A wild boar forages for acorns in autumn

Birds, wild pigs, water, air? Investigators continue their tedious search for the source of the E. coli that apparently contaminated romaine lettuce, causing this spring’s deadly outbreak. But it’s becoming increasingly unlikely they will find a smoking gun. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Hep A outbreak in EU: More than 40 cases of hepatitis A have been reported in six European Union countries, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC). The 42 cases have been reported across Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Although the source of infection is unknown, the relative homogeneity of the viral strains associated with the outbreak cases suggests that foodborne transmission could be associated with a single food product that is distributed in several EU countries. Person-to-person transmission routes are also being investigated. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

As patients escape, concerns about Ebola spread: Two Ebola patients slipped out of a treatment center this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo, aid agency Doctors Without Borders said, raising fears the virus may spread as health officials raced to trace anyone they may have encountered. The patients died within a day. READ MORE

Hep A outbreak confirmed in Wyoming: The Wyoming Department of Health and the county health department continue to investigate a growing Natrona County hepatitis A outbreak that began in October 2017. Natrona County is the home to Casper, the second largest city in the state. Since October, 14 cases have been confirmed among Natrona County residents, which is a significant increase over the usual total for the entire state of Wyoming. The Wyoming news comes among reports a hepatitis A outbreak across several states including California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Utah. READ MORE

And in West Virginia: As of May 18, West Virginia also had 98 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, three probable, and five suspects. Almost three-fourths of the sick people, 71, have had such severe symptoms that they had to be admitted to hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared a multi-state outbreak of the highly contagious virus in March 2017. Since then, at least 1,200 cases have been reported, and more than 40 people have died. READ MORE

Did the White House signal that bioterrorism and disease don’t matter? In eliminating the Office of Global Health Security at the National Security Council, it seems these events have slipped the mind of newly installed national security adviser John Bolton. But he is not alone. This marks the third time that the national security community, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, has downgraded the importance of disease and bioterrorism threats in the hierarchy of national security issues. READ MORE

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Meat processor pleads guilty to falsifying payroll records: A New York meat processing company pleaded guilty to charges that employees were not paid for required overtime between 2013 and 2017 and has paid $120,555 in restitution. Roy S. Tuccillo Sr. and Roy Tuccillo – who ran Diversified Processors Inc. and Processors Inc. in Nassau County for 20 years – also were accused of falsifying payroll records to conceal the wage theft, according to the N.Y. attorney general’s office. The duo was charged with telling workers they would be paid only for the first 40 hours of work per week even though employees actually worked 60 hours. READ MORE

ANIMAL FEED SAFETY

Pet food recalled for thyroid hormone: Merrick Pet Care has announced a voluntary recall of certain Castor & Pollux and Merrick Backcountry dog treats after one of the products was found to contain elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. The problem was discovered as a result of a consumer complaint lodged with the US Food and Drug Administration. READ MORE

WEIRD STUFF

When coffee got you killed: In 1633, the Ottoman sultan Murad IV cracked down on a practice he believed was provoking social decay and disunity in his capital of Istanbul. The risk of disorder associated with this practice were so dire, he apparently thought, that he declared transgressors should be immediately put to death. So what did Murad IV find so objectionable? Public coffee consumption. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Demand for ‘elvers’ blows past records: America’s only significant state fishery for baby eels has blown past records for value as high demand from overseas aquaculture companies is driving prices to new heights. Fishermen in Maine search for the eels, called elvers, in rivers and streams every spring so they can be sold to Asian aquaculture companies as seed stock. Fishermen have sold more than $20 million worth of the eels so far this season, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. READ MORE