Outbreak Investigation Updates by Date

Final Update

May 7, 2019 at 2:00 PM ET

This outbreak appears to be over. People should always handle and cook turkey safely. Get CDC’s tips to prevent foodborne illness from turkey.

On This Page

March 14, 2019

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS)external icon are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Schwarzengrund 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 March 14, 2019, 6 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund have been reported from 3 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 ranging from December 19, 2018, to February 2, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than one year to 71, with a median age of 55. Eighty-three percent are female. One (17%) person has 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.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis of 5 clinical isolates predicted antibiotic resistance to streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline. Testing of outbreak isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory is currently underway. This resistance likely will not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that ground turkey produced by Butterball, LLC in Mount Olive, North Carolina is a likely source of this outbreak.

Health officials collected information about the foods ill people ate and other exposures they had in the week before they became ill. Five (83%) of six ill people either lived in a residence where ground turkey was served, or reported eating ground turkey at home.

Health officials in Wisconsinexternal icon collected records and unopened ground turkey from a residence where four of the ill people live. Records indicated that the turkey used at the residence was Butterball brand ground turkey.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund was identified in samples of the ground turkey collected from the residence where four ill people live. These results provide more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from eating ground turkey products produced by Butterball, LLC.

On March 13, 2019, Butterball, LLC recalledexternal icon approximately 78,164 pounds of ground turkey products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.

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