Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Again Linked to Foster Farms Chicken
March 6, 2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the investigation continues into Salmonella Heidelberg infections likely related to Foster Farms chicken.
The CDC reports that last year’s Salmonella outbreak associated with Foster Farms poultry appeared to be over around mid-January 2014 when the number of reported infections from all seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg returned to baseline levels; however, the CDC investigation still continued.
Ongoing surveillance identified in February that infections from two of the previously rare outbreak strains have again exceeded the number of infections expected to be reported to PulseNet*during this time of year. 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.
As of February 28, 2014, a total of 481 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 25 states and Puerto Rico, since March 1, 2013.
38% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
- Most ill persons (76%) have been reported from California.
- Information about illnesses is available from 472 persons.
- The dates the illnesses began range from March 1, 2013 to February 11, 2014.
- Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 93 years, with a median age of 18 years.
- Fifty-one percent of ill persons are male.
- Among 394 persons with available information, 151 (38%) reported being hospitalized.
- Thirteen percent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness.
- Typically, approximately 5% of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections.
- No deaths have been reported.
- Illnesses that began after January 29, 2014, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks.
- Antibiotic resistance testing results are not yet available from recent ill persons or from recent food samples. Results of this testing will be reported when they become available.
- 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.
*Since 1996, PulseNet has connected foodborne illness cases together, using DNA “fingerprinting” of the bacteria making people sick, in order to detect and define outbreaks. PulseNet has detected thousands of local and multi-state outbreaks since it began, leading to prevention opportunities and continuous improvements in our food safety systems that might not otherwise have occurred. Since “foodborne illnesses do not respect any borders,” PulseNet International performs a similar role for worldwide foodborne illnesses.