CDC Says $48 Million Hit With Food-Bourne Illness Per Year

Food-borne illnesses can affect the stomach (gastritis) causing nausea and vomiting; or, affect the stomach and the intestines (gastroenteritis) causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. They can be caused by viruses, bacteria, and even amoeba. Food poisoning can occur locally in a small number of people, in institutions (hospitals, child care facilities, cruise ships), or in large, geographical regions (several states) affecting many people. Outbreaks of food poisoning often occur in association with summertime picnics, because egg-containing food (custards and foods containing mayonnaise) have been left without refrigeration for too long. The food spoils when bacteria begin to grow on the food.

Recently, there have been several cases of people being sickened from eating contaminated produce. Large numbers of people were sickened from eating tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers and other vegetables contaminated with bacteria. Illness can also result from improper handling of raw chicken, eggs, and meat products. Hamburger and chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees, respectively. One should never eat raw eggs or any product containing raw eggs; both raw eggs and chicken may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Viral diseases can run through large, contained populations such as people in hospitals, day care centers, and nursing homes. Usually this is because of improper sanitation by food handlers (failure to wash their hands after using the bathroom) and contamination of the food they are preparing. Norwalk virus is classically associated with outbreaks of nausea and vomiting in cruise ship populations.

A recent report by the CDC focused on food-borne illnesses associated with restaurants in a 9-state area. They questioned several hundred restaurant workers about practices for handling raw meats and fresh greens, minimal safe cooking temperatures for beef and chicken, and worker attendance when ill. In brief, this is what they found:

1. Approximately 48 million Americans become ill each year from restaurant-associated food-borne illnesses; this amounts to 1 out of every 6 people in the United States

2. 62% of restaurant workers did not wash their hands after handling raw hamburger bare-handed, increasing the chance of cross contamination of other foods.

3. Over half of the chefs did not use a meat thermometer to measure the
internal cooking temperature of chicken and beef.

4. Twenty percent of restaurant workers said they had come to work ill with stomach
or gastrointestinal symptoms because they didn’t want to lose their jobs or leave
the restaurant short staffed.




FDA Announces Lilly’s Zyprexa Investigation after Two Deaths

On June 18, 2013, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is investigating the deaths of two patients given intramuscular (IM) injections of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa Relprevv (olanzapine pamoate) within three to four days of receiving the injected dose. Patients should be monitored for a minimum of three hours after receiving the IM-injectable form of the olanzapine pamoate as per the Lilly Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Post-mortem evaluation showed both patients had high olanzapine pamoate blood concentration levels. The deaths are not considered overdose incidents as both received the proper dosage.

Zyprexa is a treatment for depression, schizophrenia, aggression, bipolar illness, and manic disorders. Patients must receive Zyprexa Relprevv injections at a certified medical facility, then receive monitoring for three hours or more after dosing. Zyprexa Relprevv labeling contains severe warnings about possible risks of post-injection delirium sedation syndrome (PDSS). This medical complication occurs when the drug enters the bloodstream too rapidly after an IM injection. PDSS may cause cardiac arrhythmia/arrest, delirium, coma, or a sedation state.

A Lilly spokesperson said the company was unable to determine if the two deaths are related to the use of Zyprex Relprevv.

According to author Robert Whitaker, (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness, 2010) psychiatric drugs like olanzapine pamoate are frequently prescribed for a long list of mental illnesses and conditions.

The editors of Atypical Antipsychotics (General Books, 2010) write that olanzapine formulas are frequently used to treat anxiety-type illnesses and disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, delusional parasitosis, panic attacks/disorder, and PTSD. The drug’s “off-label” (not FDA-approved) uses include treatment for depressive disorders, eating disorders (e.g. anorexia), and Tourette’s syndrome.

Zyprexa earned $1.7 billion in revenues for Indianapolis, Indiana–based Eli Lilly in 2012. Sales of Zyprexa were $5.03 billion, according to Bloomberg, in 2010. The oral form of Zyprexa lost its patented status in 2011. Sales of the injectable form of Zyprexa, which has no generic counterpart, reached approximately $60 million in 2012.

The FDA states that any new or continued therapeutic use of Zyprexa requires careful administration and monitoring, according to the Lilly REMS requirements. Patients and their caregivers should address any questions about Zyprexa to doctors and healthcare professionals. The FDA asks doctors and healthcare providers to call the MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program immediately regarding any side effects or negative reactions to Zyprexa Relprevv.


“Anatomy of an Epidemic,” Robert Whitaker. Crown Paperbacks: New York, 2010. (Chapter 4: Psychiatry’s Magic Bullets)

“Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry,” Peter Roger Breggin. Springer Publishing Company: New York, 2008. (Risks Associated with Atypical Psychiatric Drugs; Chapter 5: Neuroleptic-Induced Neurotoxicity)

FDA Investigating Lilly’s Zyprexa Injection After Two Die” Drew Armstrong. Bloomberg. June 18, 2013.

Americans Now More Likely to Die Accidently from Drugs than Car Crashes

In a recent research letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (, analysts highlighted the recent surge in prescription drug abuse and resulting deaths in the United States. Using data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (, the research shows that for adults aged 35-44, the leading cause of accidental death was due to unintentional poisoning, knocking motor vehicle deaths from its former top spot.

prescription_drugsData show that in 2009, there were 15,102 unintentional deaths in the United States, and nearly 49 percent of those were due to accidental poisoning. Motor vehicle accidents contributed to just over 32 percent of accidental deaths for the same year.

The CDC further analyzed unintentional poisoning data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This annual scientific survey of approximately 67,500 people, aged 12 and older, is conducted throughout the United States. The survey is the nation’s most reliable source of data and information on the scope of substance abuse issues affecting American communities and provides national estimates of the substance abuse problem.

The survey categorizes prescription drugs into four categories: pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives, and then measures the non-medical use of these drugs or their use without a prescription.

Highlighting the overuse, misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers, the data show that in the year 2010, about 12 million Americans of age 12 or older reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in the past year. Additionally, over one-half of the non-medical users of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives obtained the prescription drugs they most recently used from a friend or relative with or without their permission.

The chronic use of painkillers (over 200 days per year) nearly doubled from 512,000 in 2003 to nearly 1 million in 2010. The largest increase in usage was seen in 35- to 49-year-old men, who experienced an increase in use of a staggering 135 percent.

This recent report brings to question the current practices of pharmaceutical companies and physicians in prescribing these powerful medications, as well as the lack of regulation and control. Due to the ease of obtaining these drugs through prescribers and through the thriving black market, the research letter concludes that there should be an increased push to educate healthcare professionals, as well as the public, of the dangers associated with abuse and misuse of illicit pain relieving drugs.


Illinois Teen Driver Dies After Car Crashes into House

A teen in Illinois was killed after he lost control of his car and crashed into a house.An Illinois teenager was killed after losing control of a vehicle that then went airborne and crashed into a house, according to published reports.

The victim, 19-year-old Max Dobner, was speeding on Mooseheart Road in Aurora when he blew through a stop sign at an intersection, according to police. The car was sent airborne after hitting a retaining wall and then flew 15 feet in the air before hitting a tree and then the house, police said.

The car slammed into the bedroom of a 2-year-old boy who was in the backyard with his parents at the time of the collision. The force dislodged the motor from the vehicle, which then landed in a bedroom at the back of the house.

"It sounded like an 18-wheeler was in an accident out front," Scott Kettlewell, who lived in the home with his wife, Theresa, and son, Noah, told the Chicago Tribune.

Kettlewell told the newspaper that he and his family do not plan on staying in the home.

Police do not believe that drugs and alcohol were involved in the crash. An investigation into the case is still ongoing.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among male drivers between ages 15 and 20 involved in a fatal crash in 2005, 37 percent were speeding at the time of the accident.