Nearly 300 people have fallen ill from a Salmonella outbreak affecting at least 18 states. The infections have been linked to chicken produced by several Foster Farms sites in California and have hospitalized 42% of people who have contracted the disease, according to health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has been operating with a reduced staff due to the recent government shutdown, also announced that this particular strain of Salmonella is resistant to multiple commonly prescribed antibiotics. The CDC has recalled 30 furloughed employees to work as a result of the outbreak.
Seventy-seven percent of people infected so far have been in California, and the majority of other cases are in Western states. Thus far, no deaths have been reported. It appears the outbreak began in March, was reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in July and is still ongoing. Health officials released a public health alert this week.
The source of the infections was not known until recently, and the USDA still has not identified the specific product or production period affected. Affected products likely say “P6137,” “PG137A” or “P7632” somewhere on the package.
Thus far, there has not been a recall placed on any Foster Farms products. A spokesman for the company attributed the illnesses to undercooked or improperly handled chicken. Salmonella bacteria are commonly found on raw chicken and can be killed during the cooking process.
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