CDC: Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health and regulatory officials announced Thursday afternoon they are currently investigating a Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products.

Ninety people in 26 states have been affected, with two cases reported in Ohio. Forty people have been hospitalized.

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According to the CDC, raw turkey products from a variety of sources have been contaminated with salmonella. A single supplier of the products has not been identified. The CDC will update consumers if a supplier or type of raw turkey product is linked to the illness.

In interviews conducted with affected parties, different types and brands of products were consumed and purchased from different locations. Two people interviewed said raw turkey pet food was given to pets.

The CDC reports the outbreak is linked to live turkeys in addition to raw products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry.

Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, sometimes so severe that hospitalization is required, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to seven days with most people recovering without treatment.

The infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. In rare cases, the infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

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Children younger than five years of age, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a more severe reaction to the illness.

The CDC and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service notified representatives in the industry and advise the following when handling raw turkey:

  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Do not spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
  • The CDC does not recommend feeding raw products to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family can also get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

For more information, visit the CDC Salmonella website.

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