The CDC and public health and regulatory officials in several states investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infections linked to raw chicken products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) monitored the outbreak.
As of February 19, 2019, 129 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis were reported from 32 states.
Illnesses started from January 8, 2018, to January 27, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 105, with a median age of 42. Sixty-nine percent of ill people were female. Of 85 people with information available, 25 (29%) were hospitalized. One death was reported from New York.
The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis has been identified in samples from raw chicken products from 76 slaughter and/or processing establishments, from raw chicken pet food, and from live chickens. Samples collected at slaughter and processing establishments were collected as part of FSIS’s routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. WGS showed that the Salmonella strain from these samples was closely related genetically to the Salmonella from ill people. This result provided more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from handling or eating raw or undercooked chicken.
Available data indicate that this strain of Salmonella Infantis appears to be present in live chickens and in raw chicken products. A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens was not identified.
CDC and USDA-FSIS are actively engaging with representatives from the chicken industry to explore ways to reduce Salmonella Infantis in chicken products. Because investigation results suggest this strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in both live chickens and in raw chicken products, further investigation and interventions to reduce the prevalence of this strain should target both the live chicken industry and chicken processing facilities. Consumers should be aware that raw chicken may be contaminated with harmful germs.
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