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Marler Clark Announces -- Unpasteurized Orange Juice Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak.

SEATTLE -- On July 8, 2005, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a nationwide warning to consumers against drinking unpasteurized orange juice products distributed under a variety of brand names by Orchid Island Juice Company of Fort Pierce, Florida, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium.

To date there have been reports of 15 cases of a matching strain of illness directly linked to a history of consumption of Orchid Island Juice from mid-May to June in Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts. In addition, at least 16 other states have reported cases of Salmonella Typhimurium infection that match this specific strain. Further investigations are underway to determine if these infections are also related to these products or the earlier FDA recall of Salmonella Typhimurium tainted ice cream sold by Cold Stone Creamery.

Prior Salmonella Outbreaks in Orange Juice

May-June, 1995: Salmonella Serovars Hartford, Gaminara and Rubislaw -- In Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., cases of Salmonella infections were reported at a Walt Disney World theme park after people drank unpasteurized orange juice. There were 63 cases from 21 states (average age 10 years old) and 22% were hospitalized. No deaths occurred. Salmonella of three different serotypes were found (Parish, 1998, Smith De Waal et al., 1999). Isolates of the three serovars from the patients, orange juice and processing environment demonstrated a link between the facility and the outbreak (Parish, 1997). Amphibians are suspected to be the source of contamination (Parish, 2000). JAMA. 1999 May 26;281(20):1892-3.

February, 1999: Salmonella enterica -- In Adelaide, Australia there were approximately 500 laboratory confirmed cases of Salmonella infection from fresh, chilled, unpasteurized orange juice. No deaths occurred. The Knispel Fruit Juice Pty Ltd's orange juice called "Nippy's" was found to be the cause of the outbreak (Steene, 1999). Oranges from a fresh fruit packing house were the source of the contamination (Parish, 2000).

June 1999: Salmonella Muenchen -- In the summer of 1999, over 400 people became infected and one died as a result of drinking either frozen or fresh unpasteurized orange juice contaminated with Salmonella Muenchen. The product was sold by the bottle and in bulk to restaurants, hotels and other food establishments. Thus, 15 US states were involved and 2 Canadian provinces. The juice was produced by Sun Orchard Inc. in Tempe, Arizona and was labeled under a number of different brand names (Sun Orchard, Aloha, Zupan, etc.) (Steinberg, 1999). The causative organism was isolated from samples of the packaged raw juice as well as from storage vats within the packaging facility. Three other Salmonella strains were also isolated from the product at the plant in Tempe, Arizona. Imports of Mexican orange juice that contained melted ice is the suspected source of contamination. This was the largest Salmonella outbreak associated with unpasteurized orange juice. JAMA. 1999; 282:726-728.

April 2000: Salmonella enteritidis -- Seventy-four confirmed cases of Salmonellosis were reported in 7 US states. No deaths occurred. California Day-Fresh Foods, who sells the unpasteurized juice as "Naked Juice" and "Ferraro's", was implicated in the outbreak. The source of contamination is unknown. Source: Press Release, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, April 20, 2000.

About Salmonella

Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the U.S. The reported incidence of Salmonella illnesses are about 17 cases per each 100,000 persons.

Over 40,000 actual cases are reported and confirmed yearly in the U.S. As only about 3% of Salmonella cases are officially reported nationwide, and many milder cases are never diagnosed, the true incidence is undoubtedly much higher. It is more common in the warmer months of the year. Approximately 500 to 1,000 persons or 31% of all food-related deaths are caused by Salmonella infections in the U.S. every year.

According to the April 15, 2005 MMWR article on FoodNet data, five Salmonella serotypes accounted for 56% of all Salmonella infections, as follows: Typhimurium, (20%); Enteritidis, (15%); Newport, (10%); Javiana, (7%); and Heidelberg, (5%).

Salmonellosis

The acute symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea with mucous. The onset of symptoms usually occurs within 6 to 72 hours after the ingestion of the bacteria. The infectious dose is small, probably from 15 to 20 cells. There is no real cure for a Salmonella infection (or salmonellosis), except treatment of the symptoms. For most strains of Salmonella, the fatality rate is less than one percent. Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. The diarrhea may be non-bloody, occur several times per day, and not be very voluminous, although in severe cases it may be frequent, bloody and/or mucoid, and of high volume. Fever generally occurs in the 38(degree)C to 39(degree)C range. Vomiting is less common than diarrhea. Headaches, myalgias (muscle pain), and arthralgias (joint pain) are often reported as well. Whereas the diarrhea typically lasts 24 to 72 hours, patients often report fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms lasting 7 days or longer.

Salmonella infections usually resolve in five to seven days, and many times require no treatment, unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids. Treatment with antibiotics is not usually necessary, unless the infection spreads from the intestines, or otherwise persists, in which case the infection can be treated with ampicillin, gentamicin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, or ciprofloxacin. Some Salmonella bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, however, and this has occurred possibly as a result of the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals. See, www.about-salmonella.com

About Marler Clark, LLP PS

The attorneys at Marler Clark, www.marlerclark.com, have extensive experience representing victims of foodborne illnesses. The firm has successfully represented victims of Salmonella related to contaminated sprouts, cantaloupe, cereal, orange juice, and other foods. The firm has represented over 1,500 victims of Salmonella infections since William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million E. coli settlement with Jack in the Box in 1993. Mr. Marler represented most of the ill victims of the Odwalla Apple Juice E. coli outbreak in 1996. Marler Clark has litigated Salmonella claims against such entities as Chili's, Golden Corral, Sun Orchard and others after food products were determined to be the source of Salmonella outbreaks. For more information on Salmonella cases see, http://www.marlerclark.com/news-salmonella.htm, www.salmonellalitigationn and www.salmonellablog.com.
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