The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday afternoon that, as of Jan. 15, a total of 430 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico. The situation prompted a public health alert on Oct. 7, 2013, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service due to concerns that the illness was associated with chicken products produced at three Foster Farms processing facilities in California. Most of the ill persons (74 percent) have been reported from California. The number of those ill identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (19), California (321), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (10), Utah (2), Virginia (4), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (1). Among 418 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from March 1, 2013, to Dec. 26, 2013. Ill persons range in age from less than one year to 93 years, with a median age of 18 years. Fifty-two percent of ill persons are male. Thirteen percent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness. Typically, approximately 5 percent of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections. No deaths have been reported. Thursday’s update included the following information:
- Thirty-eight percent of ill persons have been hospitalized.
- The number of reported infections from the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg has returned to baseline levels, indicating that this particular outbreak appears to be over. However, activities related to this investigation are ongoing.
- Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
- On Oct. 7, 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a Public Health Alert due to concerns that illness caused by Salmonella Heidelberg is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California. The outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Although these antibiotics are not typically used to treat Salmonella bloodstream infections or other severe Salmonella infections, antibiotic resistance can increase the risk of hospitalization in infected individuals.
- On Oct. 10, 2013, FSIS announced that Foster Farms submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations.
- This investigation is ongoing. FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on any new evidence.
- It is not unusual for raw poultry from any producer to have Salmonella bacteria. CDC and USDA-FSIS recommend consumers follow food safety tips to prevent Salmonella infection from raw poultry produced by Foster Farms or any other brand.