CDC is collaborating with public health, veterinary, and agriculture officials in many states and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to investigate four multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of these outbreaks. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA “fingerprinting” is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using a technique called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE. PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. A total of nine DNA fingerprints (outbreak strains) are included in these four outbreak investigations.
In the four outbreaks, a total of 181 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 40 states as of June 29, 2015. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (17), Arizona (3), Arkansas (4), California (3), Colorado (2), Delaware (2), Georgia (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (2), Maine (2), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (3), Minnesota (6), Mississippi (13), Missouri (1), Montana (3), Nevada (2), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (2), New York (6), North Carolina (3), Ohio (15), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (12), South Carolina (10), South Dakota (2), Tennessee (6), Texas (5), Utah (4), Vermont (2), Virginia (11), Washington (6), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (1), and Wyoming (4).
These outbreaks can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after June 1, 2015, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill; 82 (86%) of the 95 ill people interviewed reported contact with live poultry (e.g., chicks, chickens, ducks, ducklings) before becoming ill. Sixty-four ill people who had purchase records available reported purchasing live baby poultry from 17 different feed supply stores and hatcheries in multiple states. Ill people reported purchasing live poultry for backyard flocks to produce eggs or meat, or to keep as pets. Many ill people in these outbreaks reported bringing the live poultry into their homes, and others reported kissing or cuddling with the live poultry. These behaviors increase a person’s risk of a Salmonella infection.
Preliminary findings of multiple traceback investigations of live baby poultry from homes of ill people have identified multiple hatcheries as the source of chicks and ducklings. These investigations are ongoing.
The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) is a U.S. public health surveillance system that tracks antibiotic resistance in foodborne and other enteric bacteria found in people, raw meat and poultry, and food-producing animals. NARMS is a partnership among the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state and local health departments.
The NARMS human surveillance program at CDC monitors antibiotic resistance in Salmonella and other bacteria isolated from clinical specimens submitted to NARMS by public health laboratories. CDC’s NARMS laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on clinical isolates collected from seven ill people infected with one of the outbreak strains; all seven isolates were susceptible to all antibiotics tested on the NARMS panel. CDC’s NARMS laboratory continues to conduct antibiotic resistance testing on additional clinical isolates collected from ill persons infected with the outbreak strains. Results will be reported when they become available.
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