The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it is continuing to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infection linked to Foster Farms brand chicken.
The outbreak began in March 2013 and has now affected at least 574 people from 27 states, with a further 50 cases being reported since the last update on 9 April. CDC says that it is receiving an average of eight new reports every week. Most of the reported cases (77%) are from California. A high proportion (37%) of the cases have required hospital treatment and 13% have developed blood infections. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics and the CDC update states that such multidrug-resistance may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation.
A combination of epidemiological, microbiological and traceback investigations have established that consumption of Foster farms brand chicken is the likely source of the outbreak. Both CDC and the USDA have advised consumers that the presence of Salmonella on raw poultry is not uncommon and they should follow good hygiene practice to avoid infection. No recalls have been initiated, other than for cooked rotisserie chicken thought to have been cross-contaminated during preparation in stores.
More information about the investigation can be found on the CDC web site here.