Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

187 Ill in 39 States Due to Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo Infections – Other Salmonella Strains Likely

According to the CDC, a total of 187 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo have been reported from 39 states since July 1, 2009. The number of ill persons identified in each state with this strain is as follows:

AL (2), AZ (5), CA (30), CO (3), CT (4), DE (2), FL (2), GA (3), IA (1), IL (11), IN (3), KS (3), LA (1), MA (12), MD (1), ME (1), MI (1), MN (4), MO (1), NC (9), ND (1), NE (1), NH (1), NJ (7), NY (15), OH (9), OK (1), OR (8), PA (3), RI (2), SC (1), SD (3), TN (4), TX (7), UT (7), VA (1), WA (14), WV (1), and WY (2). Because this is a commonly occurring strain, public health investigators may determine that some of the illnesses are not part of this outbreak.

Among the persons with reported dates available, illnesses began between July 2, 2009 and January 7, 2010. Infected individuals range in age from <1 year old to 88 years old and the median age is 36 years. Fifty-two percent of patients are male. Among the 133 patients with available information, 37 (28%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

During January 16-21, 2010, CDC and public health officials in multiple states conducted an epidemiologic study by comparing foods eaten by 39 ill and 39 well persons. Preliminary analysis of this study has suggested salami as a possible source of illness. Ill persons (51 percent) were significantly more likely than well persons (15 percent) to report eating salami. Additionally, 11 ill persons have been identified who purchased the same type of sliced salami variety pack at different grocery store locations before becoming ill. These data suggest this product may be the source of some of these illnesses. This sliced salami variety pack was recently recalled by Daniele International Inc. On January 23, 2010, FSIS issued a notice that Daniele International Inc. is recalling approximately 1,240,000 pounds of ready-to-eat varieties of Italian sausage products (including salame/salami) in commerce and potentially available to customers in retail locations because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

This recall followed isolation of Salmonella in a private laboratory from a retail sample of a salami product produced by Daniele International. FSIS reviewed and affirmed these private laboratory results. This Salmonella strain is different from the strains causing the outbreak. In addition, this product was different than the sliced salami variety pack purchased at different grocery store locations by the 11 ill persons. CDC and its public health partners are continuing the epidemiological investigation to verify that the outbreak is controlled, and to identify the specific products or ingredients that became contaminated and how the contamination occurred, and to identify any other food vehicles that may be involved. It is possible that more than one food product may be causing illnesses. The investigation is on-going.