frog web-400px.jpgThis nationwide outbreak is ongoing. As of July 18, 2011, a total of 241 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 42 states since April 1, 2009. These infections are associated with African dwarf frogs–a type of water frog–and water from their habitats (e.g., tanks or aquariums). The number of ill person identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (5), Alabama (2), Arizona (10), California (21), Colorado (12), Connecticut (3), Florida (1), Georgia (4), Idaho (5), Illinois (10), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (7), Maryland (5), Michigan (6), Minnesota (1), Missouri (5), Mississippi (1), Montana (2), North Carolina (1), Nebraska (2), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (5), New Mexico (2), Nevada (4), New York (8), Ohio (7), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (17), Rhode Island (1), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (4), Texas (5), Utah (19), Virginia (11), Vermont (1), Washington (24), Wisconsin (4) and West Virginia (1).

Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began April 9, 2009. Infected individuals range in age from less than 1 year old to 76 years old. Sixty-nine percent of patients are younger than 10 years, and the median age is 5 years old. Fifty-two percent of patients are female. Among ill persons, 30% were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic, traceback and laboratory findings between 2009 and 2011 link this ongoing nationwide outbreak of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections to a single African dwarf frog breeding facility in Madera County, California, Blue Lobster Farms. The owner of Blue Lobster Farms voluntarily stopped shipping African dwarf frogs in late April but resumed shipping the frogs in early June. These frogs may be found in pet stores, educational stores, toy stores, fairs, carnivals, from online retailers and other venues.

Public health officials with the Madera County Department of Environmental Health are currently working with the owner of Blue Lobster Farms to conduct interventions and ongoing testing and monitoring of the frog breeding facility. At this time, the effectiveness of these interventions is unknown, and reports of ill persons infected with the outbreak strain are continuing.

CDC is warning parents that children under 5 years old are at high risk for serious Salmonella infections and should avoid contact with water frogs, their water and their habitats (e.g. tanks or aquariums). Others who are at high risk and who should avoid contact with water frogs, their water and their habitats include: pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems, such as cancer patients, and those undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplants.