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Milk-Borne Salmonellosis -- Illinois

Between March 22, and April 8, 1985, over 1,500 culture-confirmed cases of salmonellosis in northern Illinois have been reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Investigations have linked the outbreak to 2% pasteurized milk ("Blue Brook" brand) from one processing plant. Salmonella typhimurium, resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline, has been isolated from patients and from milk in unopened cartons. The dairy stopped producing milk April 9, and investigations by local, state, and federal officials are continuing. Reported by local Illinois health departments, Illinois Dept of Public Health; Enteric Diseases Br, Div of Bacterial Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC; US Food and Drug Administration.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Pasteurized milk constitutes approximately 99% of all (cow) milk consumed in the United States, but milk-borne outbreaks of Salmonella investigated by CDC in the past have almost always involved raw milk because effective pasteurization kills Salmonella. The large number of affected persons in this outbreak illustrates how a widely consumed product, once contaminated, can result in many cases. Similar widespread transmission of Salmonella occurred in a waterborne outbreak involving an estimated 16,000 people (100 reported cases) in Riverside, California, in 1965 (1) and in an estimated 3,400 affected Navajo Indians (105 investigated cases) at a barbecue on a reservation in 1974 (2).


  1. Aserkoff B, Schroeder SA, Brachman PS. Salmonellosis in the United States--a five-year review. Am J Epidemiol 1970;92:13-24.

  2. Horwitz MA, Pollard RA, Merson MH, Martin SM. A large outbreak of foodborne salmonellosis on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, epidemiology and secondary transmission. Am J Public Health 1977;67:1071-6.

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