The CDC reports that an outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning has made 388 people sick across 42 states, sending 18 percent of them to the hospital, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to trace the source of the outbreak, which began in September. The Department of Agriculture, state health officials and the Food and Drug Administration are also involved. The CDC said poultry, cheese and eggs are the most common source of this particular strain, known as Salmonella Typhimurium.
The reported incidence of Salmonella illnesses is about 14 cases per each 100,000 persons (MMWR Weekly, 2006), amounting to approximately 30,000 confirmed cases of salmonellosis yearly in the U.S. (CDC, 2005, October 13). In 2005, just over 36,000 cases were reported from public health laboratories across the nation, representing a 12 percent decrease compared with the previous decade, but a 1.5 percent increase over 2004 (CDC, 2007).
As only about 3 percent of Salmonella cases are officially reported nationwide, and many milder cases are never diagnosed, the true incidence is undoubtedly much higher (Mead, 1999). The CDC estimates that 1.4 million cases occur annually (CDC, 2005, October 13). Approximately 600 deaths are caused by Salmonella infections in the U.S. every year, accounting for 31 percent of all food-related deaths (CDC, 2005, October 13; MMWR Weekly, 2001).