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Chicken Salmonella Outbreak Continues, No Recall or Brands Yet

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on October 20, 2018

92 cases in 29 states of Salmonella Infantis have been documented by the CDC related to raw chicken. Unfortunately, those cases have resulted in 21 hospitalizations, but thankfully, no deaths have been reported. Our Salmonella Chicken Outbreak Lawyer wants you to be in the know. Here’s the scoop:

The Outbreak

Laboratory testing shows that there are many types of chicken that are linked to this outbreak and have been purchased from many different locations.

The outbreak strain has been found in live chickens, pet food containing chicken and raw chicken products. This strain is also antibiotic resistant and appears to be widespread among the chicken industry. The industry has been advised on how to reduce Salmonella contamination.

The strain of Salmonella Infantis in this outbreak is multidrug-resistant and not susceptible to the common first-line antibiotics ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone, as well as several other antibiotics. Many patients in this outbreak had urinary tract infections with urine cultures that yielded Salmonella Infantis.

CDC’s Recommendations

The CDC issued some advice to clinicians who are treating this type of Salmonella:

    • The strain of Salmonella Infantis in this outbreak is NOT susceptible to ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, or other antibiotics including ampicillin, chloramphenicol, fosfomycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and tetracycline.
    • The strain appears to be susceptible to azithromycin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and meropenem.
  • Consider consulting an infectious disease specialist for management of patients with multidrug-resistant or complicated Salmonella infections.
  • Remind patients about careful hand hygiene after using the bathroom and before preparing meals, to prevent transmission to others.
  • Note that some health departments require a negative stool test before a person can return to work in a high-risk setting, such as food preparation, child care, or healthcare.

So what should consumers do? Thankfully the CDC has us covered there, too:

Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and make you sick.

CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products.

CDC advises consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw chicken:

  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken and other raw meats if possible.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

More on the Outbreak:

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS performed on Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak showed that they are closely related genetically. This means that the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection.

As of October 15, 2018, 92 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 29 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started from January 19, 2018, to September 9, 2018. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 105, with a median age of 36. Sixty-nine percent of ill people are female.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 54 people interviewed, 48 (89%) people interviewed reported preparing or eating chicken products that were purchased raw, including ground chicken, chicken pieces, and whole chicken. Ill people reported buying many different brands of raw chicken products from multiple stores. Also, one person got sick after pets in their home ate raw ground chicken pet food. Another ill person lived with someone who works in a facility that raises or processes chickens.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis has been identified in samples from raw chicken pet food, from raw chicken products from 58 slaughter and/or processing establishments, and from live chickens.  Samples collected at slaughter and processing establishments were collected as part of FSIS’s routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. Furthermore, WGS showed that the Salmonella from these samples is closely related genetically to the Salmonella from ill people.  This result provides more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from handling or eating raw or undercooked chicken.

Conclusion:

Last night, as I was preparing the one and only chicken for my family I found that I was being extra careful. I am always on the side of caution, but tonight I found that I was even more so. The fact is that family safety is first and foremost and with some proper kitchen techniques we hope to avoid the S word, which in this case is Salmonella Infantis.

Our Salmonella Chicken Outbreak Lawyer is Here to Help You

If you believe you have developed a Salmonella infection, we want you to know that a Salmonella Lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.

If you or a loved one have become ill with Salmonella after eating or handling raw chicken products, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)