UPDATE: USDA: Poultry Plants Linked To Salmonella Outbreak To Stay Open
ATLANTA, Georgia — The U.S. Center for Disease control is reporting that, as of October 7, 2013, a total of 278 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 17 states, including Florida. Officials believe that Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this salmonella outbreak across the U.S.
The CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections. Public health investigators are using DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.
After the CDC report, the Florida Department of Health was notified that three additional cases of salmonellosis in Florida residents are linked to Foster Farms chicken by DNA fingerprinting, bringing the total to four cases in Florida. Three cases reside in Miami-Dade County and the fourth case was reported in Brevard County.
DOH said in a statement that these results are based on current information and may be adjusted as new info rmation becomes available. The Department is working together with the CDC and USDA in the ongoing investigation.
“Individuals who have eaten the suspect chicken and experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps should seek medical attention, ” said Dr. Anna Marie Likos, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection Director and State Epidemiologist. “The Department will continue to monitor the situation and inform the public as new information becomes available.”
DOH advises consumers who believe they have been sickened by eating contaminated chicken should contact their local health department and provide any available information about the chicken. Consumers who have purchased any samples from the problematic plant numbers P6137, P6137A, and P7632 should dispose of the chicken in order to protect themselves and their families.
According to the DOH, Salmonellosis is an infection with Salmonella, a group of bacteria (germs) that can cause illness in humans. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment other than oral fluids. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads outside of the intestines.
The DOH has issued the following salmonellosis prevention tips:
• Cook poultry, meats (including ground meats) and eggs thoroughly. Using a meat thermometer is the only way to be sure you have cooked meat to a proper temperature.
• If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or egg s in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
• Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils wit h soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
• Use one cutting board for raw animal proteins and another for other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
• Be particularly careful with foods prepared for in fants, elderly, and immunocompromised.
• Do not work with raw poultry or meat and handle an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.
Salmonella Outbreak Case Count (As of October 7, 2013)
The number of ill persons the CDC identified in each state is: Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (11), California (213), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Michigan (2), North Carolina (1), Nevada (8), Oregon (8), Texas (5), Utah (2), Washington (15) and Wisconsin (1).