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Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee Infections Linked to Peanut Butter (Final Update)

Posted March 7, 2007

This outbreak appears to be over. However, Salmonella is an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about Salmonella, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC Salmonella Web Page.


Cases of Salmonella Tennessee infection with the outbreak strain, by state

Public health officials in multiple states, with the assistance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are investigating a large multistate outbreak of Salmonella serotype Tennessee infections. An epidemiologic study comparing foods that ill and well persons said they ate showed that consumption of Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter were both statistically associated with illness and therefore the likely source of the outbreak. Product testing has confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Tennessee in opened jars of peanut butter obtained from ill persons.

FDA has advised consumers not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter and not to eat Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning with 2111. Peter Pan peanut butter is made in a single facility in Georgia.  Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning with 2111 is made in the same facility as Peter Pan peanut butter; Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers is not affected.

As of March 7th at 12 PM EST, 425 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Tennessee have been reported to CDC from 44 states. Among 351 patients for whom clinical information is available, 71 (20%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been attributed to this infection. Onset dates, which are known for 301 patients, ranged from August 1, 2006 to February 16, 2007, and 67% of these illnesses began after December 1, 2006.

PulseNet (the national subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance coordinated by CDC) detected a slowly rising increase in cases of Salmonella Tennessee this fall. OutbreakNet (the national network of public health officials coordinated by CDC that investigates enteric disease outbreaks) then worked for several weeks to identify this unusual food vehicle.

Public health officials from several states have isolated Salmonella from open jars of peanut butter of both Peter Pan and Great Value brand. For fifteen jars, the serotype has been confirmed as Tennessee and DNA fingerprinting has shown that the pattern is the outbreak strain.

FDA officials and the peanut butter manufacturer are working collaboratively to learn more about production of peanut butter to determine how it may have become contaminated.

Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult their health care provider. Persons who have Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning with 2111 should discard the jar. Local health departments no longer need to collect jars for testing.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

The states that have reported cases are Alaska (1 case), Alabama (10), Arkansas (3), Arizona (5), California (5), Colorado (13), Connecticut (3), Delaware (1), Florida (7), Georgia (21), Iowa (8), Illinois (11), Indiana (16), Kansas (10), Kentucky (11), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (10), Maryland (2), Maine (1), Michigan (9), Minnesota (7), Missouri (20), Mississippi (6), Montana (2), Nebraska (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (1), New York (48), North Carolina (25), North Dakota (1), Ohio (13), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (30), South Carolina (10), South Dakota (6), Tennessee (19), Texas (16), Virginia (27), Vermont (7), Washington (4), Wisconsin (7), and West Virginia (5).

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