Investigations into Salmonella outbreaks advancing but no cause found yet

Two Salmonella outbreak investigations that have sickened a total of more than 200 people are picking up steam at the FDA.

One has sickened at least 127 people with Salmonella Oranienburg infections and stretches across 25 states. 

Although the source of the outbreak pathogen remains unknown, an update Sept. 22 from the Food and Drug Administration shows that in addition to ongoing traceback efforts the agency has begun sample collections and testing. The agency did not provide any information about where the samples were collected or whether they came from patients, food or locations where food is produced or sold.

The other outbreak involves Salmonella Thompson and has sickened at least 78 people. The FDA has begun onsite inspections of unnamed locations, according to the update.

The FDA is working with state officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the outbreak investigations.

The table below shows ongoing outbreak investigations being managed by FDA’s CORE Response Teams. The investigations are in a variety of stages. Some outbreaks have limited information with active investigations ongoing, others may be near completion or concluded. The table below has been abbreviated to show only active investigations.

The Food and Drug Administration will issue public health advisories for outbreak investigations that result in “specific, actionable steps for consumers — such as throwing out or avoiding specific foods — to take to protect themselves,” according to the outbreak table page.

Not all recalls and alerts result in an outbreak of foodborne illness. Not all outbreaks result in recalls.

Outbreak investigations that do not result in specific, actionable steps for consumers may or may not conclusively identify a source or reveal any contributing factors, according to CORE’s outbreak table page. If a source(s) and/or contributing factors are identified that could inform future prevention, FDA commits to providing a summary of those findings, according to CORE officials. Click here to visit the FDA page that has a complete list of outbreak investigations and links to outbreak information.

Click on image to enlarge.

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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