Illnesses in the sushi Salmonella outbreak have reached 316, according to current government figures.
The number is likely an underestimate, notes MSNBC. Food safety officials point out that for every Salmonella infection reported, some 29.3 are never reported. Using that multiplier, said MSNBC, the number ofpeople actually sickened in the United States as a result of the contaminated tuna is closer to 9,575.
The illnesses, linked to tuna and involving the rare strains of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga, have been reported in 26 states and the District of Columbia, said MSNBC. Of those reportedly sickened, 304 have been diagnosed with Salmonella Bareilly while 12 have been sickened with Salmonella Nchanga, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There have been no reported deaths; however, 37 people have required hospitalization, to date.
Reports of illness are expected to increase and illnesses that took place after April 17 might not have yet been reported due to the timing of individual llnesses and reporting to health officials, said MSNBC.
Agency investigators say the likeliest culprit in this outbreak is Nakaochi Scrape, frozen raw yellow fin tuna, manufactured by Moon Marine USA Corporation. Government laboratories isolated Salmonella from 96% of samples derived from intact yellow fin tuna scrape produced by Moon Marine, said MSNBC.
The outbreak initially prompted a recall of 30 tons (58,828 pounds) of raw, frozen tuna that originated in India and originally distributed by Moon Marine USA Corporation, also known as (AKA) MMI of Cupertino, California. Labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA Nakaochi Scrape, the product is tuna backmeat scraped from the bones and looks like a ground product.
The recall is complex because Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga are rare strains of the pathogen and, the recalled Nakaochi Scrape, although not available for individual consumer sale, is used in the making of sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and other similar dishes that are purchased from grocery stores or ordered at restaurants.
Because of the vast distribution chain and that the fish is delivered frozen, it is difficult to determine to where the fish may have ultimately been delivered and if all recipients are aware that they are in possession of the contaminated Nakaochi Scrape.
To date, two women have filed a lawsuit against Moon Marine. Both are from Wisconsin—ages 22 and 33—and both were hospitalized due to a bout of Salmonellosis they contracted six-to-nine weeks prior, said MSNBC previously. The women dined separately, but at the same restaurant. Both consumed tuna rolls originally sold by Moon Marine.