• The outbreak has so far affected 17 states
  • Among the 36 cases, 12 have been hospitalized
  • The CDC is urging those at higher risk for severe illness to heat all Italian-style meats 

Authorities are investigating two ongoing Salmonella outbreaks linked to Italian-style meats. In total, 36 people from 17 states have fallen ill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners are looking into two Salmonella outbreaks, the agency said in a media release Tuesday. Interviews with the people who fell ill have so far linked the sources of the illnesses in both outbreaks to Italian-style meats such as prosciutto and salami.

However, authorities are still working to determine specific products or brands possibly linked to the illnesses, as well as whether the two outbreaks are somehow connected with the same products.

Based on the investigation details the CDC posted, the two outbreaks are of two types of Salmonella infections: Salmonella Typhimurium infections and Salmonella Infantis infections.

In the Salmonella Typhimurium infections outbreak, 23 people from 14 states have so far fallen ill, with patients ranging in age from 4 to 91 years old. No deaths have been reported but nine of them have had to be hospitalized. Among the affected people interviewed by officials, 88% consumed Italian-style meats from several brands.

"This percentage was significantly higher than the 40% of respondents who reported eating pepperoni or other Italian-style meats in the FoodNet Population Survey — a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness," the CDC noted. "This comparison suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating Italian-style meats."

On the other hand, the Salmonella Infantis outbreak has so far sickened 13 people from seven states, three of whom have been hospitalized. In this case, 100% of those who were interviewed ate Italian-style meats, also from several brands.

Based on the map for both outbreaks, California logged the most number of people who have fallen ill, reporting seven cases. This is followed by Arizona with five cases, Illinois with four and Ohio with three. Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Washington each reported two cases, while Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin logged one case each.

That said, the CDC clarified that the real number of people who are sick from these outbreaks is "likely much higher" and not just in the states with the known illnesses since many people who get Salmonella simply get better without getting medical care, and thus do not get tested.

"Until we identify which Italian-style meats are making people sick, heat all Italian-style meats to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot before eating if you are at higher risk," the CDC noted. "Italian-style meats include salami, prosciutto, and other meats that can often be found in antipasto or charcuterie assortments."

Those who are at higher risk for a severe case of Salmonella are people who are 65 and older, children younger than 5 years old and those who have certain health conditions or take medications that reduce their "ability to fight germs."

Meats and Cheeses/Italian Style Meats/Salami/Ham/Prosciutto
Representation. Hans Braxmeier/Pixabay