Yesterday, the CDC updated the case count in the Salmonella outbreak linked to recalled salami from Daniele Inc., red pepper from Wholesome Spice, and likely black pepper as well.  A total of 245 people are now counted by the CDC as cases in this outbreak, coming from 44 states and the District of Columbia.  But this is not the whole story.  The 245 figure does not include any Salmonella senftenberg illnesses, another strain of salmonella that we have long known has been causing illnesses in this outbreak. 

As for the Salmonella montevideo illnesses in this outbreak, as stated, there are 245 of them.  The distribution nationally is as follows:  AK (2), AL (2), AZ (7), CA (30), CO (5), CT (5), DC (1), DE (3), FL (3), GA (3), IA (1), ID (4), IL (19), IN (4), KS (5), LA (1), MA (14), MD (1), ME (1), MI (4), MN (6), MO (2), MS (1), NC (11), ND (1), NE (3), NH (2), NJ (9), NM (2), NY (18), OH (9), OK (1), OR (9), PA (7), RI (2), SC (1), SD (3), TN (5), TX (7), UT (9), VA (1), WA (17), WI (1), WV (1), and WY (2).

But what about Senftenberg?  The CDC says:

Salmonella Senftenberg, a different serotype of Salmonella, has been found in food samples from retail and a patient household during this outbreak investigation. PulseNet identified 6 persons who had illness caused by Salmonella Senftenberg with matching PFGE patterns between July 1, 2009 and today. Public health officials have interviewed 5 of the 6 ill persons with this strain of Salmonella Senftenberg and determined that two purchased a recalled salami product during the week before their illness began. These six cases are not included in the overall case count reported above.

One of the positive salami samples was from Lee Hanks, our client from Missouri whose salami twas truly a ticking time bomb, testing positive for both strains of Salmonella .  Lee tested positive for Salmonella Montevideo, so he is most likely included in the CDC’s case count, but why are these 6 Senftenberg illnesses not included in the CDC’s official case count?  Two of the 6 had purchased recalled Daniele salami in the week before their illnesses, but what about the other four?  Does the CDC suspect that the contaminated pepper is in other products, and that these Senftenberg illnesses may in fact be associated with the same contaminated pepper, just from another food product? 

Notably, the two potential suppliers of black pepper to Daniele (at least the two that are publicly known) have not recalled black pepper, despite an announcement by the Rhode Island Department of Health that a sample of the black pepper had tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo.  But, two days ago, Heartland Foods, Inc. an Indiana company, did recall black pepper.  Still many unanswered questions in this outbreak.