The outbreak has so far affected at least 278 people in 17 states, with 42% of those infected requiring hospital treatment. The majority of cases (77%) have been reported in the state of California. Seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been identified and they are all are resistant to several commonly used antimicrobial drugs, which may be linked with the high rate of hospitalisation.
The outbreak investigation has established an epidemiological link with Foster Farms brand chicken products produced at three facilities in California. Microbiological testing has detected one of the outbreak strains from a sample of Foster Farms raw chicken from the home of one of the people affected. Four of the seven strains have also been isolated from multiple chicken products sampled at Foster Farms three processing facilities. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a Public Health Alert in response to the outbreak, but no recall has been initiated.
CDC has reportedly recalled about 30 staff who were laid off as a result of the current US government shutdown to help manage the outbreak, but insists that this has not affected the effectiveness of the investigation.
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