Oklahoma Salmonella Outbreak Under Investigation

A potential multi-state outbreak of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella has health officials in Oklahoma working to find the cause of illnesses that have stricken young children and adults, said the LA Times. The officials believe that the outbreak in their state could be linked to other, similar outbreaks in at least two states: Iowa and Nebraska, added the LA Times.

Three counties and four elementary schools have seen 16 cases of Salmonella Java, said Leslea Bennett-Webb, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Health, wrote the LA Times. One adult required hospitalization; there have been no deaths, added the LA Times.

Salmonella Java can lead to “bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting,” according to the LA Times. “We don’t know yet … what is the vehicle. That is something we’re still trying to study,” said Bennett-Webb, quoted the LA Times. “We are beginning to think we might have something a little different than our usual Salmonella outbreaks. It really is a puzzle,” Bennett-Webb added, noting that similar cases have been seen in other areas throughout Oklahoma.

Of note, some 2,000 people reported falling ill from Salmonella poisoning in the United States, just from May to July, which is three times what is typical for the time frame, said the LA Times.

In general, healthy persons infected with Salmonella poisoning—Salmonellosis—often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditic, and arthritis.

Salmonella can also lead to serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

We recently wrote that The Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), using its recently released tool for calculating the cost of food borne illnesses, estimated that food borne illness cases including Salmonella cost the nation about $3.13 billion a year.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimated that Salmonella infections, from all sources, cost about $2.65 billion annually, based on an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 1.4 million Salmonella cases annually from all sources. This includes 415 deaths. The estimated average cost per case is $1,896.

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