Mighty Mouse GL

Mighty Mouse GL

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The recent Tomato outbreak was first reported in April 2008. To date, there have been roughly 160 reported cases of salmonella poisoning in 17 of the 50 states. Of the 160 cases, 23 have required hospitalization and one has died. The man that died, passed away from cancer and the salmonella poisoning was a contributing factor. The FDA has now added JalapeƱo peppers to the vegetable crisis. Now there is a report of a Measles outbreak in 15 of the 50 states. There have been 123 reported cases. (Local advisement - The state of Virginia is on the list.)
To be clear, neither is considered an epidemic. They are referred to as 'Outbreaks.' I'm not a medical professional. But I have to admit that I was rather stymied at the term 'Outbreak.' So I pondered the thought, and asked myself what is an outbreak. By googling: An outbreak is defined as more cases of disease in time or place than expected. If the condition is rare (i.e. food borne botulism) or has serious public health implications (i.e. bio terrorism agent), an outbreak may involve only one case. ONE CASE???
A food borne outbreak is defined as two or more cases of a similar illness after ingestion of a common food or beverage or ingestion of food or beverages at a common meal or event. The definition of a laboratory-confirmed food borne outbreak depends on the pathogen but usually requires two or more cases with the same laboratory diagnosis. TWO or more???
An epidemic is defined by an illness or health-related issue that is showing up in more cases than would be normally expected. A pandemic is normally used to indicate a far higher number of people affected than an epidemic, and a refers to a much larger region affected.
So okay, neither 'outbreak' appears to meet the definition of an epidemic or pandemic, even though the Tomato crisis is more widespread. Let's think about this:
The July 2008 est. United States population is 301,139,947.
  • Tomato - that's 0.0000531% of the population (160 cases/301,139,947)
  • Measles - that's 0.0000408% of the population (123 cases/301,139,947)
The July 2008 est. Virginia State population is 8,254,315 (est 8% increase 2006)
  • Tomato - that's 0.0019384% of the population (160 cases/8,254,315)
  • Measles - that's 0.0014901% of the population (123 cases/8,254,315)

Those are such tiny numbers. How can either combination be considered an OUTBREAK? Is it just me? Stay healthy! Wash your veggies and get your booster shots. I got my MMR booster in December. I need to get my Chicken Pox booster soon. I've nevah evah had the chicken pox!!


JJ said...

and I tried so hard to give them to you too!

JOEY said...

They are not fun. I was 10 years old and all I remember was itching like crazy and pink calamine lotion dots all over me.