Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey Products

As of Nov. 5, 2018, 164 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 35 states, and 63 people have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from California.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health and regulatory officials in 35 states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products. The outbreak is being monitored by the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

As of Nov. 5, 2018, 164 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 35 states, and 63 people have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from California.

Illnesses began on dates from Nov. 20, 2017 to Oct. 20, 2018, with ill people ranging in age from less than one year to 91. In interviews, ill people have reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations, and three ill people lived in households where pets were fed raw turkey pet food. Investigators have not identified a single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys.

At this time, CDC is not advising consumers to avoid eating turkey products that have been properly cooked, nor is the agency advising that retailers stop selling raw turkey products. CDC advises that consumers take the following steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw turkey:

  • Wash your hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165° F. A food thermometer should be used to check internal temperature of the food by placing it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don't spread germs from raw turkey around the area in which you prepare meals. CDC does not recommend washing raw turkey before cooking it. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey, and use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
  • Turkey should never be thawed by leaving it out on the counter. Thaw turkey in a sink of cold water that is changed every half an hour, in the fridge, or in the microwave.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding pets raw diets.

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