At least 90 people have been sickened across the United States amid a salmonella illness outbreak that has been traced to raw turkey products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said earlier this week that it is investigating the multistate outbreak in which raw turkey from “a variety of sources” was contaminated with Salmonella Reading, leading to infections in 26 states.
Nearly half of those who have become ill have been hospitalized, the CDC said, but no deaths have been reported.
Bill Marler, a food safety attorney, said that the current outbreak points to “a salmonella contamination at a farm level that has moved into multiple streams of products.”
“It just shows how salmonella, particularly antibiotic-resistant salmonella, can be in one location and spread through the entire food chain,” he told The Washington Post.
No main manufacturer or distributor has been determined. Instead, the CDC said, the outbreak, which started in November, has been linked to various brands and products and include raw turkey and live turkeys as well as pet food that contains raw turkey.
The highest number of cases has been reported in Minnesota, where at least 13 people have become ill — followed by Illinois, New York and Texas, according to the agency.
Some people who fell ill reported that they had either prepared the turkey or eaten it, according the CDC, and two people said they had become ill after their pets had eaten pet food containing raw turkey. In February, the Minnesota Department of Health released a statement, saying it was investigating two cases in which children had gotten sick after their pets had eaten raw turkey pet food.
Marler said the reason that outbreaks seem to be occurring more frequently is likely a combination of better detection and an increase in cases themselves.
“It seems that there’s something more going on in the food system than just better surveillance,” he told The Post.
The CDC said that those who have become infected with salmonella may experience diarrhea, fever and stomach pains, though most cases clear up without medical intervention. Infections rarely cause death, according to the agency.
The CDC has compiled a list of best practices to avoid infections:
- Wash your hands before and after preparing any food, especially raw meat, as well as all preparation areas, including counter tops and cutting boards. Also wash your hands after petting animals or using the restroom.
- Cook raw meat thoroughly.
- Do not feed raw pet food to pets.