On October 6, 2016, the CDC issued its final update to the investigations related to a series of Salmonella outbreaks. For those of you following our live poultry post, this update marks the end of a nationwide Salmonella concern. These outbreaks, 8 in total, were caused by handling live poultry. The outbreaks caused almost 900 illnesses in total and affected nearly every state. More than a quarter of those sickened were under the age of 5. Two hundred and nine people needed to be hospitalized, and there were 3 deaths reported. The CDC has said that this year has had the most live poultry related illnesses on record. These outbreaks, although they are all caused by Salmonella, are considered separate. This is because Salmonella, a very common cause of foodborne illness, has over 20 different serotypes or strains. These serotypes have similar effects in terms of the illness they cause, but are genetically different. Information for all eight outbreaks is below.
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Outbreak 1: Salmonella Enteritidis
The first outbreak associated with live poultry was caused by Salmonella Enteritidis. By the end of this outbreak, 249 people had been diagnosed with Salmonella poisoning. Fifty two of those sickened required hospitalization. There was one death reported, but Salmonella was not found to be the cause of death. This outbreak affected 25 different states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Illnesses connected with this outbreak were reported between January 4 and August 18, 2016.
Outbreak 2: Salmonella Muenster
The second outbreak was caused by the Salmonella serotype Muenster. This outbreak was much smaller than the Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak, causing only 25 people to be sickened. These illnesses were reported in 8 different states, including Indiana with 3 cases, Kentucky with 1 case, Michigan with 5 cases, Missouri with 1 case, New York with 1 case, Ohio with 7 cases, Pennsylvania with 2 cases, and Tennessee with 5 cases. Eight out of the 25 sickened required hospitalization because of their illness. There were no deaths reported. These 25 illnesses began between March 11 and July 3, 2016. This outbreak was linked to the other live poultry outbreaks after 14 people reported contact with live poultry prior to their illness.
Outbreak 3: Salmonella Hadar
The third outbreak linked to this investigation was caused by Salmonella Hadar. This outbreak investigation ended with 86 people sick with Salmonella poisoning. These bacteria had affected a total of 86 people by the end of the outbreak. The 86 cases of illness were spread out over 29 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. These illnesses were reported between March 27 and August 28, 2016. There were 30 people hospitalized because of their Salmonella infection. There were no deaths reported.
Outbreak 4: Salmonella Indiana
Outbreak number 4 was caused by the Salmonella serotype Indiana. This outbreak was responsible for 110 cases of infection spread out over 24 states. States affected include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. People sickened in the outbreak ranged in age from 1 to 89. This outbreak had a median age of 8.5. Reported illnesses began between March 26 and June 11, 2016. There were no deaths reported, and 24 people were hospitalized. In interviews with health officials, 60 people sickened in the outbreak reported contact with live poultry prior to their illness.
Outbreak 5: Salmonella Mbandaka
The 5th outbreak linked to live poultry was caused by the Mbandaka strain of Salmonella bacteria. There were forty six people sickened in the outbreak, in 20 different states. The list of states affected by the outbreak consists of Alabama with 7 cases of illness, Arizona with 1 case, Arkansas with 1 case, Colorado with 2 cases, Illinois with 2 cases, Indiana with 3 cases, Iowa with 1 case, Kansas with 1 case, Kentucky with 2 cases, Maine with 1 case, Michigan with 3 cases, New Jersey with 1 case, North Carolina with 2 cases, Ohio with 9 cases, Oklahoma with 1 case, Pennsylvania with 2 cases, Tennessee with 1 case, Texas with 1 case, Vermont with 2 cases, and Virginia with 3 cases. There were 11 reports of hospitalization associated with this outbreak, and no deaths were reported. These cases of Salmonella Mbandaka were reported to have begun between March 26 and August 19, 2016.
Outbreak 6: Salmonella Infantis
The sixth outbreak investigated by the CDC was caused by Salmonella Infantis. This outbreak was responsible for the illnesses of 219 different people. This outbreak affected a majority of the states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. These 219 illnesses occurred between February 15 and September 10, 2016. People sickened in the outbreak ranged in age from less than 1 year to 106 years old. Forty nine people were hospitalized for their illnesses, but there were no deaths reported.
Outbreak 7: Salmonella Braenderup
The Braenderup strain of Salmonella is the cause of the seventh outbreak investigated by the CDC. This outbreak sickened 129 people across the United States. Out of these illnesses, 27 required hospitalization. There were no deaths reported. Over the course of interviews with health investigators, 55 people reported contact with live poultry prior to their illness. There were 25 states impacted by the outbreak, including Wisconsin, Washington, Utah, Texas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Outbreak 8: Salmonella Infantis
The eighth and final outbreak investigated by the CDC in connection to live poultry flocks was caused by Salmonella Infantis. This outbreak was smaller than the others, only sickening 31 people over the course of the investigation. There were 16 states impacted by this outbreak, including California with 2 cases, Iowa with 1 case, Kansas with 3 cases, Kentucky with 1 case, Massachusetts with 2 cases, Minnesota with 2 cases, Montana with 1 case, Nebraska with 5 cases, New York with 5 cases, Pennsylvania with 1 case, South Dakota with 2 cases, Texas with 1 case, Utah with 1 case, Washington with 1 case, West Virginia with 2 cases, and Wisconsin with 1 case. There were 8 people that needed to be hospitalized. There was one death reported, but Salmonella was not considered to be the cause of death.
Salmonella bacteria cause an illness in humans called Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is one of the most common sources of foodborne illness in the United States, where the CDC estimates that 1.2 million cases of Salmonella poisoning take place each year. A Salmonella infection, after a 12 to 72 hour incubation period, will produce symptoms including fever, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Those with certain risk factors, including children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems are at an increased risk of developing a serious Salmonella infection. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, contact a medical professional.