Health officials have identified almost 100 sick people in Iowa and at least one in Minnesota in a multi-state Salmonella outbreak investigation linked to chicken salad sold at Fareway stores.

The company that supplied the deli chicken salad to Fareway Stores Inc. has not been revealed by the regional grocery chain, state officials or federal officials.

Salmonella bacteria under high magnification.

As of tonight the grocer, which has about 120 retail stores, did not have any information about the situation on its website. It has not recalled any food in relation to the outbreak.

Iowa’s Department of Public Health issued a public alert Tuesday about the link between the chicken salad and the Salmonella outbreak. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service followed up Wednesday with its own warning.

Those warnings did not report the number of illnesses. Today the Iowa health department reported 94 sick people are implicated: 28 of them have laboratory-confirmed infections from Salmonella typhimurium and 66 of them  are probable cases.

All of the 28 confirmed sick people reported eating chicken salad from Fareway during the seven days before they became ill. Of the 66 probable victims for whom confirmation tests are pending, all reported eating chicken salad from a Fareway store in the week before they became ill.

Other probable cases have epidemiological links to a confirmed sick person, according to the Iowa health department update posted today.

Illness onset dates range from Jan. 1 through Feb. 16. There are likely more outbreak victims that are not yet showing up in state totals because of the lag time between illness onset, diagnosis and reporting to state officials.

In Minnesota, only one person had been confirmed as a victim of the outbreak, according to the state’s health department Facebook page. The sick person lives in Martin County.

The chicken salad linked to the outbreak was sold at all of Fareway Stores Inc. grocery stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota, according to federal officials. Neither the official websites or Facebook pages for the Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota health departments had any mention of the outbreak as of tonight.

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Advice to consumers
“(The Food Safety and Inspection Service) FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers,” according to the public alert posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wednesday night.

“Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

Anyone who has eaten any chicken salad from Fareway stores and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria. However, in some people it takes two weeks for symptoms to develop.

Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days.

Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness.

Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but they are still be able to spread the infection to others.

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