At least 124 people are now known to have been sickened in the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to chicken, reported the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday.
The announcement was made after Oregon and Washington’s state health departments announced early that day that they had recorded 56 and 43 illnesses linked to this outbreak, respectively, amounting to 99 total illnesses, and that the illnesses were likely linked to chicken from Foster Farms in Kelso, WA.
On Thursday evening, CDC published an outbreak report that upped that count to 124 people ill in 12 states. However, CDC counted only 38 victims in Oregon, while the state reports that it had 43 confirmed illnesses, meaning that this count could rise to 129 if CDC determines that the additional 5 Oregon cases were indeed part of the outbreak.
“At this time, CDC is not releasing the names of the other states until it is determined how these illnesses are linked to this outbreak,” said the agency in its report.
Of the victims reported by CDC, 32 percent have been hospitalized. No deaths have resulted from infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella, health officials say.
Those sickened range in age from less than 1 to 94 years old, with a median age of 23.
According to CDC, the outbreak began with the onset of the first illness on June 4, 2012. The latest reported case began on January 6 of this year, but the outbreak is still considered ongoing and more cases could still be reported.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) are conducting an investigation to determine the source of the bacteria at Foster Farms, according to CDC’s announcement.
CDC reiterated the advice that the Washington State Department of Health and Oregon Health Authority had issued earlier Thursday – Salmonella is widely present in raw poultry, so consumers should safely prepare and cook these products to avoid illness.© Food Safety News