Salmonella Altona Investigation: 65 Infected

US - It is now known that 65 people became infected with Salmonella Altona from chicks and ducklings from one supplier. Thirty per cent of them were admitted to hospital but none has died.
calendar icon 25 August 2011
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, as of 23 August 2011, a total of 65 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Altona have been reported from 20 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Georgia (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (5), Maryland (5), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (1), New Hampshire (1), New York (4), North Carolina (8), Ohio (12), Pennsylvania (6), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (3), Texas (1), Virginia (7), Vermont (1), Wisconsin (1) and West Virginia (4).

Among the persons with reported dates available, illnesses began between 25 February 2011 and 30 July 2011. Infected individuals range in age from less than one year old to 92 years old, and 32 per cent of ill persons are five years of age or younger. Fifty-two percent of patients are female. Among the 57 patients with available information, 17 (30 per cent) were hospitalised. No deaths have been reported.

In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Forty-one (76 per cent) of 54 ill persons interviewed reported contact with live poultry (chicks, chickens, ducklings, ducks, geese, and turkeys) before becoming ill. Of ill persons who could recall the type of live poultry with which they had contact, 39 identified chicks, ducklings, or both, and 32 (89 per cent) of 36 ill persons with available vendor information reported purchasing chicks and ducklings from multiple locations of a nationwide agriculture feed store, Feed Store Chain A. Ill persons reported purchasing live poultry for either backyard flocks to produce eggs or as pets.

In May and June 2011, laboratory testing yielded Salmonella Altona bacteria from multiple samples: three samples from a chick and its environment collected from an ill person's household in Ohio, three samples collected from chick and duckling displays at two locations of Feed Store Chain A in North Carolina, and three samples from a chicken and two ducks collected from an ill person’s household in Vermont. Findings of multiple traceback investigations of live chicks and ducklings from homes of ill persons have identified a single mail-order hatchery in Ohio as the source of these chicks and ducklings.

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