Half U.S. salmonella victims children,
Source of Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE50Q6R920090127
Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:29pm EST
Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Children are half of the 500
people made sick in an outbreak of salmonella linked to peanut butter across
the United States,
federal health officials said on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention said more than 280 of those diagnosed with Salmonella Typhimurium are under age 18. State health officials say
some are infants.
However, none of the eight deaths possibly linked to
the outbreak are children, said CDC spokesman David Daigle, who said such
outbreaks usually affect old people more than the young.
"It is higher than usual, but all depends on
the vehicle of the outbreak," Daigle said by email.
The outbreak has been traced to peanut butter and
other products from a single plant in Georgia,
now closed, operated by the Peanut Corporation of America.
"Note, there are many peanut-free schools these
days because of peanut allergy issues," Daigle said.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration say the
plant's products were not sold at retail, but in industrial-sized cans of
peanut butter used by schools and other institutions, and in peanut paste
used industrially to make snacks, pet treats and other foods.
On Monday the CDC said the outbreak appears to be
waning. It has forced the recall of more than 180 products, from crackers and
cookies to treats made by coffee giant Starbucks, General Mills Inc, Kellogg
Co and others.
The outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium
appears to have begun in September, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration say. Salmonella causes diarrhea, vomiting and fever. While it
usually clears up without treatment, it can kill the old, very young and
patients with other serious illnesses.
The CDC and FDA have been under pressure from
politicians and consumer groups to do more to protect the food supply. The
CDC estimates that 40,000 Americans a year get salmonella.
Caroline Smith DeWall, a
director of food safety at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public
Interest, said this latest outbreak "should create the incentive for
Congress to act quickly to address the nation's food safety problems."
"There is a broad, bipartisan consensus ...
that has earned the support of consumer and industry groups," agreed
Scott Faber of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. (Additional reporting
by Christopher Doering in Washington, editing by Alan Elsner)