Outbreak Investigation Updates by Date

Final Update

Posted May 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM ET

This outbreak appears to be over, but recalled frozen tuna may still be in freezers. People could get sick if restaurants and retailers who are unaware of the recall continue to serve and sell sushi made with recalled frozen tuna. Check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for the list of recalled productsexternal icon.

On This Page

April 16, 2019

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationexternal icon are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections.

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 bacteria isolated from ill people showed that they were closely related genetically. This means that ill people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.

As of April 15, 2019, 13 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 7 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each is on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 8, 2019 to March 20, 2019. Ill people range in age from 29 to 85 years, with a median age of 40. Fifty-four percent are female. Of 12 people with available information, two (17%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that frozen, raw ground tuna supplied by Jensen Tuna in Houma, Louisiana is the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Nine (75%) of 12 people interviewed reported eating sushi from a restaurant or grocery store. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey pdf icon[PDF – 787 KB] of healthy people in which 5% reported eating sushi, sashimi, or ceviche made with raw fish or shellfish in the week before they were interviewed. Of the nine people with information about their sushi exposure, nine (100%) reported eating a sushi item containing raw tuna or raw “spicy tuna.”

The FDA and regulatory officials in several states traced the source of the raw tuna used by restaurants where ill people ate sushi. The traceback evidence indicated that the restaurants used frozen ground tuna supplied by Jensen Tuna.

On April 15, 2019, Jensen Tuna voluntarily recalledexternal icon frozen ground tuna products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.