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Salmonella Newport Outbreak Linked to Ground Beef Springs Up in 22 States

OCT 24, 2018 | MICHAELA FLEMING
Updated: 12/13/2018 at 8:40 AM EST

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced an investigation of a Salmonella Newport outbreak, this time linked to ground beef products.

As of December 12, 2018, there have been 333 cases of Salmonella Newport reported from 28 states. Onset of illness ranges from August 5, 2018 to November 9, 2018. The ill range in age from less than 1 year to 99 years, with a median age of 40.

Data is available for 274 of the 333 cases and indicate that 91 individuals (33%) have required hospitalization for their illnesses; however, no deaths have been reported at this time. Because it takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks from when an individual becomes ill and illness is reported, some cases may not be reported yet.

As part of the epidemiological investigation, state and local health departments interviewed individuals about consumption and exposure to products in the weeks prior to becoming ill. Of the 227 individuals who were interviewed, 200 (88%) reported eating ground beef at home.

According to an earlier report by the CDC, several of the ill individuals reported eating ground beef at the same event or purchased the beef from the same grocery store chain.

Using whole-genome sequencing, health officials have confirmed that the isolates from the ill are closely related, and therefore, likely share a common source of infection.

According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), the agency was first notified of the Salmonella investigation on September 5, 2018, and performed traceback procedures by collecting receipts or store card information which enabled product traceback investigations.

Through product traceback, the USDA-FSIS, CDC, and state and local health officials, were able to identify that ground beef was the likely source of the outbreak, specifically ground beef produced by JBS Tolleson, Inc of Tolleson, Arizona.

On October 4, 2018, JBS Tolleson issued a recall of approximately 6.5 million pounds of beef products. The recalled products were packaged and distributed between July 26, 2018 and September 7, 2018 and were shipped nationwide under a variety of brand names.

The USDA-FSIS has provided a list of stores where the recalled products were known to be sold, which include certain Sam’s Club, Walmart, Winn Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, and Sprouts locations.

Health officials advise that recalled products should not be served or sold by restaurants and retailers and consumers should return the products or throw them away.

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 who 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 updates will be provided as more information become available.

For the most recent case counts associated with the Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to ground beef, check out the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.
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