The New Mexico Department of Health, the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, and the New Mexico Environment Department announced that they are jointly investigating a cluster of illness caused by Salmonella paratyphi. There have been six confirmed cases reported in New Mexico residents, with onsets of illness from April 4 to May 1, 2015. Five individuals reside in Bernalillo County and one resides in Sandoval County. The cases range in age from 23 to 68 years, and one individual was hospitalized as a result of the illness.
At this time, the investigation is still ongoing regarding the source of the outbreak. Five out of the six people reported eating sushi containing raw fish. The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department and the New Mexico Environment Department are investigating possible exposures linked to sushi. Federal agencies including the CDC and other states are also involved in the investigation following additional illnesses associated with the same Salmonella paratyphi strain in their respective jurisdictions.
Last month the Ventura County Public Health Department announced a Salmonella paratyphi outbreak. Eighteen cases have already been confirmed in Southern California with one case in Santa Barbara County and four in Ventura County. Seven other cases are from out-of-state, most of who had travel to Southern California. In a statement released to the media, the Ventura County Health Department said the cause of the outbreak remains under investigation. “As of April 17th, 10 out of 10 people who completed detailed food questionnaires stated they had consumed sushi, and over 80 percent reported having eaten raw tuna,” said the Health Department. Twenty percent of affected patients have been hospitalized.
This particular strain of Salmonella had never been seen before March 2015, but the Health Department said that a closely related strain was responsible for a Salmonella outbreak that occurred in California and Hawaii back in 2010. That outbreak was found to be linked to raw tuna imported from Indonesia. “This strain is genetically different from the 2010 strain, so it appears the two strains are unrelated at this time,” noted the Health Department.
Raw ground tuna in sushi rolls and other sushi dishes could be the cause of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least nine people in Maricopa County, county health officials said. Nine people have had the same, rare strain of Salmonella, and three of those individuals have been hospitalized. Those individuals fell ill with the same rare strain from April 3-16. No Arizona cases have been reported outside Maricopa County.
County health officials have interviewed eight of the nine people with the same rare strain, and all of them consumed ground tuna at multiple Maricopa County restaurants, said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. England said that the contaminated tuna is likely being shipped to area restaurants. That could mean that a food distributor of manufacturer is the source of contamination, but health and food safety investigators have not yet identified a source, England said. Because health officials have not identified the source, England said people should be cautious about eating raw ground tuna commonly found in spicy tuna rolls or other sushi dishes.
Sounds a bit familiar – In 2012 a total of 425 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly (410 persons) or Salmonella Nchanga (15 persons) were reported from 28 states and the District of Columbia. 55 ill persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies linked this outbreak to a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation.