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CDC Announces Salmonella Outbreak Featuring "Severe" Illnesses

NOV 01, 2019 | MICHAELA FLEMING
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Dublin. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that ground beef is the likely source of the outbreak. A single, common supplier of ground beef.

As of November 1, 2019, there have been 10 people infected with the outbreak strain across 6 states.

According to the CDC, illnesses in this outbreak have been reported to be more severe than usually expected with the food-borne infection. Typically, Salmonella Dublin illnesses are more severe because they can result in bloodstream infections. In 5 of the ill individuals, Salmonella was detected in blood samples, which means that their illnesses may be more severe.

Thus far, 8 individuals have been hospitalized and 1 death has been reported from California. The typical hospitalization rate for Salmonella is usually about 20%, but in this outbreak, the current hospitalization rate is 89%.

As part of the epidemiological investigation, health officials interviewed ill individuals about their consumption and exposures in the week prior to falling ill. Of the 8 individuals interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating ground beef at home. Laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain in repacked leftover ground beef collected from an ill individual’s home in California.

The outbreak strain was also identified in 6 samples of raw beef products collected from slaughter and processing establishments. These samples were collected as part of routine testing conducted by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Whole-genome sequencing showed that Salmonella strains from the samples shared close genetic relation to the isolates of the ill individuals.

Whole-genome sequencing analysis did not identify any antibiotic resistance in 16 bacterial isolates collected from 10 ill individuals and 6 food specimens. The CDC notes that testing of clinical isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing methods through the CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System is currently underway.

Onset of illness dates range from August 8, 2019 to September 22, 2019. Illnesses might not be reported yet due to the 2-4-week time period between an individual falls ill and when the illness is reported.  

At this time the CDC is not advising that consumers stop eating thoroughly cooked ground beef, or that retailers stop selling ground beef. However, the CDC states that this outbreak is a reminder that raw and undercooked ground beef may have germs that can lead to illness if consumed or left in areas where food is prepared.

For the most recent case counts in the Salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef, visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.
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