The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had to move into action during the government shutdown to handle a large scale outbreak of salmonella. The CDC notes that most people who are infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Although most persons recover in about a week without treatment, in some cases the diarrhea is so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. MedPage Today reported on Sept. 8, 2013, "CDC Calls Back Staff to Handle Salmonella Outbreak."
About 30 CDC staffers who were furloughed during the government shutdown have been called back to work due to an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg which has spread to 18 states and has sickened nearly 300 people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has traced the outbreak to raw chicken products from three Foster Farms facilities located in California, although there is no clear indication of which products specifically were affected or the time period in which these products were released.
An email from the CDC said the returned CDC staffers will “find additional cases nationwide, characterize the outbreak, and characterize the bacteria for antibiotic resistance.” The USDA also has not been operating at full capacity, but according to a statement on the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) website, "meat, poultry and processed egg inspection activities, as well as those services necessary to support inspection activities, will be maintained" even during the time of the government shutdown.
In a press release Foster Farms has said it is not recalling their raw chicken products. Foster Farms says their chicken products are safe to consume if they are properly handled and fully cooked. The firm has also noted that they are working together with the FSIS and CDC in the ongoing investigation. Meanwhile, the USDA also warned consumers that Salmonella infection can be potentially fatal, particularly in patients who have compromised immune systems, infants, and older patients.