Salmonella Oranienburg has been identified as the outbreak strain.
Multistate Salmonella Outbreak, Source Still Unknown
On September 17, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an ongoing multistate Salmonella outbreak. According to the report, “a specific food item has not yet been identified as the source of this fast-growing outbreak,”. On September 2, 2021, the CDC identified a Salmonella outbreak of 20 people; since then, the numbers have increased to 127 cases of Salmonella infections in 25 different states. The available data on the outbreak shows that the range of infections began between August 3, 2021, to September 1, 2021. It is important to note that there are likely many more cases which have not yet been identified as part of the outbreak, as it typically takes 3 to 4 weeks to complete the process. Furthermore, since many people are able to recover from Salmonella infection without medical attention, many cases remain absent from the outbreak data.
While a conclusive source of the outbreak has not yet been determined, whole genome sequence (WGS) testing conducted on sick persons’ stools show a close genetic relationship between them. Salmonella Oranienburg has been identified as the outbreak strain. Additionally, the FDA is currently collecting and analyzing reports of which restaurants sick persons ate at before falling ill. It appears that there are restaurant “subclusters” where multiple people, unrelated to each other, ate at the same restaurants and subsequently contracted Salmonella infection.
Consumers are directed to be cognizant of any potential symptoms of Salmonella that they might develop, such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Healthy individuals are typically able to recover from Salmonellosis without treatment within 4 to 7 days. However, Salmonella infection can affect certain people more than others, such as those with weakened immune systems, young children, or elderly persons. The following symptoms require medical attention and potentially hospitalization: bloody diarrhea, diarrhea that persists for 3 days, diarrhea accompanied with a fever of 102°F or higher, excessive vomiting, and signs of severe dehydration (decreased urination, dry mouth, and dizziness). Anyone who experiences any of these symptoms should “talk to [their] healthcare provider and report [their] illness to [their] health department to help investigators solve this outbreak”.