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Multi-state Salmonella Outbreak Growing

22 November 2013

US - A total of 389 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico in an outbreak believed to have been caused by chicken from the US processor Foster Farms.

Most of the ill persons (74 per cent) have been reported from California.

Since the last update on 30 October, 28 new ill people have been reported from eight states: Arizona (2), California (20), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Louisiana (1), Nevada (1), Oregon (1), and Virginia (1).

One ill person from Texas has been removed from the CDC case count because the person does not meet the outbreak case definition.

Among 380 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from 1 March 2013 to 29 October 2013. Ill persons range in age from less than one year to 93 years, with a median age of 19 years.

Fifty-two per cent of ill persons are male.

Among 312 persons with available information, 125 (40 per cent) reported being detained in hospital.

Fourteen per cent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness.

Typically, approximately five per cent of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after 14 October 2013 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to four weeks.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.

On 7 October, US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a Public Health Alert due to concerns that illness caused by Salmonella Heidelberg is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.

On 10 October, USDA-FSIS announced that Foster Farms submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations.

This investigation is ongoing. USDA-FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence.

On 12 October and 17 October, Costco’s El Camino Real store located in South San Francisco, California recalled more than 23,000 units of rotisserie chicken products due to possible Salmonella Heidelberg contamination.

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