(Reiter's Syndrome News) Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:23:57 -0500 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:23:57 -0500 pixel-app en Underreporting of Salmonella and E-coli Food Poisoning - Probably 25,000 Cases of Salmonella Poisoning from Peter Pan Peanut Butter Thu, 14 Jun 2007 00:00:00 -0400     In February of 2007, the FDA warned the country about Salmonella-tainted peanut butter distributed by food conglomerate, ConAgra Foods.  However, the Salmonella-tainted Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter may have gone unreported by the CDC for months.  As a result, hundreds, possibly thousands of people have been sickened by a company with a history of producing tainted foods.

    Besides the recent recall of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, ConAgra faced another governmental recall in August 2002 when their Greeley, Colorado beef plant produced meat contaminated with E-coli.  Around 19 million pounds of tainted beef were recalled.  E-coli, an intestinal bacteria, causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, severe cramping, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.  About 5 to 10 percent of infected individuals go on to develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome which can lead to kidney failure and death.  One person was reported to have died in Ohio after eating the contaminated meat.

    Although the tainted peanut butter was not officially addressed until February 2007, the CDC detected an increased incidence of Salmonella-related sicknesses as far back as November 2006.  The CDC could have made an inquiry in November when the outbreak began to appear, but instead waited until February after more and more people were coming down with Salmonella.  Given ConAgra's recent past, the CDC should have been stricter in flushing out the food corporation's mistakes. Apparently ignoring their past problems with contamination, the CDC gave ConAgra Foods a mere slap on the wrist, hoping the company would correct itself.  Unfortunately, ConAgra did little to fix its Salmonella problem and thus more people ended up with tainted peanut butter in their pantries and on their sandwiches.

    A major hurdle in trying to figure out exactly how many people have been afflicted with ConAgra's tainted products has to do with incidences of underreporting.  For instance, one of the major problems with trying to quantify the differences between reporting normal diarrhea and food poisoning is that many people will mistake an upset stomach as stress or will attribute it to some other ailment such as the flu.  And although it's understandable that the general public may not know the difference between the flu and Salmonella symptoms, doctors are also capable of underreporting.  The best way to diagnose Salmonella is to test the germs in the stool of an afflicted person; however doctors don't routinely test everyone, thus perpetuating the cycle of underreporting.  

    This occurrence of underreporting is disturbing because Salmonella is one of the most vicious strains of food poisoning.  Although it is usually not life-threatening, Salmonella can be potentially fatal if untreated.  Symptoms can last five to seven days and can include: severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, dehydration, and vomiting.  Headaches and muscle and joint pain can cause flu-like symptoms which inhibit an individual's ability to cope with everyday responsibilities such as work and family.  One of the main problems associated with Salmonella is a debilitating condition called Reiter's Syndrome.  The most common symptoms of Reiter’s Syndrome are arthritis, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms and typically affect the knees, ankles, and feet, causing pain and swelling for up to a year or more after the initial infection.  Those with weakened immune systems, specifically infants and the elderly are especially at risk to lose their lives.

Reiter's Syndrome Exposure Injury Lawsuits, Infection, Disease | Bacteria, Contamination, Contaminated Peanut Butter, ConAgra Foods Inc. Thu, 14 Jun 2007 00:00:00 -0400 Reiter's Syndrome Exposure Injury Lawsuits

Reiter's Syndrome | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Expsure: Injury, Infection, Disease | Bacteria, Contamination, Contaminated Peanut Butter, ConAgra Foods Inc.

Contaminated Peanut Butter Can Cause Reiter's Syndrome

On March 1, 2007, U.S. health officials  discovered that a bacteria linked to contaminated peanut butter that sickened hundreds of people has been traced to a plant owned by ConAgra Foods Inc. where it was made. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it discovered the salmonella bacteria during an inspection of the now shut down plant in Sylvester, Georgia that made Peter Pan brand peanut butter and the Great Value brand sold by Wal-Mart Inc. The bacteria infection can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever. While it can usually be treated with antibiotics and hydration, it can cause a small number of people to develop Reiter's syndrome that leads to painful joints and urination complications.

What Is Reiter's Syndrome?

Reiter's syndrome is an ailment that causes three seemingly unrelated symptoms: arthritis, redness of the eyes, and urinary tract signs. Physicians at times refer to Reiter's syndrome as a seronegative spondyloarthropathy because it is one of a group of disorders that cause inflammation throughout the body, mostly in parts of the spine and at other joints where tendons attach to bones. Examples of other seronegative spondyloarthropathies consist of psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome arthritis. Inflammation is a characteristic reaction of tissues to injury or disease and is marked by four signs: swelling, redness, heat, and pain.

Reactive arthritis is another name for Reiter’s syndrome, because the arthritis occurs as a reaction to an infection that started somewhere else in the body. In many patients, the infection begins in the genitourinary tract (bladder, urethra, penis, or vagina). The infection is frequently passed from one person to another via sexual intercourse. This form of the disorder is at times called genitourinary or urogenital Reiter's syndrome. Another form of the disorder, called enteric or gastrointestinal Reiter's syndrome, develops when an individual eats food or handles substances that are contaminated with bacteria.

Causes of Reiter’s Syndrome

When a preceding infection is identified, symptoms of Reiter's syndrome appear approximately 1 to 3 weeks after the infection. Chlamydia trachomatis is the bacteria most often linked with Reiter's syndrome acquired through sexual contact. Several different bacteria are associated with Reiter's syndrome, which are acquired through the digestive tract, including Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter. People can become infected with these bacteria after eating or handling improperly prepared food, such as meats that are not stored at the correct temperature.

People at Risk & Symptoms

Men between the ages of 20 and 40 are most likely to develop Reiter's syndrome. It is the most common form of arthritis affecting young men. Among men under age 50, an estimated 3.5 per 100,000 develop Reiter's syndrome annually. 3% of all men with a sexually transmitted disease develop Reiter's syndrome. Additionally, women may also develop the disorder. Symptoms of Reiter’s syndrome can affect numerous parts of the body, but most typically affect the urogenital tract, the joints, and the eyes. Less common symptoms are mouth ulcers, skin rashes, and heart-valve problems. The signs may be so mild that patients do not notice them. They usually come and go over a period of several weeks to several months.

Urogenital Tract Symptoms

Reiter's syndrome frequently affects the urogenital tract, including the prostate, urethra, and penis in men and the fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina in women. Men may encounter an increased need to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, and a discharge from the penis. Some men with Reiter's syndrome develop prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate gland. Symptoms of prostatitis can include fever, chills, increased need to urinate, and a burning sensation when urinating. Women with Reiter's syndrome also develop signs in the urogenital tract, such as inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) or inflammation of the urethra (urethritis), which can cause a burning sensation during urination. In addition, some women also develop salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes) or vulvovaginitis (inflammation of the vulva and vagina). These conditions may or may not cause any symptoms.

Joint Symptoms or Arthritis

Arthritis associated with Reiter's syndrome usually affects the knees, ankles, and feet, causing pain and swelling. Wrists, fingers, and other joints are less often affected. Patients with Reiter's syndrome commonly develop inflammation where the tendon attaches to the bone, a condition called enthesopathy. Enthesopathy may result in heel pain and the shortening and thickening of fingers and toes. Some people with Reiter's syndrome also develop heel spurs, bony growths in the heel that cause chronic or long-lasting foot pain.

Arthritis associated with Reiter's syndrome can also affect the joints in the back and cause spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebrae in the spinal column) or sacroiliitis, inflammation of the joints in the lower back that connect the spine to the pelvis.

Eye Involvement

Conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and eyelid, develops in roughly 50% of people with urogenital Reiter's syndrome and 75% of people with enteric Reiter's syndrome. A few people may develop uveitis, an inflammation of the inner eye. Conjunctivitis and uveitis can cause redness of the eyes, eye pain and irritation, and blurred vision. Eye involvement typically occurs early in the course of Reiter's syndrome, and symptoms may come and go.

Other Symptoms

An estimated 20% to 40% of men with Reiter's syndrome develop small, shallow, painless sores or lesions, called balanitis circinata, on the end of the penis. A small percentage of men and women develop rashes of small hard nodules on the soles of the feet, and less often on the palms of the hands or elsewhere. These rashes are called keratoderma blennorrhagica. Additionally, some people with Reiter's syndrome develop mouth ulcers that come and go. In some cases, these ulcers are painless and go unnoticed.

About 10% of people with Reiter's syndrome, usually those with prolonged disease, develop heart problems including aortic regurgitation (leakage of blood from the aorta into the heart chamber) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane that covers and protects the heart).

Legal Help For Victims Affected By Reiter's Syndrome

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Reiter’s syndrome and you've suffered serious health ailments, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified attorney. If you prefer to call Parker & Waichman, LLP, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) 24 hours per day.