Nationwide Salmonella outbreak reaches 425 cases

Mar 9, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Federal officials tracking a large Salmonella outbreak linked to certain peanut butter brands announced that the number of sickened patients has grown by 55 to a total of 425 cases in 44 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a press release this week.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter produced after December 2005 or any Great Value brand peanut butter produced after the same date with a product code on the lid that begins with 2111. Both products are made at the same ConAgra plant in Sylvester, Ga., where investigators recently tested samples and found the same Salmonella enterica strain linked to the outbreak.

The company voluntarily recalled its products on Feb 14, and recently expanded the recall to include three peanut butter dessert topping brands that were made from bulk Peter Pan peanut butter supplied by the ConAgra plant.

Two closely related DNA fingerprints of S enterica serovar Tennessee have been associated with the outbreak, and the organism has been found in 15 jars of peanut butter, the CDC said.

S enterica typically causes fever and nonbloody diarrhea that resolves in a week. Of 351 patients for whom clinical information is available, 71 (20%) have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Illness onset dates, known for 301 patients, ranged from Aug 1, 2006, to Feb 16, 2007, according to the CDC. Sixty-seven percent of the illnesses began after Dec 1.

Salmonella outbreaks involving peanut butter are rare. Documented episodes include a 1996 Australian outbreak that sickened 15 people and a 1994-95 outbreak in Israel and Wales that was traced to contaminated peanut butter–coated snacks and affected about 2,200 people, mostly children.

See also:

Mar 7 CDC press release

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