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Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Wandsworth Infections Linked to Veggie Booty (Final Update)

Posted July 18, 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.

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 July 18 at 11AM ET, 65 persons infected with Salmonella Wandsworth have been reported to CDC from 20 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Among the patients for whom clinical information is available, all had diarrhea, 76% had bloody stools, and six patients were hospitalized. No deaths have been attributed to these infections. Onset dates, which are known for 64 patients, ranged from February 26, 2007 to June 27, 2007. Most (91%) of cases have occurred in children aged 10 months to 3 years. During the initial phase of the outbreak, the number of cases gradually increased, with only 8 cases reported to PulseNet ( the nationwide network of public health laboratories that sub-type bacteria) 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.

A multi-state case-control study demonstrated 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) on June 27. After being informed about the outbreak by FDA, the company that manufactures the product issued a voluntary recall on June 28. None of the 65 known illnesses from Salmonella Wandsworth began after the product was recalled. Persons are advised to discard any product in their possession.

OutbreakNet officials at 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 . The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Laboratory (MDAL) has isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Wandsworth from sealed bags of Veggie Booty obtained from retail stores. The outbreak strain has also been isolated from sealed bags of Veggie Booty by the FDA laboratory and the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center Laboratory. Preliminary testing suggests that the seasoning mix used in Veggie Booty may be the source of the contamination.

MDAL also isolated Salmonella Typhimurium, a different strain of Salmonella, from a sealed bag of Veggie Booty collected at the same time as the bags positive for Salmonella Wandsworth. PulseNet identified 10 persons who had illness caused by this strain of Salmonella Typhimurium between June 1, 2007 and June 27, 2007. OutbreakNet officials have interviewed 8 of the 10 ill persons with this strain of Salmonella Typhimurium and determined that all eight consumed Veggie Booty during the week before their illnesses began.

On July 2, the company expanded the recall to include Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks. This was done due to the company’s concern that Veggie Booty and Super Veggie Tings share ingredients that could be contaminated. Persons should discard any Super Veggie Tings in their possession. CDC is not aware of any human illnesses associated with the consumption of Super Veggie Tings.

Persons who think they may have become ill from eating Veggie Booty or Super Veggie Tings 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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Previous Updates on this Outbreak

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