Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Infections Linked to Raw Turkey Products

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Posted February 15, 2019 at 3:00 PM EDT

CDC and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is monitoring the outbreak.

Latest Outbreak Information
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At A Glance
  • Since the last update on December 21, 2018, 63 ill people from 24 states, and the District of Columbia, have been added to this investigation.
  • As of February 13, 2019, 279 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 41 states and the District of Columbia.
    • 107 people have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from California.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that raw turkey products from a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Reading and are making people sick.
  • In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. Four ill people lived in households where raw turkey pet food was fed to pets.
  • The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys.
    • Several turkey products have been recalled because they might have been contaminated with Salmonella. Please see the list of recalled items below.
    • A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak.
  • The Public Health Agency of CanadaExternal has identified ill people in Canada infected with Salmonella Reading bacteria with the same DNA fingerprint.
  • The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading is present in live turkeys and in many types of raw turkey products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry. CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the turkey industry and requested that they take steps to reduce Salmonella contamination.
Recall and Advice to Consumers and Retailers
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Advice

Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.

With the exception of the recalled turkey products, CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.

CDC advises consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw turkey:

  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another. Wash hands before and after handling raw turkey products.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the foodExternal.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommendedExternal. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

Recalls

Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled turkey products:

Ground Turkey

  • Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Faribault, Minnesota recalledExternal approximately 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products on December 21, 2018. The recalled ground turkey was sold in 1-pound, 2.5-pound and 3-pound packages labeled with establishment number “P-579”. This is found on the side of the product tray package.
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Barron, Wisconsin recalledExternal approximately 147,276 pounds of raw ground turkey products on November 15, 2018. The recalled ground turkey was sold in one-pound packages labeled with establishment number “P-190”. This is found inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Pet Food

  • Woody’s Pet Food Deli in Minnesota recalledExternal raw turkey pet food on January 28, 2019. The recalled product was sold in 5-pound plastic containers labeled “Woody’s Pet Food Deli Raw Free Range Turkey” and was sold in Minnesota.
  • Raws for Paws of Minneapolis, MN recalledExternal approximately 4,000 pounds of its 5 pounds and 1 pound chubs of Ground Turkey Pet Food on February 5, 2018.

CDC will update the advice to consumers and retailers if more information becomes available, such as a supplier or type of raw turkey product linked to illness.

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection
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  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
  • For more information, see the CDCSalmonella website.
Investigation Details

February 15, 2019

Since the last update on December 21, 63 ill people from 24 states and the District of Columbia have been added to this investigation.

As of February 13, 2019, 279 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 41 states and the District of Columbia. 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 November 20, 2017, to January 29, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 101, with a median age of 43. Fifty-three percent of ill people are female. Of 222 people with information available, 107 (48%) have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from California.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis did not identify predicted antibiotic resistance in 157 isolates from 79 ill people and 78 food, animal, environmental samples. However, 107 isolates from ill people and 115 isolates from food, animal, and environmental samples contained genes for resistance or decreased susceptibility to all or some of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, kanamycin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, and fosfomycin. Testing of 8 outbreak isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory confirmed these results (fosfomycin and kanamycin were not tested by this method). Most of the infections in this outbreak are susceptible to the antibiotics that are commonly used for treatment, so this resistance likely will not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people.

Investigation of the Outbreak

State and local health departments continue to interview ill people about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Seventy-eight (55%) of the 141 ill people interviewed reported preparing or eating turkey products that were purchased raw, including ground turkey, turkey pieces, and whole turkey. Ill people reported buying many different brands of raw turkey products from multiple stores. Also, 4 of the 141 ill people interviewed became sick after pets in their home ate raw ground turkey pet foodExternal. Five of the 141 ill people interviewed worked in a facility that raises or processes turkeys, or lived with someone who did.

Public health and regulatory officials in Minnesota identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading in samples of raw turkey pet food from Woody’s Pet Food Deli. One ill person from Minnesota lived in a household where a pet regularly ate raw turkey pet food from Woody’s Pet Food Deli. On January 28, 2019, Woody’s Pet Food Deli in Minnesota recalledExternal raw turkey pet food.

Ill people in this outbreak report buying many different brands of raw turkey products from multiple stores. Available data indicate that this strain of Salmonella Reading may be present in live turkeys and in raw turkey products. A single, common supplier of raw turkey products, or of live turkeys, has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak.

 

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