The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a new outbreak of infections caused by Salmonella Litchfield. The source of the pathogen has not yet been identified.

In its outbreak announcement this afternoon, the FDA reported there are 28 patients confirmed with infections. The agency did not indicate how old the patients are or where they live. The agency also did not report whether any patients have been hospitalized.

As of 3 p.m. EDT, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not posted any information about the outbreak. This is not unusual because the CDC generally waits until a specific pathogen source has been found. 

The FDA has initiated traceback efforts but has not reported what food or foods are being traced.

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)