A Salmonella outbreak has sickened nearly 300 people in 17 states, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported on Oct. 8. The CDC has linked the infections to chicken products from three Foster Farms facilities in California. Foster Farms has not issued a recall of their products claiming that their chicken is safe to consume if handled and cooked properly.
The chicken products were mainly distributed in California, Oregon and Washington State.
As of Oct. 8, 278 cases of Salmonella Heidelberg infection have been reported to the CDC. Of these, 42 percent have required hospitalization. There have been no deaths reported. The outbreak strains are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics, which explains the high rate of hospitalization, according to the CDC.
Consumers are urged to thoroughly cook all poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees and thoroughly wash hands and work surfaces that have come in contact with raw poultry.
Symptoms of Salmonella bacteria infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that begin 72 hours after infection. Illness can last four to seven days and infected individuals may recover without treatment. However, severe diarrhea may require hospitalization.
The CDC is operating with minimal support during the current federal government shutdown. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC is operating on a contingency budget, and its ability to conduct outbreak investigations, process laboratory samples, and maintain the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center has been diminished with the failure of Congress to appropriate funds.