Turkey-linked Salmonella outbreak total climbs to 164

A multidrug-resistant Salmonella Reading outbreak linked to raw turkey products has sickened 74 more people from 26 states, with one fatal illness reported, the first, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

In its update on the outbreak, first announced in the middle of July, the CDC said the illness total is now 164 in 35 states. States with more than 10 cases are California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Texas.

So far 63 people have been hospitalized, and the fatal infection involves a person from California. Illness-onset dates range from Nov 20, 2017, to Oct 20, 2018. Patient ages range from younger than 1 year to 91, and 56% of the patients are female.

Interviews with sick patients suggest that raw turkey products, including ground turkey, turkey pieces, and whole turkey, from a variety of sources are connected to the outbreak. Three patients are from households in which raw turkey pet food was given to pets.

The CDC said testing has identified the outbreak strain in raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products collected from patients' homes, and live turkeys. The outbreak strain was also found in samples from raw turkey products from 22 slaughter and 7 processing facilities.

A single common supplier, however, has not been identified. The CDC said that, given that the outbreak strain is present in live turkeys and many types of raw turkey products, it may be widespread in the turkey industry. Federal health officials have shared the findings with professionals in the turkey industry and asked about steps they could take to reduce Salmonella contamination.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has found that those samples are closely related to the strain from sick people.

Resistance found in 152 isolates

WGS didn't identify predicted resistance in 116 isolates from 53 sick people and 63 food and animal samples.

But 68 isolates from patients and 84 from food, animal, and environmental samples had genes for resistance to all or some of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, kanamycin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, and fosfomycin.

Standard antibiotic susceptibility testing on five isolates confirmed the results. "Most of the infections in this outbreak are susceptible to the antibiotics that are commonly used for treatment, so this resistance likely will not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people," the CDC added.

See also:

Nov 8 CDC outbreak update

Jul 19 CIDRAP News story "Multidrug-resistant raw turkey Salmonella outbreak: 90 ill in 26 states"

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