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Outbreak Investigation Updates by Date

Final Update

Posted December 7, 2018 at 4:00 PM ET


CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to kosher chicken. This outbreak investigation is over.

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August 29, 2018

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- infections linked to kosher chicken.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS performed on Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak showed that they are closely related genetically. This means that the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection.

As of August 27, 2018, 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- have been reported from four states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates from September 25, 2017, to June 4, 2018. Ill people range in age from less than one year to 76, with a median age of 14. Fifty-three percent are female. Of 16 people with information available, 8 (50%) have been hospitalized, including a death reported from New York. Illnesses may continue to be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Investigation of the Outbreak

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 14 people interviewed, all (100%) reported eating chicken products. Of nine people who reported brand information, seven reported specifically eating Empire Kosher brand chicken.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- has been identified in samples from raw chicken collected at two facilities, including one that processes Empire Kosher brand chicken. The samples collected by USDA-FSIS at the slaughter and processing establishments were part of USDA-FSIS’ routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. WGS showed that the Salmonella strain from these samples is closely related genetically to the Salmonella strain from ill people.

Available data indicate that some kosher chicken products are contaminated with this strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- and have made people sick. Consumers should be aware that any raw chicken may be contaminated with germs and should always follow steps to prevent Salmonella infection from these products.

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