Minnesotans sickened by salmonella from raw turkey

Lab tests have determined that contaminated raw turkey products from different sources are the cause of this salmonella outbreak.

A salmonella outbreak connected to raw turkey has affected 90 people in 26 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to turkey products in the past, especially ground turkey. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. The strains in both outbreaks were resistant to several antibiotics.

Hawaii Department of Health investigators have closed the case since they could not find an exposure or link related to the current outbreak. Minnesota has 13 cases, the most of any state. The first illness was reported on November 20, 2017. Sick patients range in age from younger than 1 year to 91. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make people sick. No deaths have been reported, but 40 people have been hospitalized. People report eating different types and brands of turkey produces bought from many locations. Two of the sick people became ill after handling raw turkey pet food. Three of the people interviewed reported working in a facility that raises or processes turkeys or living with someone who worked in such facilities.

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The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading is present in live turkeys and in many types of raw turkey products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry, according to the CDC. Use it on the thickest part of your turkey or chicken to make sure you cook it to a temperature of 165 degrees.

Like FSIS, CDC said a single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified.

The USDA, the FDA and the CDC said they "have shared this information with representatives from the turkey industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce salmonella contamination". At this time, the CDC hasn't advised consumers to avoid eating fully cooked turkey products or told retailers to take those products off the shelves. The CDC also advised consumers to wash their hands before and after preparing or eating any food made with raw turkey.

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