Research – Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Thompson Infections Linked to Seafood Exposure — United States, 2021


In July 2021, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) laboratory identified a cluster of five Salmonella enterica serotype Thompson isolates related to one another within one allele difference, using whole genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST). These five isolates, submitted to the public health laboratory as is routine process for confirmatory testing of Salmonella, were highly related to those identified in a 2020 multistate investigation, during which traceback was conducted for sushi-grade tuna and salmon; a common supplier was not identified. The 2021 investigation commenced on August 5, 2021, with five patients living in Colorado, and one each in Missouri, Washington, and Wisconsin. During August–December 2021, CDC, CDPHE, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted epidemiologic, environmental, and laboratory investigations of this multistate outbreak of Salmonella Thompson. Isolates were genetically related to one another and to 2020 isolates within zero to one allele difference. Implicated seafood products were traced to a single seafood distributor, in which the outbreak strain was identified through environmental sampling, and in which inspection identified inadequate sanitization and opportunities for cross-contamination of raw fish. The distributor issued a voluntary recall of 16 seafood items with high potential for contamination and completed remediation actions. This outbreak illustrated the importance of effective cleaning and sanitizing procedures and implementation of controls. When multiple products are recalled during an outbreak investigation, collaboration between public health agencies and implicated facilities can help provide food safety information to restaurants, retailers, and consumers, and to ensure disposal of all recalled products.

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