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Local officials seek to allay salmonella fears

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A kitchen worker sets up the salad bar at the FDA cafeteria. According to a new report, inspectors at the agency have failed to follow up on serious food-safety violations by food manufacturers.
November 16, 2018 10:04 pm

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control is continuing its investigation of a new outbreak of a drug-resistant form of salmonella contracted from raw turkey a year after the first outbreak, but the Twin Counties haven’t seen any cases.

As a precaution, local health officials are providing tips to prevent contracting salmonella.

The CDC started receiving reports of the multi-drug resistant Salmonella Reading around the country almost a year ago, Nov. 20, 2017. Since then 164 cases have been reported in 35 different states and one that resulted in death. Of the 164 cases 63 people have been hospitalized.

The most recent update Nov. 5, 2018 states since the last update July 19, 2018 74 more people were added to the list if ill.

As of the most recent update New York has reported 12 cases.

“To date there have been no reported cases of the multi-drug-resistant Salmonella Reading for any of these investigations in Columbia County,” according to a statement from the Columbia County Department of Public Health. “Generally we investigate a few cases of salmonella per year as reported in our annual reports.”

Columbia County investigated eight cases of salmonella in 2016, two cases in 2017 and completed five investigations in 2018.

“We have not had any local reports of the drug-resistant salmonella,” said Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden. “We are aware that it is a national issue and that there have been recalls nationally. The CDC keeps us updated. People just need to be careful.”

Greene County has not seen any confirmed cases of salmonella this year, Groden said.

“State and local health departments are still interviewing ill people about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill,” according to a statement from the CDC. “Available data indicate that this strain of salmonella may be present in live turkeys and in raw turkey products. A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified.”

The strain of salmonella has been identified in samples from raw turkey pet food in Minnesota, from live turkeys from several states and from raw turkey products collected from sick people’s homes. The raw turkey samples collected from ill people’s homes are still being investigated to determine the source of the turkey, according to the statement from CDC.

The outbreak strain was also identified in samples from raw turkey products from 22 slaughter and 7 processing establishments. Furthermore, whole genome sequencing showed that the salmonella strain isolated from these samples is closely related genetically to the salmonella strain from sick people. This result provides more evidence that people in this outbreak became ill from preparing raw turkey products.

Jennie-O Turkey Sales, LLC, recently issued a recall of its raw ground turkey products, which may be associated with an outbreak of salmonella.

Of these products, Tops Friendly Markets carried minimal quantities of: Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey with a use-by date of Oct. 2, 2018 and Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Turkey with the same use-by date.

The recall does not affect any other Jennie-O products carried by Tops stores, according to a statement from the company.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, people should know the symptoms of salmonella and how to prevent contracting the disease.

According to the CDC, symptoms of salmonella include:

n Diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

n The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. But in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.

n In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

n Children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

“We recommend a few precautions to avoid food poisoning,” said William Van Slyke, a spokesman from Columbia Memorial Health. “Anyone preparing meals should wash their hands with soap and water before and after their meal prep. Meat should be cooked thoroughly and everyone should wash their hands before eating.”

The CDC recommends people cook raw food thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and to reheat leftovers to the same temperature; not to wash raw poultry before cooking to prevent spreading the germs to utensils and other food as well as cutting the raw meat on a separate cutting board; and refrain from feeding pets raw meat.