Drug-Resistant Salmonella Confirmed in Latest Cargill Ground Turkey Recall

Salmonella in a sample of Cargill ground turkey turns out to have been Salmonella Heidelberg, a strain that is resistant to four different antibiotics. According to a Bloomberg News report, the sample tested was behind Cargill’s most recent turkey recall, which it issued earlier this month.

That ground turkey recall, which involved 185,000 lbs of product, was the second Cargill had issued in as many months. In August, the company recalled more than 37 million lbs of ground turkey products after it was tied to a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg. Like the most recent recall, those turkey products were processed at the company’s Springdale, Arkansas facility.

The Salmonella outbreak linked to Cargill ground turkey products sickened 119 people in 32 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent figures. Among the 78 ill persons with available information, 31 (40%) have been hospitalized. One death has been reported, the CDC said.

The CDC is still advising consumers to check their homes for recalled ground turkey products, as they should not be eaten. Cargill requests that consumers who may have purchased any recalled ground turkey products return them to the point-of-purchase.

Most people infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. In most cases, victims recover within 4 to 7 days without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

As we’ve reported previously, Salmonella Heidelberg is a drug resistant strain known to be resistant to four popular antibiotics: ampicillin, gentamicin, tetracycline and streptomycin. 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.

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