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

383 Persons Now Infected by Salmonella Saintpaul Tomatoes in 30 states and the District of Columbia – Two Adobo Grill Restaurants in Chicago Linked to at Least Nine Illnesses

Now, according to the CDC, since April, 383 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 30 states and the District of Columbia: Arkansas (2 persons), Arizona (26), California (8), Colorado (2), Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Georgia (8), Idaho (3), Illinois (34), Indiana (8), Kansas (9), Kentucky (1), Maryland (10), Michigan (3), Missouri (9), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (70), New York (9), North Carolina (1), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (4), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee (4), Texas (131), Utah (2), Virginia (17), Vermont (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (5), and the District of Columbia (1).

These were identified because clinical laboratories in all states send Salmonella strains from ill persons to their State public health laboratory for characterization. The marked increase in reported ill persons is not primarily due to a large number of new infections. The number of reported ill persons increased markedly mainly because some states improved surveillance for Salmonella in response to this outbreak and because laboratory identification of many previously submitted strains was completed. Among the 243 persons with information available, illnesses began between April 10 and June 5, 2008. Patients range in age from <1 to 88 years; 47% are female. At least 48 persons were hospitalized. No deaths have been officially attributed to this outbreak. However, a man in his sixties who died in Texas from cancer had an infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul at the time of his death. The infection may have contributed to his death.

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.

According to the Chicago Tribune, federal regulators are a step closer to solving a widespread outbreak of salmonella after two Adobo Grill restaurants in Chicago were identified as the source of nine cases of the illness that has sickened at least 383 people in 30 states.