Food & Drink

29 states touched by new salmonella outbreak, CDC says. And there’s even worse news

Yet another salmonella outbreak has sickened 92 cases in 29 states, the Centers for Disease Control announced Wednesday afternoon.

That’s the bad news. Now, for the worse news: Its origin might be widespread in that dietary basic — chicken.

The CDC says the 14th salmonella outbreak of 2018 traces to “raw chicken products from a variety of sources” being contaminated with salmonella, specifically salmonella infantis.

But, the CDC says, “A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified.” And, “The outbreak strain of salmonella infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry.”

And should you get hit with this strain of salmonella infantis, “Antibiotic resistance testing conducted by CDC on salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people shows that the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics.”

Clearly, with this strain of salmonella, an ounce of prevention trumps several pounds of cure. Salmonella safety steps:

Wash your hands before working with food, after working with food, after using the restroom, after doing anything around feces and after petting or playing with animals. This can kill the bacteria before it has a chance to go anywhere.

Whatever you cut raw chicken on or grind chicken in needs to be washed thoroughly with warm water and soap before being used for anything else. That also goes for the utensils involved.

Don’t wash raw chicken, especially around food prep areas. This recommendation, which runs counter to what generations were taught, is based in the theory that splashing water can carry salmonella bacteria to other surfaces and food.

Cook raw chicken thoroughly. Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a food thermometer in the house. Leftovers should be reheated to 165 also.

This outbreak’s 92 cases are mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, with 87 percent of the cases being east of the Mississippi River. The Pennsylvania (11), New York (10), New Jersey (nine) bloc accounts for 31 cases or 33.7 percent of all cases. As far as heavily populated states, Florida and Texas each have two cases so far and California has one.

About 1.2 million people a year in the United States get salmonella infections, usually 12 hours to three days after coming in contact with the bacteria. After four to seven days of diarrhea, fever and stomachaches, the sickness subsides. Excessive and/or bloody diarrhea drive about 23,000 to the hospital. About 450 people, usually children under 5 or senior citizens, die each year from salmonella.

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