Recent cases of Salmonella infection are being linked to the consumption of Papa Murphy’s cookie dough, Oregon and Washington health officials announced today.
It is unclear if the Oregon and Washington cases are linked to an earlier reported outbreak.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) epidemiologists investigated a cluster of four cases with identical strains of Salmonella bacteria. The cases range in age from 20 to 57 and reported onset of symptoms between April 1 and April 21. None of the cases were hospitalized, and there have been no deaths.
Washington currently has six cases (15-54 years old) from six counties: Clark (1), King (1), Lincoln (1), Pierce (1), Spokane (1), Whatcom (1). One person has been hospitalized. The investigation is ongoing, however, four of six people so far report eating raw take and bake cookie dough products from Papa Murphy’s. This raw cookie dough is meant to be cooked before eating.
To date, it is unknown yet which ingredient within the cookie dough is the source of the contamination.
Eating raw cookie or S’mores Bar dough sold by Papa Murphy’s restaurants was significantly associated with contracting this strain of Salmonella. Papa Murphy’s, headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., sells uncooked or “take-and-bake” pizzas and cookie dough that are intended to be baked at home.
“People should contact a health care provider if they believe they’ve had symptoms of salmonellosis, including diarrhea, after eating raw cookie dough,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the OHA Public Health Division. “It’s important to remember, though, that most people with salmonellosis will recover without needing medical care or antibiotics.”
He added: “We recommend anyone who has any of the potentially contaminated cookie or S’mores Bar dough to discard it and wash your hands afterward.” People who have eaten cookie or pizza dough but not gotten sick do not need to notify a health care provider.
OHA epidemiologists are working closely with the Washington State Department of Health, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the outbreak. Efforts to trace the source of the Salmonella are ongoing.
During 2013–2022 — the most recent 10-year period — Oregon averaged 459 (range, 337–585) reported cases of salmonellosis per year. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps one to seven days after exposure. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.
Although most people recover without treatment, some have severe infections. Infants, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and, in rare cases, can be deadly.
According to the CDC, as of May 1, 2023, 13 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 12 states – including Oregon. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 6, 2022, to March 1, 2023.
Public health officials collect many different types of information from sick people, including their age, race, ethnicity, other demographics, and the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. This information provides clues to help investigators identify the source of the outbreak.
Sick people range in age from 12 to 81 years, with a median age of 64, and 92% are female. Of 10 people with race or ethnicity information available, nine are White, one is Asian, and no one reported Hispanic ethnicity. Of 13 people with information available, three have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the eight people interviewed, seven (88%) reported eating raw dough or batter. Of six sick people with brand information, all six (100%) reported buying Gold Medal brand flour. The only brand reported was Gold Medal.
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