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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Tomatoes, Jalapeno Peppers, Serrano Peppers and Cilantro Still Under Salmonella Saintpaul Suspicion

Again, according to the CDC, since April, 1065 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. These were identified because clinical laboratories in all states send Salmonella strains from ill persons to their State public health laboratory for characterization. One new state, Mississippi, reports ill persons. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2 persons), Arkansas (14), Arizona (49), California (9), Colorado (15), Connecticut (4), Florida (2), Georgia (25), Idaho (5), Illinois (104), Indiana (16), Iowa (2), Kansas (17), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (29), Massachusetts (26), Michigan (8), Minnesota (18), Mississippi (2), Missouri (12), New Hampshire (4), Nevada (11), New Jersey (9), New Mexico (99), New York (30), North Carolina (14), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (24), Oregon (10), Pennsylvania (12), Rhode Island (3), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (8), Texas (408), Utah (2), Virginia (29), Vermont (2), Washington (11), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (11), and the District of Columbia (1). Four ill persons are reported from Canada; three appear to have been infected while traveling in the United States, and one illness remains under investigation.

Among the 762 persons with information available, illnesses began between April 10 and June 26, 2008, including 315 who became ill on June 1 or later. Many steps must occur between a person becoming ill and the determination that the illness was caused by the outbreak strain of Salmonella; these steps take an average of 2-3 weeks. Therefore, an illness reported today may have begun 2-3 weeks ago. Patients range in age from <1 to 99 years; 46% are female. The rate of illness is highest among persons 20 to 29 years old; the rate of illness is lowest in children 10 to 19 years old and in persons 80 or more years old. At least 205 persons were hospitalized. One death in a man in Texas in his eighties has been associated with this outbreak. In addition, 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.