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Wednesday, January 7, 2009


An outbreak of SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING has made 388 people sick across 42 states, sending 18 percent of them to the hospital, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.

A multi-state investigation is underway to determine the source of a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that has been reported in 42 states. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to trace the source of the SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING outbreak, which began in September. The Department of Agriculture, state health officials and the Food and Drug Administration are also involved.

No potential source or food has been identified as the cause, says Lola Russell, spokeswoman with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is investigating along with the Food & Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various state health departments.

The CDC began its multi-state investigation in November 2008. So far, 388 people have been sickened and 18 percent of them have been hospitalized. No deaths have been linked to the outbreaks.

While no source has been identified, previous cases of S. Typhimurium have been linked to contaminated raw milk, cheese, poultry, produce and the handling of small turtles. The CDC said poultry, cheese and eggs are the most common source of this particular strain of SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING, known as Salmonella typhimurium.

"It is often difficult to identify sources of foodborne outbreaks. People may not remember the foods they recently ate and may not be aware of all of the ingredients in food. That's what makes these types of investigations very difficult," said CDC spokesman David Daigle.

Daigle did not specify how many people were hospitalized due to SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING, but the percentage he gave puts that figure at about 70.

"Because foods of animal origin may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Persons also should not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products. Produce should be thoroughly washed," he said.

Only Ohio state health officials have agreed to have their state named as one of those affected, with an estimated 50 cases of SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING. The ODH says its cases match each other by their DNA fingerprint, and thus appear to have a common origin.

Every year, approximately 40,000 people are reported ill with SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING in the United States, the CDC says, but it said many more cases are never reported.

There have been several recent high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States, including a strain of SALMONELLA FOOD POISONING carried by peppers from Mexico and that sickened 1,400 people from April to August of 2007 and an E. coli epidemic in 2006, traced to California spinach, that killed three.

Salmonella-contaminated dry pet food sickened at least 79 people, including many young children, in October and November.

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