Federal health officials indicate they are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella poisoning, which has caused at least 125 illnesses nationwide.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week it is actively investigating a Salmonella Newport outbreak that has surfaced in at least 15 states, resulting in 125 illnesses and 24 hospitalizations.
The first cluster of infections was identified on July 10, 2020, after 13 individuals across three states became sick. Since then, an additional 112 people have fallen ill, with some requiring hospitalization.
The source of the outbreak is unknown at this time, and no single food, grocery store or link in the supply chain has been identified as a possible source of contamination.
Illnesses have been reported in California (3), Illinois (1), Iowa (3), Michigan (12), Minnesota (3), Missouri (2), Montana (11), North Carolina (3) Ohio (5), Oregon (42), Tennessee (1), Utah (28), Washington (1), Wisconsin (1), and Wyoming (9).
Officials are actively interviewing patients to ask them about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before falling ill. The agency uses this information to determine a pattern and hopefully trace the source of the infection.
Those who experience symptoms of salmonella should contact their doctor immediately and make a log of all foods consumed in the week prior to illness onset.
For healthy individuals, salmonella symptoms typically include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain lasting between 4 and 7 days. The illness can become worse due to the delay in treatment because the infection can only be diagnosed by testing stool samples and is usually treated with antibiotics.
Among individuals with a weakened immune system, such as the elderly, children or pregnant women, the illness can pose a much greater risk and may lead to death or still birth if left untreated. In rare circumstances, the infection can even spread throughout the blood stream and cause arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates 48 million people are sickened each year from food poisoning, 130,000 are hospitalized from the infections, and another 3,000 result in fatalities.
The outbreak comes just days after FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn announced a blueprint for a new food safety initiative, outlining the agency’s 10 year plan to enhance traceability, respond more rapidly to outbreaks, address new business models, reduce contamination of food, and foster the development of stronger food safety cultures.
The blueprint provides core elements for several branches of the food industry, with the first being tracing technologies allowing companies and investigators to follow food from farm to the consumer’s table to provide greater supply chain visibility and recognize outbreaks within minutes, rather than days or weeks.