Shaun Cosgrove

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, Colorado, United States

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Publications (9)190.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although new pathogen-vehicle combinations are increasingly being identified in produce-related disease outbreaks, fresh produce is a rarely recognized vehicle for listeriosis. We investigated a nationwide listeriosis outbreak that occurred in the United States during 2011. We defined an outbreak-related case as a laboratory-confirmed infection with any of five outbreak-related subtypes of Listeria monocytogenes isolated during the period from August 1 through October 31, 2011. Multistate epidemiologic, trace-back, and environmental investigations were conducted, and outbreak-related cases were compared with sporadic cases reported previously to the Listeria Initiative, an enhanced surveillance system that routinely collects detailed information about U.S. cases of listeriosis. We identified 147 outbreak-related cases in 28 states. The majority of patients (127 of 147, 86%) were 60 years of age or older. Seven infections among pregnant women and newborns and one related miscarriage were reported. Of 145 patients for whom information about hospitalization was available, 143 (99%) were hospitalized. Thirty-three of the 147 patients (22%) died. Patients with outbreak-related illness were significantly more likely to have eaten cantaloupe than were patients 60 years of age or older with sporadic illness (odds ratio, 8.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to ∞). Cantaloupe and environmental samples collected during the investigation yielded isolates matching all five outbreak-related subtypes, confirming that whole cantaloupe produced by a single Colorado farm was the outbreak source. Unsanitary conditions identified in the processing facility operated by the farm probably resulted in contamination of cantaloupes with L. monocytogenes. Raw produce, including cantaloupe, can serve as a vehicle for listeriosis. This outbreak highlights the importance of preventing produce contamination within farm and processing environments.
    New England Journal of Medicine 09/2013; 369(10):944-53. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2010, 41 patients ill with Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates determined to be indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis were identified among residents of five Southwestern U.S. states. A majority of patients reported consuming complimentary samples of aged raw-milk Gouda cheese at national warehouse chain store locations; sampling Gouda cheese was significantly associated with illness (odds ratio, 9.0; 95 % confidence interval, 1.7 to 47). Several Gouda samples yielded the O157:H7 outbreak strain, confirming the food vehicle and source of infections. Implicated retail food-sampling operations were inconsistently regulated among affected states, and sanitation deficiencies were common among sampling venues. Inspection of the cheese manufacturer indicated deficient sanitation practices and insufficient cheese curing times. Policymakers should continue to reexamine the adequacy and enforcement of existing rules intended to ensure the safety of raw-milk cheeses and retail food sampling. Additional research is necessary to clarify the food safety hazards posed to patrons who consume free food samples while shopping.
    Journal of food protection 10/2012; 75(10):1759-65. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accurate information about deaths is important when determining the human health and economic burden of foodborne diseases. We reviewed death certificate data to assess the accuracy of deaths reported to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet). Data were highly accurate, and few deaths were missed through active surveillance.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 06/2012; 54 Suppl 5:S421-3. · 9.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections cause acute diarrheal illness and sometimes life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Escherichia coli O157 is the most common STEC, although the number of reported non-O157 STEC infections is growing with the increased availability and use of enzyme immunoassay testing, which detects the presence of Shiga toxin in stool specimens. Prompt and accurate diagnosis of STEC infection facilitates appropriate therapy and may improve patient outcomes. We mailed 2400 surveys to physicians in 8 Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) sites to assess their knowledge and practices regarding STEC testing, treatment, and reporting, and their interpretation of Shiga toxin test results. Of 1102 completed surveys, 955 were included in this analysis. Most (83%) physicians reported often or always ordering a culture of bloody stool specimens; 49% believed that their laboratory routinely tested for STEC O157, and 30% believed that testing for non-O157 STEC was also included in a routine stool culture. Forty-two percent of physicians were aware that STEC, other than O157, can cause HUS, and 34% correctly interpreted a positive Shiga toxin test result. All STEC knowledge-related factors were strongly associated with correct interpretation of a positive Shiga toxin test result. Identification and management of STEC infection depends on laboratories testing for STEC and physicians ordering and correctly interpreting results of Shiga toxin tests. Although overall knowledge of STEC was low, physicians who had more knowledge were more likely to correctly interpret a Shiga toxin test result. Physician knowledge of STEC may be modifiable through educational interventions.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 06/2012; 54 Suppl 5:S446-52. · 9.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Contaminated food ingredients can affect multiple products, each distributed through various channels and consumed in multiple settings. Beginning in November 2008, we investigated a nationwide outbreak of salmonella infections. A case was defined as laboratory-confirmed infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium occurring between September 1, 2008, and April 20, 2009. We conducted two case-control studies, product "trace-back," and environmental investigations. Among 714 case patients identified in 46 states, 166 (23%) were hospitalized and 9 (1%) died. In study 1, illness was associated with eating any peanut butter (matched odds ratio, 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 5.3), peanut butter-containing products (matched odds ratio, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1 to 4.7), and frozen chicken products (matched odds ratio, 4.6; 95% CI, 1.7 to 14.7). Investigations of focal clusters and single cases associated with nine institutions identified a single institutional brand of peanut butter (here called brand X) distributed to all facilities. In study 2, illness was associated with eating peanut butter outside the home (matched odds ratio, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.6 to 10.0) and two brands of peanut butter crackers (brand A: matched odds ratio, 17.2; 95% CI, 6.9 to 51.5; brand B: matched odds ratio, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.3 to 9.8). Both cracker brands were made from brand X peanut paste. The outbreak strain was isolated from brand X peanut butter, brand A crackers, and 15 other products. A total of 3918 peanut butter-containing products were recalled between January 10 and April 29, 2009. Contaminated peanut butter and peanut products caused a nationwide salmonellosis outbreak. Ingredient-driven outbreaks are challenging to detect and may lead to widespread contamination of numerous food products.
    New England Journal of Medicine 08/2011; 365(7):601-10. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Raw produce is an increasingly recognized vehicle for salmonellosis. We investigated a nationwide outbreak that occurred in the United States in 2008. We defined a case as diarrhea in a person with laboratory-confirmed infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella enterica serotype Saintpaul. Epidemiologic, traceback, and environmental studies were conducted. Among the 1500 case subjects, 21% were hospitalized, and 2 died. In three case-control studies of cases not linked to restaurant clusters, illness was significantly associated with eating raw tomatoes (matched odds ratio, 5.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6 to 30.3); eating at a Mexican-style restaurant (matched odds ratio, 4.6; 95% CI, 2.1 to ∞) and eating pico de gallo salsa (matched odds ratio, 4.0; 95% CI, 1.5 to 17.8), corn tortillas (matched odds ratio, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 5.0), or salsa (matched odds ratio, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.9); and having a raw jalapeño pepper in the household (matched odds ratio, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.2 to 7.6). In nine analyses of clusters associated with restaurants or events, jalapeño peppers were implicated in all three clusters with implicated ingredients, and jalapeño or serrano peppers were an ingredient in an implicated item in the other three clusters. Raw tomatoes were an ingredient in an implicated item in three clusters. The outbreak strain was identified in jalapeño peppers collected in Texas and in agricultural water and serrano peppers on a Mexican farm. Tomato tracebacks did not converge on a source. Although an epidemiologic association with raw tomatoes was identified early in this investigation, subsequent epidemiologic and microbiologic evidence implicated jalapeño and serrano peppers. This outbreak highlights the importance of preventing raw-produce contamination.
    New England Journal of Medicine 02/2011; 364(10):918-27. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: About 40,000 laboratory-confirmed Salmonella infections are reported annually in the U.S.; serotype Typhimurium causes ~19%. Outbreak investigations involving contaminated food ingredients are complex as products may be distributed through multiple channels and consumed in various settings over an extended period of time. We investigated a large multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections identified in November 2008. Methods: A case was defined as infection in a person with outbreak strain of S. Typhimurium with illness onset on or after 9/1/2008. Two case-control studies (CC1 and CC2) were performed. Controls were well persons from the community matched by age and location. Traceback and environmental investigations were conducted. Results: Among 714 cases identified in 46 states, 23% were hospitalized and nine died. In CC1, illness was associated with eating any peanut butter (PB) (matched odds ratio [mOR]=2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.26-5.31). The outbreak strain was isolated from Brand A institutional PB produced by Manufacturer A. Continuing interviews of patients not associated with institutions indicated that many patients had eaten PB-containing products. In CC2, illness was associated with eating PB crackers (mOR=9.08, CI=4.86-18.05), specifically Brand B (mOR=18.65, CI=7.59-55.07) and Brand C (mOR=4.13, CI=1.65-10.68). Major national brands of jarred PB found in grocery stores were not associated with illness. The outbreak strain was isolated from Brand B PB crackers containing peanut paste from Manufacturer A, PB flavored pet treats, and other PB-containing products linked to Manufacturer A. Traceback investigations resulted in the recall of >3,900 PB and PB-containing products. Conclusion: A large multistate outbreak caused by contaminated PB and PB-containing products from Manufacturer A used as ingredients in many widely distributed foods, resulted in one of the largest U.S. food recalls in recent history.
    Infectious Diseases Society of America 2009 Annual Meeting; 10/2009
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    ABSTRACT: Subtyping was conducted in late 2007 on 57 Cryptosporidium specimens from sporadic cases in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Iowa. One previously rare Cryptosporidium hominis subtype was identified in 40 cases (70%) from all four states, and the Cryptosporidium horse genotype was identified in a pet shop employee with severe clinical symptoms.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 08/2009; 47(9):3017-20. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cryptosporidium species have emerged as a major cause of outbreaks of diarrhoea and have been associated with consumption of contaminated recreational and drinking water and food as well as contact with infected attendees of child-care programmes. In August 2007, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment detected an increase in cryptosporidiosis cases over baseline values. We conducted a case-control study to assess risk factors for infection and collected stool specimens from ill persons for microscopy and molecular analysis. Laboratory-confirmed cases (n=47) were more likely to have swallowed untreated water from a lake, river, or stream [adjusted matched odds ratio (aOR) 8.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-48.1], have had exposure to recreational water (aOR 4.6, 95% CI 1.4-14.6), or have had contact with a child in a child-care programme or in diapers (aOR 3.8, 95% CI 1.5-9.6). Although exposure to recreational water is commonly implicated in summertime cryptosporidiosis outbreaks, this study demonstrates that investigations of increased incidence of cases in summer should also examine other potential risk factors. This study emphasizes the need for public health education efforts that address the multiple transmission routes for Cryptosporidium and appropriate prevention measures to avoid future transmission.
    Epidemiology and Infection 06/2009; 137(12):1781-8. · 2.87 Impact Factor