Salmonella outbreak: No source confirmed

April 4, 2012 at 8:17 PM
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ATLANTA, April 4 (UPI) -- At least 93 people became sick with a strain of salmonella Bareilly in 19 states and the District of Columbia since January, U.S. health officials said.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said they were working with the Food and Drug Administration and public health officials in several states but the investigation had not conclusively identified a food source.

At least 23 people have been identified as sickened with the bacteria in New York state. Eight cases have been reported in Illinois, Maryland and Wisconsin, six in New Jersey and five in Virginia, the CDC said.

There were four cases each in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island; three each in South Carolina and Texas; two each in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania; and one each in Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri.

"Ten people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported," a statement by the CDC said. "Initial interviews indicate, many of the persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill."

Salmonella Bareilly is an unusual serotype of salmonella and state public health officials have been interviewing ill people to obtain information regarding foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week prior to illness, CDC officials said.

"If a specific food source is identified for this outbreak, public health officials will alert the public and take further steps to prevent additional illnesses," the CDC said.

Most infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most recover without treatment -- although some might need to be hospitalized, and if it spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream it can cause death unless promptly treated with antibiotics, health officials said.

Older adults, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to have a severe illness from salmonella infection, the CDC said.

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