Investigators from the Navajo Nation’s Bio-Terrorism Preparedness Program (BTPP) in New Mexico are going back into the field to re-interview both “cases” (people who fell ill) and “controls” (people of similar demographics who remained healthy) as part of the national effort to get to the bottom of the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak.
So explains the Gallup, New Mexico Independent in a piece entitled, Say it Ain’t Salsa: Ingredients Newest Suspect in National Salmonella Outbreak. A hat tip to Pundit Investigator and Special Projects Editor Mira Slott who brought to our attention two particularly interesting paragraphs:
The tribe’s BTPP said that when affected individuals were interviewed in May, they were not asked if they consumed peppers or cilantro — both of which have now been identified as suspect to salmonella contamination. The local cases were also not asked many questions about restaurant eating.
The investigation team is also expected to focus on the people who prepared the food eaten by those who became ill with Salmonella Saintpaul.
This is rather shocking.
First — One wonders what kind of inquiry the CDC makes on these surveys before lending them credence?
Second — The whole case against tomatoes was built on the notion that there was a statistically significant correlation between the case and control on consumption of tomatoes but not on other items. Yet if nobody even asked about these other items, how meaningful can this difference be?
Third — New Mexico came right out and listed the names of three retailers that were implicated. If, however, they didn’t even ask much about restaurants, how credible was the implication of these retailers?
We’ve suggested in a piece entitled, Lukewarm Indictment of Jalapenos: Solving Outbreak Requires Thinking Outside the Box, that we need to be looking at vectors that won’t show up in a food survey as this could explain the ambiguous food survey findings. We suggested, specifically, looking at cross contamination from chicken and, in an outbreak this large, human transmission via food preparation.
Yet this is the very first time we have heard of anyone involved with the investigation mentioning a non-food transmission agent — specifically people preparing the food — as a possibility.
Who knows… maybe they read the Pundit down in the Navajo Nation?