Salmonella outbreak sickens 300 in US

by Terry Bryant

Despite the federal government shutdown, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to recall furloughed Federal food safety workers to track an antibiotic-resistant outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg.  The virulent Salmonella Heidelberg strain has been traced back to raw chicken found at three sites run by the private California poultry producer Foster Farms.  Since July, it has sickened 300 people in 18 states, according to the CDC.  Although no deaths have been reported, about 42% of people have been hospitalized; 73 % are in California, where most of the chicken was sold.  Reports indicate that there have been five cases in Texas; three were not hospitalized, and the other two have yet to be investigated by state officials.

There are seven different strains of the Salmonella Heidelberg and all seven are resistant to common antibiotics, which makes it more difficult to treat. Common symptoms of Salmonella Heidelberg are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Most symptoms start to reveal themselves within eight hours to three days after ingestion of contaminated food.