Nearly 24,000 sickened in two outbreaks over two years?

Yesterday the CDC reported on the ongoing Foster Farms Salmonella chicken outbreak.  Now a total of 481 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 25 states and Puerto Rico.  The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (22), California (365), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Hawaii (1), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (10), Utah (4), Virginia (4), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (1). 38% of ill persons have been hospitalized.

Most of the ill persons (76%) have been reported from California.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.

Should sound familiar.

In July 2013 the CDC reported a total of 134 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg were reported from 13 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Alabama (1), Alaska (13), California (11), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Massachusetts (1), Montana (2), New York (1), Oregon (40), Utah (3), Virginia (1), Washington (57), and West Virginia (1).   Illnesses stretched from late May 2012 to April of 2013.  31% of ill persons were hospitalized.

Most of the ill persons were reported from two states, Oregon (40) and Washington (57).

Collaborative investigative efforts of local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that Foster Farms brand chicken was the most likely source of this outbreak.  Testing conducted by the Washington State Public Health Laboratories identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in four intact samples of chicken collected from three ill persons’ homes in Washington, which were traced back to two Foster Farms slaughter establishments.

Two Salmonella outbreaks beginning nearly two years ago with 615 sickened with over 30% hospitalized.  Remember, according to the CDC, for every one person who is a stool-culture confirmed positive victim of Salmonella in the United States, there is a multiple of 38.5 who are also sick, but remain uncounted. (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).

If you want a little insight into the legal history of Salmonella as a non-adulterant, read these:

FSIS’s and Foster Farms’ Reason for NOT Recalling Salmonella Chicken: “Shit Happens!”

Butz, Supreme Beef and FSIS’s Salmonella Policy – A Bit(e) of History

And, why some meat with Salmonella gets recalled and some not:

Why does the FSIS like Foster Farm’s Salmonella better than Cargill’s Salmonella?