The Salmonella Shrimp Outbreak

As of June 25, 2021, six people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Weltevreden have been reported from two states – Arizona and Nevada (see map). Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 26, 2021, to April 25, 2021 (see timeline).

Sick people range in age from 30 to 80 years, with a median age of 56 years, and 66% are female. Of five people with information available, two have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

State and local public health officials interviewed people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the five people interviewed, all reported eating shrimp before getting sick.

Laboratory and Traceback Data

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

This outbreak was first detected by FDA when a sample of Avanti Frozen Foods shrimp collected for testing at import was found to be contaminated with Salmonella Weltevreden. Using the PulseNet system, investigators identified several people that are part of this outbreak by WGS. WGS showed that the Salmonella from the shrimp are closely related to bacteria from sick people.

FDA conducted a traceback investigation using purchase records from locations where four sick people bought shrimp. Based on their purchase locations and dates, FDA identified a common shipment of frozen cooked shrimp; a supplier of this shipment was Avanti Frozen Foods.

WGS of bacteria from four people’s samples did not predict any antibiotic resistance. CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory is currently conducting standard antibiotic susceptibility testing.

Public Health Actions

In March 2021, the shipment of Avanti Frozen Foods shrimp that was found to be contaminated with Salmonella at import was destroyed. Avanti Frozen Foods was added to Import Alert 16-81external icon, which allows FDA to detain products at import without physical examination due to the presence of Salmonella.

On June 25, 2021, Avanti Frozen Foods recalledexternal icon additional lots of frozen cooked shrimp as they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled frozen cooked shrimp supplied by Avanti Frozen Foods.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.