ATLANTA — More Americans got food poisoning last year, with salmonella cases driving the increase, the government reported Tuesday. Illness rates for the most common serious type of E. coli fell last year. There was a rise in cases caused by other strains of the bacteria, although that bump may just reflect more testing was done for them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
An unusually aggressive strain of E. coli is behind the current large outbreak of food poisoning in Europe, mostly in Germany. That strain has never caused an outbreak in the U.S.
The CDC estimates that 50 million Americans each year get sick from foodborne illnesses, including about 3,000 who die.
The report released Tuesday is based on foodborne infections in only 10 states, or about 15 percent of the American population. But it has information that other databases lack and is believed to be a good indicator of food poisoning trends.
More than 19,000 cases of food poisoning were reported in those states last year. That was up from 17,500 cases in 2009, and about 18,500 in 2008.
Last year, there were 4,200 hospitalizations and 68 deaths in those states.
Black bear outsmarts Wash. wildlife officials
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — A young black bear has outsmarted wildlife officials trying to trap it in Washington state.
Washington Fish and Wildlife Department agents are tracking the bear Tuesday near Port Orchard. So far, the bear has withstood a tranquilizer dart Monday and resisted a trap baited with doughnuts, marshmallows and maple syrup.
Sgt. Ted Jackson says agents are following the bear to make sure it stays away from schools.
He says if agents get a clear shot, they’ll try to dart it again. If the bear remains in the area, they’ll try again to trap it and relocate it.
Experts criticize bungled German E. coli inquiry
LONDON — Outside health experts and German lawmakers roundly criticized Germany on Tuesday for a bungled investigation into the world’s deadliest E. coli outbreak, saying the infections should have been spotted much sooner.
Many experts have been surprised, even shocked, at lapses in the German inquiry, and some say the culprit food may never be known.
Weeks after the outbreak began on May 2, German officials are still looking for its cause. Spanish cucumbers were initially blamed, then ruled out after tests showed they had a different strain of E. coli. On Sunday, investigators pointed the finger at German sprouts, only to backtrack a day later when initial tests were negative. The sprouts are still being tested.
So far, the super-toxic strain of E. coli has killed 24 people, infected over 2,400 and left hundreds hospitalized with a serious complication that can lead to kidney failure. New cases are still being reported every day — 94 more in Germany on Tuesday.
US officials: Yemen leader heavily burned in blast
SANAA, Yemen — President Ali Abdullah Saleh was burned over 40 percent of his body and suffered bleeding in the brain from last weekend’s attack on his palace, U.S. officials said Tuesday, indicating his wounds were worse than initially reported. The revelation casts doubts on a quick return to Yemen and spells a deepening power vacuum.
In the wake of Saleh’s evacuation to Saudi Arabia for treatment, Yemen’s violence escalated, with government troops battling Islamic militants and opposition tribesmen in two southern cities on Tuesday. The military said it killed 30 militants who were among a group that took over the city of Zinjibar last week amid the country’s turmoil.
The United States fears that al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen — one of the terror network’s most active, blamed for two attempted anti-U.S. attacks — will take advantage of the chaos to strengthen its base in the country.
Washington and Saudi Arabia are pushing Yemeni officials to seize the opportunity of Saleh’s evacuation to immediately begin a transfer of power and formation of a new government.