Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Chicken Products

Source: 123RF/23725094s

The CDC and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw chicken products.

According to the CDC, 92 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 29 states.

Twenty-one people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that many types of raw chicken products from a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Infantis and are making people sick.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of salmonella poisoning include:

  • Pain in the abdomen or muscles;
  • Chills, dehydration, fatigue, fever, or loss of appetite;
  • Diarrhea or blood in stool; and
  • Headache, among others.

In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of chicken products purchased from many different locations. The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens.

Antibiotic-resistance testing conducted by CDC on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people shows that the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics.

A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry.

CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the chicken industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce Salmonella contamination.

In a related story, SUN News reported in September that the Virginia and Georgia departments of health investigated a multistate outbreak of psittacosis occurring at two poultry slaughter plants owned by a single corporation.

According to the CDC, the cases occurred during August and September of this year. Chlamydia psittaci, the type of bacteria that causes psittacosis, was detected by a laboratory test in 10 people. Additional illnesses in workers at the two plants have been identified, although have not been confirmed by the laboratory.

No deaths had been reported.

Psittacosis usually causes mild illness in people, with its most common symptoms including fever and chills, headache, muscle aches, and a dry cough. But it can cause pneumonia, and, in rare cases, death.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that these bacteria can spread by preparing or eating chicken meat.

It is rare for psittacosis to spread from person to person. In this outbreak, infection among family members who are not workers at the affected plants has not been reported.