CDC steps up efforts to find salmonella source

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Updated 1h 10m ago |



By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

A single strain of salmonella has sickened 388 people in 42 states, sending some to the hospital, over the past three months. There's only one problem so far no one's been able to figure out what's causing it.

The outbreak led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase its efforts to find the source this week, pulling in staff from other areas to work on the situation, says Frederick Angulo, deputy chief of enteric diseases.

ON THE WEB: CDC info on salmonella

The bacteria is called salmonella Typhimurium. Each case has been laboratory matched by DNA fingerprint, Angulo says.

Salmonellosis, the illness caused by infection with the salmonella bacteria, can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps from 12 to 72 hours after infection. It usually lasts four to seven days.

While most people recover without treatment, in some the diarrhea is so severe they require hospitalization. The disease can be life threatening to the very young, the very old and those with impaired immune systems.

The best protection against salmonella is careful handling of raw meat, frequent hand washing and not eating raw or undercooked meat, CDC says.

Thorough cooking kills the bacteria.

Salmonella lives in the intestinal tract of many animals and is generally transmitted by eating food contaminated by feces from an infected animal. Contaminated foods are often beef, poultry, milk and eggs, but the CDC says any foods, including vegetables, can become contaminated if they come into contact with feces from an infected animal.


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