A nationwide salmonella outbreak has infected 76 people and killed one according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reports of infection came from 26 states between March 1st and August 1st of this year.
Through their investigation of the outbreak the CDC discovered that 25 of the persons reported ill consumed ground turkey recently leading them to believe the infection was spread through the meat.
They also took cultures from four ground turkey samples purchased from four retail locations between March 7 and June 27th 2011 which yielded salmonella with the outbreak strain. They traced three of the samples to the same product establishment with the fourth still under investigation.
They are still collecting more data from the ill persons to determine product information on the ground turkey they ingested.
This information led the USDA-FSIS to issue a public health alert for frozen and fresh ground turkey products on July 29th. The alert warns customers to strictly follow cooking instructions located on the package to avoid further infection, but did not issue any recalls on ground turkey products due to lack of data.
“As this is an ongoing outbreak, this is likely a frozen product people have in their freezers,” said William D. Marler, a leading food safety litigation lawyer to the L.A. Times. “What FSIS should be saying is don’t eat frozen turkey products until we know what products are safe and what aren’t. They’re not telling the public anything that they can use to help protect themselves.”
Some symptoms common in people infected with salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts anywhere from four to seven days and most people can recover without medical treatment. However, the diarrhea can sometimes be so severe it leaves the infected person needing hospitalization.
The CDC also discovered that the salmonella is resistant to most commonly prescribed antibiotics. This can lead to a great risk of hospitalization and possible failure to treat the infected individuals.