May 28, 2014 — Antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella linked to raw chicken from Foster Farms have infected another 50 people, bringing the total number of food poisonings to 574 in 27 states over the last year.
While it is not unusual for raw poultry to have Salmonella, it is uncommon to have multidrug-resistant Salmonella. The strain is resistant to several commonly-prescribed antibiotics — ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline.
While these antibiotics are not used to treat Salmonella bloodstream infections, antibiotic-resistance is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization in infected individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published an update on new cases as of May 22:
“Among 478 persons with available information, 178 (37%) reported being hospitalized. Thirteen percent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness. Typically, approximately 5% of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections. No deaths have been reported.”
A total of 50 new illnesses were reported in 8 states since April 9, 2014. Illnesses occurred in Arizona (1), California (42), Georgia (1), Montana (1), Nevada (1), Oregon (1), Texas (1), and Utah (1). Over 77% of the illnesses have been reported in California, where Foster Farms has major production facilities.
The outbreak has been traced to a plant in Livingston, California and two others in Fresno. In October last year, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) threatened to close all three Foster Farms facilities in California, but relented when the company promised to implement new food-safety controls.
In January 2014, the USDA suspended operations at the Livingston facility after finding “egregious” unsanitary conditions, including an infestation of live cockroaches. According to the suspension letter, it was the fifth time inspectors had found cockroaches at the plant since August.
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