Oregon and Washington state public health authorities issued a statement reporting a recent upper west coast salmonella outbreak was likely from poultry produced by privately owned Foster Farms. Foster Farms is a West Coast poultry producer with plants in Oregon, Washington, California, and Alabama.
No deaths have been declared, but 124 people in 12 states have been sickened from the exposure over the last eight months, beginning back on June 4, 2012, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The majority of those afflicted have been in Washington and Oregon. Nearly 80 percent of victims noted eating chicken shortly before becoming ill, usually within a week. Thirty-two percent required hospitalization for Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is conducting an epidemiological investigation to further determine the specific source of infection. No recalls have been announced.
Consumers are still urged to practice safety when handling and cooking any type of raw meat, avoiding cross-contamination and undercooking.
Salmonella has an incubation period of one to three days but can take longer before symptoms physically manifest. Salmonella infections occur primarily from ingesting contaminated food.
Infected people develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal discomfort within 12 to 72 hours. After onset, the illness can last up to seven days.
People who are not immunosuppressed from other diseases likely recover without treatment. Severe pain and dehydration from diarrhea or a comorbidity of chronic illness may require hospitalization.
A specific outbreak can be traced by the “DNA fingerprint” or identifiably unique gene markers found in the bacteria.
[Image via Wikicommons]