Published Date: 2007-03-24 13:00:02
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Salmonellosis, serotype Newport, Mexican-style cheese - USA (IL)
Archive Number: 20070324.1027
SALMONELLOSIS, SEROTYPE NEWPORT, MEXICAN-STYLE CHEESE - USA (ILLINOIS)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 23 Mar 2007
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Daily Herald (IL) [edited]
An unlicensed Mexican-style cheese sold at local Hispanic grocery
stores has been identified as the probable cause of a salmonellosis
outbreak in Kane County (IL), officials said Thu 22 Mar 2007.
The Kane County Health Department has pulled the cheese, usually
labeled as "queso fresco" and "queso cotija", from grocery shelves
across the county as a precautionary measure after a sample tested
positive as a carrier of the foodborne illness.
Since January 2006, 32 cases of the Newport serotype of bacterium
have been identified in Kane County. That is 4 times the number of
cases typically reported.
Officials believe there may be more than 300 people affected who have
yet to be confirmed as having salmonella.
"We're seeing the tip of the iceberg," said Paul Kuehnert, deputy
executive director of the Kane County Health Department. Most of the
sick are Hispanic; about half are Aurora residents and half live in
the Elgin/Carpentersville/Dundee area, communities with large
Kuehnert advised consumers to check their refrigerators for the
cheese and other products that lack labels identifying their origin
as that of a government-regulated manufacturer. County and state
health department investigators still are trying to determine the
[Byline: Lisa Smith]
Date: 23 Mar 2007
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: The Courier
Suspected salmonella source 'everywhere'
The owner of a Mexican grocery store targeted by health officials
this week as the source of salmonella-tainted cheese said Friday [23
Mar 2007] that he isn't the only one selling the product, and he
never knew until contacted by investigators that the popular items
were made illegally on the black market.
Kane County health officials Thursday [22 Mar 2007] pointed to
unlicensed Mexican cheeses as one cause of a Salmonella Newport
outbreak in the area that started in January 2006.
They pointed to El Paso Carniceria Chico, 508 Grove St., as one
business selling the contaminated cheese.
"I don't want people to think it's just us," [the] owner said Friday.
"The cheese is sold everywhere in Aurora."
[The owner] said he bought the cheese from a company called La
Mexicana, which made shipments by delivery truck. Messages left
Friday [23 Mar 2007]on a La Mexicana cell-phone number were not returned.
Paul Kuehnert, deputy director of the Kane County Health Department,
said officials are looking into every Hispanic grocery store and have
visited every Hispanic grocer in the county. Health department
officials found that a sample of cotija cheese taken from [one of the
stores] tested positive for this strain of salmonella.
"We're certainly not picking on any one particular store," he said.
"It was the only place that tested positive so far, but we are
continuing to investigate and to look for samples tied to the
outbreak. It's contaminated cheese, and it's coming from an unlicensed vendor."
He said that 29 of the 32 people sickened by Salmonella Newport are
Hispanic. Health officials suspect someone is buying unpasteurized
milk from dairies, which farmers are allowed to sell, but then the
buyers are making the milk into cheese.
"Both El Paso stores in Aurora have been named by people who became
ill," Kuehnert said.
Health department investigators are looking into about 40 grocery
stores throughout Kane County.
[The owner] said he yanked 3 types of cheese -- cotija, cueso fresco
and requezon -- off his store's shelves 2 weeks ago when health
department officials ordered their removal. And he said he has
cooperated with health inspectors.
[Byline: Kristen Zambo]
[The original source of the "queso fresco" (literally, fresh cheese)
and "queso cotija" (literally, aged cheese) in this outbreak is not
yet known. As well, it is not known whether the cheese was made from
pasteurized milk or not.
ProMED-mail has previously posted (archive numbers 20010503.0855 and
20020401.3855) outbreaks of serotype Newport associated with this
type of cheese as well as with other vehicles (archive numbers
20040920.2604 and 20061202.3409). - Mod.LL]