The New Mexico Department of Health is investigating 19 salmonella cases across the state since May 8. Several patients have been hospitalized with severe symptoms, but no deaths have been reported. Health officials are interviewing patients to determine how they may have contracted the illness. The patients live in McKinley, San Juan, Dona Ana, Curry, Socorro and Bernalillo counties, ranging in age from 2 to 82.
Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States. Salmonellosis (the disease caused by Salmonella) is the second most common foodborne illness after Campylobacter infection. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur each year in the U.S.; 95% of those cases are foodborne-related. Approximately 220 of each 1000 cases result in hospitalization and eight of every 1000 cases result in death. About 500 to 1,000 or 31% of all food-related deaths are caused by Salmonella infections each year. Salmonellosis is more common in the warmer months of the year.
Salmonella infection occurs when the bacteria are ingested, typically from food derived from infected food-animals, but it can also occur by ingesting the feces of an infected animal or person. Food sources include raw or undercooked eggs/egg products, raw milk or raw milk products, contaminated water, meat and meat products, and poultry. Raw fruits and vegetables contaminated during slicing have been implicated in several foodborne outbreaks.
In the last 15 years, I have been involved in thousands of cases of Salmonella in nearly every state.