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Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Wandsworth Infections Linked to Veggie Booty

Posted June 28, 2007

Click here to go to the Final Update

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.

Public health officials in OutbreakNet (the network of epidemiologists and other public health officials, facilitated by CDC, who investigate outbreaks of foodborne, waterborne, and other enteric illnesses nationwide) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Wandsworth infections. Salmonella Wandsworth is a rare strain of Salmonella.

Interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons show that consumption of Robert’s American Gourmet brand Veggie Booty was statistically associated with illness and therefore the most likely source of the outbreak.

As of June 28 at 11AM ET, 52 persons infected with Salmonella Wandsworth have been reported to CDC from 17 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin. Among the patients for whom clinical information is available, 77% developed bloody diarrhea and 11% were hospitalized. No deaths have been attributed to this infection. Onset dates, which are known for 49 patients, ranged from March 4, 2007 to June 11, 2007. The number of cases has gradually increased, with 8 cases reported from 6 states before May 1, 2007. Health department and CDC investigators worked for weeks conducting interviews with parents of ill children to develop theories about possible sources of infection.

The preliminary results of a multi-state case-control study demonstrate a strong association between illness and consumption of Veggie Booty, a snack of puffed rice and corn with a vegetable coating. CDC OutbreakNet staff shared this information with colleagues at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After being informed about the outbreak by FDA, the company that manufactures the product issued a voluntary recall. Persons are advised to discard any product in their possession.

OutbreakNet officials in CDC and in State and local health departments, FDA, and the marketing and manufacturing companies are working collaboratively to learn more about production of Veggie Booty to determine how it may have become contaminated.

Persons who think they may have become ill from eating Robert’s American Gourmet brand Veggie Booty are advised to consult their health care provider. Infection with Salmonella is diagnosed by culture of a stool sample.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, often with 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, sometimes the illness is so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

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