Forty more patients have been identified as part of a Salmonella outbreak linked to charcuterie meat products.

As of Feb. 15 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting 87 patients across 30 states. The Salmonella I 4:I:- infections have resulted in the hospitalization of 18 patients. Illnesses started on Nov. 20, 2023. The patients range in age from less than 1 to 92 years old.

The true number of people sickened in this outbreak is likely much higher than reported so far because many people do not seek medical attention and those who do are often not tested for Salmonella infection. The CDC estimates that for every case of Salmonella infection diagnosed there are 29 cases that are not identified.

Epidemiologic and laboratory data show that charcuterie meat products from Fratelli Beretta are making people in this outbreak sick. Fratelli Beretta has recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing Coppa. Of 46 patients interviewed, 78 percent reported eating a variety of charcuterie meats.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected one unopened package of the twin-pack of Busseto brand charcuterie sampler from a sick person’s home. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the Salmonella in the charcuterie sampler is closely related to bacteria from sick people. This suggests that people got sick from eating the charcuterie sampler.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service collected Coppa products from Fratelli Beretta, which tested positive for Salmonella. Whole genome sequencing showed it is a different strain of Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak and the Antipasto collected by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Whole genome sequencing of bacteria from 87 people’s samples and one food sample predicted resistance to three or more of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, kanamycin, streptomycin, and sulfisoxazole. Most people with Salmonella illness recover without antibiotics. However, if antibiotics are needed, some illnesses in this outbreak may be difficult to treat with some commonly recommended antibiotics and may require a different antibiotic choice.

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 eaten any recalled products and 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)