USA – Chicken and Salmonella Infantis, the Neverending Outbreak?

Food Poisoning Bulletin

When the CDC ended its investigation of a deadly Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to raw chicken products in February 2019, it added an unusual note at the top of the posting. “This investigation is over. Illnesses could continue because this Salmonella strain appears to be widespread in the chicken industry,” it read in part.

Two and a half years later, the impact of that statement came into focus when an investigative report from ProPublica revealed that the outbreak, linked to a multidrug-resistant strain of Salmonella Infantis, has never ended.

“Many people are still becoming ill, and some of them gravely ill,” Robert Tauxe told ProPublica. Tauxe, who is the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, said the agency receives dozens of reports of illness linked to this strain each month, according to the report.

For every culture-confirmed Salmonella illness, the CDC uses a multiplier of 29 to account for undiagnosed infections. One internal CDC document that the ProPublica Team found estimated that this single strain of Salmonella Infantis is responsible for 11,000-17,000 illnesses per year.

And the strain is still frequently turning up in chicken.

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