An outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella has been linked to raw chicken and has made at least 92 people across 29 states of the U.S. sick. The outbreak started in January and has been linked to raw chicken products as well as live chickens.
According to CNN, this strain of salmonella is multidrug-resistant, including antibiotics, the drug commonly used to help alleviate symptoms of salmonella infection.
Ninety-two people have contracted salmonella from January through to September and come from 29 states. CNN lists the following states involved: California, Washington, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maine.
Symptoms from this strain of salmonella have included “stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea and fever 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria.” While a large number of people have become sick, most usually recover within four to seven days without the assistance of antibiotics and no one has died from this particular strain yet. However, NBC News points out that 21 people have been sick enough to be hospitalized during the outbreak.
It is unclear as to the source of the outbreak. However, it is known that a variety of raw chicken products have been identified. Pet food, chicken pieces, ground pieces, and whole chickens have all been linked to this strain of drug-resistant salmonella.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a statement in regard to the salmonella outbreak.
“The outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry. A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified.”
Since no definitive source of the outbreak has been located, the CDC advises that people cook their chicken thoroughly to avoid contracting salmonella.
“Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken products, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products. General ways you can prevent salmonella infection include good handwashing and cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F.”
CNN also suggests people avoid washing chicken when processing it for consumption as this can spread contamination to other surfaces. It is also recommended that people use a chopping board specifically designated for chicken. In addition, it is advised that animals are not fed raw chicken as handling can lead to infection in humans as well as potentially making animals sick in the process.
As for those that keep chickens as pets, it is advised that you refrain from becoming too friendly with your pets as excessive cuddling and handling can also help spread salmonella from infected chickens to humans.