One death in recent outbreak of Salmonella

USA - CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- infections linked to kosher chicken
calendar icon 31 August 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS performed on Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak showed that they are closely related genetically. This means that the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection.

As of 27 August 2018, 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- have been reported from four states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates from 25 September 2017 to 4 June 2018. Ill people range in age from less than one year to 76, with a median age of 14. Fifty-three percent are female. Of 16 people with information available, 8 (50 percent) have been hospitalised, including a death reported from New York. Illnesses may continue to be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Investigation of the Outbreak

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 14 people interviewed, all (100 percent) reported eating chicken products. Of nine people who reported brand information, seven reported specifically eating Empire Kosher brand chicken.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- has been identified in samples from raw chicken collected at two facilities, including one that processes Empire Kosher brand chicken. The samples collected by USDA-FSIS at the slaughter and processing establishments were part of USDA-FSIS’ routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. WGS showed that the Salmonella strain from these samples is closely related genetically to the Salmonella strain from ill people.

Available data indicate that some kosher chicken products are contaminated with this strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- and have made people sick. Consumers should be aware that any raw chicken may be contaminated with germs and should always follow steps to prevent Salmonella infection from these products.

As reported by the CDC

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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