KEY POINTS

  • Unidentified Salmonella Newport outbreak began in late June
  • At least 125 people sick and 24 hospitalized
  • Main source is yet to be identified

At least 125 individuals from 15 different states are sick with an unidentified Salmonella Newport outbreak, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest outbreak information revealed by the nation’s health protection agency:

  • Among 125 infected individuals, 24 of them required hospitalization
  • No deaths have been reported so far
  • No specific food, grocery store or restaurant chain has been identified as the source

More importantly, the CDC isn’t advising the public to avoid eating any particular foods or retailers to stop selling any specific food products. An investigation is underway and it is expected that the CDC will reveal more information as it becomes available.

Public health experts are using PulseNet – a national laboratory network that connects foodborne illness cases to detect outbreaks, to investigate the source behind these unidentified outbreaks.

DNA fingerprinting was also being performed on the salmonella bacteria isolated from infected individuals using whole-genome sequencing methods.

The investigators found that bacteria isolated from infected individuals were closely related genetically. This indicated that they are more likely to share a common source of infection.

Salmonella outbreaks began on dates ranging from June 19, 2020, to July 7, 2020. The infected individuals belonged to the age group 2 to 92 years and 56% of them were female.

Since it takes at least 2 to 4 weeks for illness to get reported, several cases might not be reported yet.

Symptoms of salmonellosis – the illness caused by this pathogen include fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea that might sometimes be bloody. It might take 6 to 72 hours for a person to experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms after being infected.

While most people recover on their own even without the need for medical care, some people, especially those who belong to high-risk groups like pregnant women or the elderly might suffer from dehydration or develop sepsis and might require hospitalization.

Since the source of these outbreaks is yet to be identified, experts recommend that the public follow basic food safety rules such as the following:

  • Clean before you start cooking. Wash your countertops, stovetop, microwave, oven, utensils and cutlery. Wash and rinse foods under cool running water
  • Separate foods like raw meats, poultry, eggs and seafood to prevent cross-contamination. One drop of raw meat juice has millions of harmful bacteria
  • Cook food thoroughly until you reach a safe final temperature
  • Chill/refrigerate perishable foods within two hours of cooking

bacteria-67659_1920 Unidentified Salmonella Newport Outbreak Photo: WikiImages, Pixabay