I blogged last week that New Mexico was reporting a large cluster of salmonella illnesses. This morning New Mexico state health department says there are now 21 and that many of the state’s recent salmonella cases are linked. Health officials said many come from the same strain – "Saint Paul." The ill patients live in McKinley, San Juan, Dona Ana, Curry, Socorro and Bernalillo counties, ranging in age from 2 to 82. Right now there are also 14 cases of salmonella in Texas. Other nearby states reporting cases are Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Salmonella St. Paul is the 6th most common serovar (over 2,000 serovars) infecting humans in the United States. The CDC reports that it has been found in outbreaks related from reptiles to sprouts.
With more that 40 cases reported as salmonella St. Paul stool culture positive, it is likely that the "real number" – those persons not culture-positive, but still ill – may be in excess of 160. (See, AC Voetsch, “FoodNet estimate of the burden of illness caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in the United States,”Clinical Infectious Diseases 2004;38 (Suppl 3):S127-34).