15-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Ohio Hatchery

Ohio health officials are reporting that 8 people who have fallen ill in that state are a part of an expanding <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella outbreak that has sickened people in 15 states, said Reuters.

The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of agriculture said this new Salmonella outbreak is likely linked to Mt. Healthy Hatchery, an Ohio-based firm that supplies chicks and ducklings to a nationwide agricultural feed store, said Reuters; the feed store was not named. Both Mt. Healthy Hatchery and the unnamed business are collaborating with investigators at the state and federal level to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak, according to officials in Ohio, said Reuters.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 31 people—in addition to the 8 in Ohio—have also fallen ill with Salmonella poisoning as a result of this outbreak, said Reuters. The states involved, to date, are: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

According to Reuters, CDC estimates indicate that 1 in 6 people in the US is sickened by contaminated food annually, with foodborne illness blamed for approximately 3,000 deaths every year; that Salmonella infection is the most prevalent foodborne illness in the US; that the US has made no progress in reducing Salmonella outbreaks in the past 15 years; and that, in 2010, Salmonella poisoning resulted in 2,300 hospitalizations and 29 deaths.

Contamination with the Salmonella pathogen can cause salmonellosis, which can lead to serious consequences, most especially in the elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems, who may experience a more serious illness and symptoms. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Salmonella is dangerous and sometimes deadly; in some cases the strains are drug resistant. As a matter-of-fact, food safety watchdog group, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) just announced that it filed a regulatory petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deem four antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strains as adulterants in certain meats, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP). The four strains involved are: Salmonella Heidelberg, Newport, Hadar, and Typhimurium. All have been linked with foodborne illness outbreaks, CIDRAP added.

When pathogens, such as the foodborne bacteria, Salmonella, become resistant to antibiotic treatment, treatment options are minimized, treatment becomes significantly more difficult, and patients cannot always be brought back to their presickness state.

The CDC notes that people suffering from salmonellosis usually experience symptoms beginning 12 to 72 hours after becoming contaminated. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and usually last 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without antibiotic treatment; however, diarrhea can be very severe, and hospitalization may be required.

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