HealthZette

Drug-Resistant Salmonella Outbreak Sweeps Through 29 States

Chicken products are blamed for sicknesses — read on for ways to avoid this bacteria, which can lead to serious illness

An outbreak of salmonella in 29 states is now being reported, and it has health officials concerned — it’s a drug-resistant strain originating in both chicken products and live chickens.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked 92 salmonella cases to raw chicken products. At least 21 people have been hospitalized, but there have been no deaths reported thus far from the outbreak.

The victims reportedly range in age from less than one year old to 105 years old.

Investigators have been looking into illnesses reported in January through early September. Troublingly, the chicken is not coming from one source; epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that “many types of raw chicken products” from “a variety of sources” are contaminated with salmonella, noted Fox 5 in New York.

The salmonella strain has been identified in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens.

Tests also indicated that the specific strain of salmonella making people sick is resistant to multiple antibiotics, the CDC said.

Health experts advise taking these steps to avoid food poisoning from chicken: Wash your hands, cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill germs, and wash your preparation areas. Do not feed raw food to pets, and, the CDC warns, it is not a good idea to wash raw chicken before cooking. This can spread germs to other kitchen areas.

Earlier this month, an Arizona company had to recall 6.5 million pounds of various beef products due to fears the food was contaminated with salmonella.

The products had been shipped nationwide, and were identified as being supplied from JBS Tolleson of Tolleson, Arizona. Raw, “non-intact” beef items, including ground beef, were under the recall.

Infants and others with compromised immune systems are more at risk for more severe complications from salmonella, so the best thing to do is act out of an abundance of caution, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The signs and symptoms surface between 12 and 72 hours of exposure to the bacteria and include:

  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • abdominal cramps

Salmonella symptoms usually last four to seven days; most people recover without treatment. In some people, however, diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required.

Salmonella infection, in rare cases, can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics, notes the CDC.

Those more likely to suffer severe illness from salmonella bacteria include:

  • children younger than five years
  • adults older than 65
  • other people with weakened immune systems

See more in the video below.