Salmonella Saint Paul

2008 | June 23 – July 31, 2008

On May 22, 2008, CDC received notification from the New Mexico Department of Health and the Indian Health Service. They were investigating a cluster of illnesses: 19 people sick with symptoms of foodborne disease. Stool samples implicated a rare strain of Salmonella bacteria called Salmonella Saintpaul.

The initial group of sick people was mostly composed of residents of New Mexico, but also included two from Arizona and one living in Utah. At the same time, two sick people in Texas and one in Colorado had also been separately identified.

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CDC and its public health partners on the federal, state, local, and tribal levels searched for the source of the outbreak and took steps to stop transmission of the infection. The investigation showed that jalapeño peppers were a major source of contamination and that serrano peppers also were a source. In addition, tomatoes were possibly a source, particularly early in the outbreak.