The bad news is that, despite the outbreak appearing to be on the wane, the illnesses haven't ended, even though the death toll still stands at eight victims.
"This was definitely a successful outbreak investigation," Barton Behravesh said. "But we are still working on it. We are still continuing surveillance and identifying new cases, though in not the large numbers we were seeing previously."
And while U.S. health officials expect more victims to surface in the United States and Canada as the search for tainted product continues, the CDC document reveals that the problem may actually be much more widespread than that.
A footnote to the document lays out the full scope: "As of Jan. 27, 2009, FDA was aware of distribution in the following countries and non-U.S. territories: Aruba, Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United Kingdom."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Friday that peanuts exported by Peanut Corp. were found in Canada to be contaminated and returned to the United States several weeks before the current outbreak began.
The rejected shipment, from the now-shuttered plant, came across a bridge from Canada to New York state in mid-September. The shipment was "logged by the Food and Drug Administration but never was tested by federal inspectors, according to the government's own records," the AP reported.
The chopped peanuts were prevented by the FDA from being allowed back into the United States because the nuts contained an unspecified "filthy, putrid or decomposed substance, or is otherwise unfit for food," according to an FDA report of the incident, the news service said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site lists these recalled products.
And there is a growing list of products determined to be safe at the American Peanut Council.
SOURCES: Casey Barton Behravesh, epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Jan. 29, 2009, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report