Salmonella

Image: Janice Haney Carr/CDC

Electron microscope magnified image of Salmonella infantis bacteria.

ATLANTA, Ga. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and regulatory officials such as the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating and monitoring an outbreak of salmonella infections in several states linked to raw chicken products.

As of Oct. 18, a far-reaching outbreak of Salmonella infantis has infected 92 people in 29 states; 21 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The CDC notes that laboratory and epidemiological data shows that many types of raw chicken products from several sources have been contaminated with the bacteria. The agency adds that people have reported getting sick from different types and brands of chicken products that were bought from several different locations.

CDC also notes in an investigation notice that “antibiotic resistance testing . . .  on salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people shows that the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics.” Adding that, testing has shown that this outbreak strain of salmonella is resistant to multiple antibiotics that may be used to treat people with severe salmonella infection.

A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified.

The CDC and FSIS added that they are sharing information with representatives from the chicken industry and are working on steps that may be taken to reduce salmonella contamination.

Consumer advice

CDC also offers the following steps for consumers to reduce the risk of salmonella infection:

  • Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning.
  • CDC adds that it is NOT advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken products, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products.
  • General ways to prevent salmonella infection include good handwashing and cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Do not wash raw poultry before cooking. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces.
  • People get sick from salmonella 12 to 72 hours after swallowing the germ and experience diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
  • Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.
  • See a healthcare provider if you are concerned about symptoms, such as high fever (temperature above 101.5 F), blood in stool, diarrhea or frequent vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down.

For more information, the CDC can be reached at www.cdc.gov, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can be reached at www.hhs.gov.

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