The CDC has declared an outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul infections to be over with 18 people having been sickened.

Investigators linked the outbreak to ground beef sold at ShopRite stores in the Northeast, according to a notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 18 patients, seven were so sick they had to be hospitalized. Patients were from four states. No one died. The patients lived in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland.

“WGS (Whole Genome Sequencing) showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples were closely related genetically. This suggested that people in this outbreak may have gotten sick from the same food,” according to the CDC’s report.

“. . . The outbreak strain was identified in a routine ground beef surveillance sample collected by USDA-FSIS in March 2023.”

State and local public health officials interviewed patients about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 16 people interviewed, 10 reported eating ground beef. Nine sick people reported purchasing the ground beef from ShopRite locations in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Seven of these people specifically reported purchasing 80 percent lean ground beef products. Two people reported purchasing ground beef products from ShopRite but could not remember the type of ground beef.

As of Aug. 23, a total of 18 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella were reported. Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 27 through July 6.

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak was likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not have been limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part an outbreak,” according to the CDC outbreak notice.

Although this outbreak has ended, the CDC is reminding consumers to cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F to kill pathogens.

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