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FDA Announces Salmonella Africana Outbreak With 100 Cases Linked So Far. Source Unknown at This Time.

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on May 24, 2024

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a Salmonella Africana outbreak investigation is underway. So far there have been 100 confirmed cases linked to this outbreak. The source has not yet been released.

The agency has initiated a traceback investigation, indicating they are currently looking for the source.

Salmonella Africana Outbreak is a Rare Strain

You may have heard of a lot of different strains of Salmonella species. Salmonella Thompson, Salmonella Newport, and the most recent in the news linked to the active organic fresh basil outbreak – Salmonella Typhimurium.

But Salmonella Africana?

How often do you hear that one? Not often.

In fact, very few cases have been reported in the United States.

Salmonella, as a whole, is not all that rare though.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella is responsible for around 1.35 million infections in the United States each year. This includes 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths associated with these infections. Food remains the top source.

What’s in a Name?

There are 1,585 different known serotypes of Salmonella bacteria. The majority (1475) of them are named for geographic location. Some (95) are named for non-geographic locations. Others (15) have no known origin.

With little deductive skills you can probably venture a guess that this particular strain was named for the “geographic location.”

Does that mean that it originated from Africa?

Not necessarily. But likely.

Like with most things, the person that discovers it gets to name it. So, many of the non-geographical location names are after people – Salmonella Souza. Or the place it was discovered – Salmonella Quebec, Salmonella Texas, and Salmonella Paris.

In some cases, the discoverer got creative. For example, Salmonella Grumpensis was a nod to “grumpy,” the name given to the owner of the animal (a guinea pig) from which the strain was isolated.

How about Salmonella Mjordan? That one was isolated in Chicago. The discoverer was likely a Chicago Bull, Michael Jordan fan.

The list goes on and on.

How Bad Is Salmonella Africana?

Salmonella Africana belongs to a group of bacteria known as Salmonella enterica ssp.

These are some seriously bad bugs.

There are two categories of Salmonella bacteria. Non-typhoidal and typhoidal.

Salmonella Africana belongs to the typhoidal category.

Who is at Greater Risk of Becoming Sick with Salmonella Africana?

Anyone can become sick if exposed. However, certain groups of people are more vulnerable to infection.

For example, children under 5 years old are most likely to become sick when exposed. As are people taking certain medications. Stomach acid reducers decrease the body’s defense against pathogens, so those taking medications to reduce stomach acid are also at greater risk of infection when exposed.

Source of Salmonella Africana Outbreak Not Yet Identified

While investigators are doing the hard work of tracking down clues to find the source of the outbreak, you may be wondering what foods you should avoid.

Unfortunately, that information is not available yet.

However, all foods should be handled with appropriate food safety in mind. All the time! In most cases, contaminated foods do not look or even taste different from those not contaminated.

This means:

  • Washing fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Temperature Control (keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold)
  • Cooking meat to an appropriate internal temperature (using a meat thermometer)
  • Separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods while shopping, stored in fridge, and while cooking
  • Frequently washing hands (including before cooking, when they become dirty, and before eating)

There are, however, certain foods that have been linked more often to Salmonella outbreaks.

These worst offenders include:

  • Sprouts
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Fruits
  • Nut butters (peanut, sunflower, etc.)
  • Frozen pot pies
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Stuffed chicken entrees.

Salmonella Has Also Been Linked to Animals

While top offending foods may be a risk factor, you can also become infected through contact with animals. Even indirect contact with animals.

Always wash your hands after contact with animals or where they live. Also, NEVER eat or drink in an animal’s habitat.

Salmonella Can Also Spread from Person to Person

A sick person can easily spread Salmonella.

In fact, some outbreaks have been traced back to sick food workers. Always wash your hands after using the toilet, changing diapers, or helping others in the bathroom.

Those experiencing Salmonella infection symptoms should not prepare food or drinks for others until diarrhea symptoms have passed.

Salmonella Africana Outbreak Symptoms

Symptoms of salmonellosis, the illness associated with Salmonella Africana infection, usually include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever.

People usually begin feeling sick anywhere from 6 hours to 6 days after exposure. These symptoms usually last about a week (around four to seven days).

Most healthy people will recover on their own without medical assistance and are not recommended to take antibiotics for minor illnesses to reduce the risk of perpetuating antibiotic resistant strains. Severity, however, can vary from person to person.

In some cases, people may become so sick that they need hospitalization. The very young, the very old, and those with a compromised immune system are the most vulnerable to infection after exposure and experiencing more serious illness.

Are You Experiencing Salmonella Africana Outbreak Symptoms?

If you are experiencing Salmonella Africana symptoms and may be part of the outbreak, there are a few key things you can do to help.

Stay Hydrated

Many people experiencing Salmonella symptoms become dehydrated. This is very dangerous. Avoid sugary drinks and take in plenty of fluids.

Report Your Illness and Make a List

Investigators use interview data to track down the source of an outbreak. Reporting your illness will allow your sample to be compared to the outbreak strain. If you are involved in the Salmonella Africana outbreak, investigators will likely ask you what foods and drinks you have had and where you got them in the weeks leading up to falling sick. So make a list.

Get Advice

If you are involved in the Salmonella Africana outbreak, it is a good idea to get advice from a Salmonella lawyer. The Lange Law Firm, PLLC, has successfully represented outbreak cases and can help you understand your options. Call (833) 330-3663 or click here to email for a free consultation.


By: Heather Van Tassell (contributing writer, non-lawyer)