Raw Tuna Sickens More Than a Dozen With Salmonella


A multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport has been linked to raw tuna products distributed by Jensen Tuna.

Health officials in several states are investigating another outbreak of Salmonella, this time linked to frozen raw tuna.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the outbreak on April 16, 2019, reporting 13 cases across 7 states.

The ill individuals range in age from 29 to 85 years, with a median age of 40. Information indicates that 54% of the ill are female and 2 individuals have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported at this time.

The onset of illness dates range from January 8 to March 20, 2019, but additional illnesses may not be reported yet due to a 2- to 4-week reporting timeline for Salmonella.

For the outbreak investigation, health officials conducted interviews with the ill about consumption and exposures in the week prior to falling ill. For the 12 individuals with available information, 9 (75%) reported eating sushi from a restaurant or grocery store. Additionally, all 9 individuals reported eating a sushi item that contained raw tuna or raw spicy tuna.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and health officials conducted a traceback investigation to determine the source of the raw tuna from restaurants where the ill individuals reported eating sushi. The traceback investigation indicated that the restaurants served tuna products that were supplied from Jensen Tuna, sourced from JK Fish of Vietnam.

On April 15, after consulting with the FDA, CDC, and state health officials, Jensen Tuna issued a voluntary recall for frozen ground tuna imported from JK Fish of Vietnam. The recalled tuna was sold to distributors in several states. According to the FDA, it is unlikely that the recalled product was sold in grocery stores; it was more likely used in dishes sold at restaurants or retailers.

Therefore, consumers who order sushi made with raw tuna or spicy tuna should check that the tuna was not supplied by Jensen Tuna. The CDC notes that in general, people who are at a higher risk for food-borne illnesses should not consume raw sushi. This population includes young children, pregnant women, adults older than 65 years, and immunocompromised individuals.

Common symptoms associated with Salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If you are a health care provider practicing in 1 of the states affected by the outbreak, be cognizant of any patients who present with such symptoms.

CDC will continue to provide updates on this outbreak as they become available.

For the most recent case counts in the raw tuna Salmonella outbreak, visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.

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