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Health Officials Investigating Salmonella Outbreak Linked With Ground Turkey

MAR 15, 2019 | MICHAELA FLEMING
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Department of Agriculture have announced the investigation of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Schwarzengrund.

According to the investigation details reported on March 14, 2019, the likely source of the outbreak is ground turkey.

At this time, there have been 6 reported cases on the outbreak strain across 3 states. The onset of illness ranges from December 19, 2018, to February 2, 2019. The ill individuals range in age from less than 1 year to 71 years, with a median age of 55. A total of 83% of the ill are female. There has been 1 hospitalization with 0 deaths reported at this time.

The CDC indicates that there may be additional illnesses that have not been reported yet due to the 2- to 4-week timeline of Salmonella infection reporting.

As part of the epidemiologic investigation, health officials interviewed ill individuals about consumption and exposure in the week prior to the illness onset. Five of the 6 individuals (83%) reported eating ground turkey or living in a home where ground turkey was served.

State health officials in Wisconsin obtained a sample of unopened ground turkey where 4 of the ill individuals reside. The product was distributed by Butterball, LLC, a company based in Mount Olive, North Carolina.

The epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that Butterball, LLC ground turkey products are the likely source of the outbreak.

As a result, Butterball issued a recall for 78,164 pounds of ground turkey products on March 13, 2019. The recalled products were produced on July 7, 2018, and shipped nationwide. Recalled products contain the establishment number “EST. P-7345.”

In response to the recall, the CDC is reminding consumers, institutions, and restaurants to check refrigerators and freezers for these products. All recalled items should be returned to the place of purchase or thrown away immediately.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. The illness usually persists for 4 to 7 days and most individuals recover without treatment. However, in some cases, hospitalization may be required due to severe symptoms. Young children, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to complications.

Health care providers living in areas affected by the outbreak should be cognizant of these symptoms and consider Salmonella as a potential diagnosis if a patient presents with them.

This is an ongoing investigation and CDC will provide updates as they become available.

For the most recent case counts in the Salmonella outbreak linked to ground turkey, check out the Outbreak Monitor.
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