19-State Salmonella Outbreak May Be Tied To Sushi

A multi-state Salmonella outbreak may be tied to sushi. The outbreak has sickened at least 90 people in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Government officials are investigating the outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly that has caused seven hospitalizations, said MSNBC. Those sickened are mostly located on the eastern seaboard and the Gulf Coast; however, cases have cropped up in Missouri and Texas, according to an internal U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) memo. To date, said MSNBC, no deaths have been reported in connection to the outbreak.

FDA spokesman, Curtis Allen, initially confirmed the memo’s contents to MSNBC, noting that the memo was inadvertently sent to everyone at the agency. Most recently, the agency said that the exact numbers involved in the outbreak cannot be confirmed and that it and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collaborating to locate the cause and magnitude of the outbreak.

According to the FDA email, spicy tuna roll sushi is considered “highly suspect”; however, Allen stressed that this is only an initial speculation. The FDA memo also indicated that the federal agencies are looking at six so-called restaurant clusters located in Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Connecticut, wrote MSNBC. The CDC has not released information as to which states have been impacted, said CNN.

The first case was reported January 28 and the most recent case was reported this week. “CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella serotype Bareilly infections,” CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell said in a statement to CNN.

State public health officials are interviewing those who were sickened. Russell told CNN that, so far, “on initial interviews, many of the ill persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill.” Because no product or facility has been confirmed as the culprit in this outbreak, consumers are not being told to avoid any particular food or restaurant, said the CDC, but once a food is identified, the public will be advices, said a CDC statement.

Salmonella Bareilly is an unusual strain of Salmonella sometimes linked to bean sprouts.

Generally, the most common symptoms of Salmonella poisoning—salmonellosis—are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, with symptoms manifesting, usually, within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The illness usually lasts four to seven days; however, in some, the organism can invade the bloodstream, becoming so severe that hospitalization is required. Sometimes, infection with the Salmonella pathogen can result in, and produce more severe or chronic illnesses.

Salmonella can be dangerous, sometimes deadly, leaving sufferers with serious life-long health issues. Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses, can be especially life threatening to those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy.

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