The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in its latest case count that as of September 23, at least 279 people had been ill with the salmonella strain oranienburg, resulting in 26 hospitalizations. A week earlier, the agency reported in a September 17 advisory that it had identified 127 people in 25 states infected with salmonella. No deaths have been attributed to the potentially fatal bacteria.
The outbreak has spread to 29 states, with the highest number of cases reported in Texas (81), followed by Oklahoma (40), Illinois (23) and Virginia (22). Other states affected by the outbreak include Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Connecticut, California, Maryland, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota and South, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Nebraska, Utah, Oregon, Wisconsin, Indiana and Tennessee.
The CDC said it believes the actual number of infections may be much higher than reported, as many people recover from a salmonella infection without seeking medical attention and are not tested for. the bacteria.
The agency also said it takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak, so some recent illnesses may not yet be reported.
Public health officials have yet to determine the exact cause of the infections and continue to ask people about the foods they ate in the week before their first symptoms. However, they appear to be getting closer to a possible source, according to its latest survey update. The CDC reported that the strain of salmonella oranienburg was found in a sample taken from a take-out condiment cup containing cilantro and lime. The sick person reported that the condiment container also contained onions, but none were left in the cup during the test.
“Because multiple foods were present in the container and in the sample that was tested, it is not possible to know which food was contaminated,” the CDC said in a statement. “We use this information in conjunction with other available information to help narrow down the list of possible foods linked to the disease. “
Certain groups of people who ate at the same restaurant before their illness have been identified with more than one condition, which can help identify common foods they ate.
The age of the patients varies from less than 1 to 89 years and 59% are women.
The CDC encourages people with symptoms of salmonella to contact their health care provider and report any illness to the health department.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, stomach cramps, excessive vomiting, and signs of dehydration. In most cases, people recover without medical attention after four to seven days. Some serious cases require hospitalization.
To avoid contracting salmonella, the CDC recommends four safety measures when preparing food: wash hands, utensils, and surfaces, separate raw foods, use a food thermometer, and refrigerate perishables in both. time.
Each year, salmonella causes about 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths in the United States, according to the CDC.