli meats that killed 32 people and sickened 101.
According to the CDC, some 1,600 people become sick with listeriosis and 260 of them die from the infections.
People with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than healthy adults to get listeriosis and people with AIDS are nearly 300 times more likely to get the infection than healthy people, the CDC said on its website.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, said the outbreak underscores the need for the FDA to issue guidelines and regulations to help keep pathogens out of produce.
According to the group, melons have caused at least 36 outbreaks of foodborne disease since 1990, although this is the first attributed to Listeria.
Earlier this year, more than 4,100 people in Europe and North America were infected in two outbreaks of E. coli infection linked with sprouted seeds imported from Egypt. The infection killed 48 people in Germany and one person in Sweden.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters
Posted: 27 Sep 2011 08:58 PM PDT
MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines began on Wednesday the clean-up of flooded areas and assessments of damage, including to the key rice crop, a day after Typhoon Nesat left behind at least 18 dead.
Financial markets, government offices and some schools reopened after being closed by the typhoon, and train services resumed after power supplies were restored in the capital.
The death toll had been raised from seven on Tuesday evening, and there were still 35 people missing, the national disaster agency said in a morning update as the typhoon moved over the South China Sea and towards northern Vietnam and southern China.
There were still nearly 48,000 people in evacuation centres, the agency added.
It put initial estimates of damage at 100.3 million pesos, ($2.3 million), including 16.2 million pesos of damage to agriculture. The Department of Agriculture said it may also release its preliminary damage estimates on Wednesday.
The storm passed across the Cagayan Valley, which was expected to account for about 10 percent of the country's fourth-quarter rice crop.
The government had cut rice imports this year to about 860,000 tonnes from a record 2.45 million tonnes in 2010, and plans to make the country self-sufficient in its national staple in coming years.
But any major damage to crops could force it to import more supplies, at a time when rice prices are rising.
There was flooding across provinces in the north of Luzon, the Philippines' main island, and authorities maintained warnings of storm surges and flash flooding.
"People have to realise now, with the changing climate, typhoons are getting stronger, the pull of the monsoon is getting stronger," Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said in a television interview.
The sea wall at Manila Bay was badly damaged by storm surges, which swamped Roxas Boulevard and other waterfront areas, keeping the U.S. embassy shut again on Wednesday.
As Nesat departed, weather officials warned another was developing in the Pacific Ocean that could pick up strength and become a typhoon as it approaches north Luzon.
"Our initial track line shows it may hit northern Luzon. But it may be too early to tell because it might still change course," Yumul said.
(Reporting by John Mair; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)
Copyright © 2011 Reuters
Posted: 27 Sep 2011 08:28 PM PDT
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese officials on Wednesday investigated what caused two subway trains to crash in central Shanghai, injuring more than 270 passengers and dealing another blow to the country's railway system.
Coming just two months after a deadly collision between two high-speed overland trains, Tuesday's accident renewed public fears about China's aggressive rail building plans.
The subway crash occurred after a failure in the signal system of Shanghai Metro forced staff to direct trains by telephone, but official newspapers said the company which manages the underground, and some of its staff, may also be to blame.
"The accident occurred at a time when the trains were being directed manually, would that make a difference in determining who's responsible?" reported the 21st Century Business Herald.
"After the signal failure, conductors, coordinators and drivers were all working, how could the collision have happened?"
The Shanghai government and an outside investigative team were examining the crash which happened near the well-known Yu Yuan garden, leaving 20 critically injured, officials said at news conference late on Tuesday.
Parts of Line 10 on which the accident occurred were closed on Wednesday but other lines were operating normally. Shanghai has 11 lines running on more than 400 km of track, as well as a link to its main international airport.
Xinhua news agency said the signal systems used on the line were made by Casco Signal Ltd, a joint venture between China Railway Signal and Communication Corp and French power and transport engineering group Alstom.
Casco also supplied systems on the railway line where two high-speed trains crashed in July, killing 40 people, Xinhua added.
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Daniel Magnowski)
Copyright © 2011 Reuters
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