July 17, 2024

Now 317 Sickened by Multidrug-Resistant Foster Farms Salmonella Chicken

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that 31 people in 20 states and Puerto Rico have been infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. But no recall. That is an increase of 39 from the last update on October 87, 2013.

Forty-two percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Seventy-three percent of patients are from California. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms chicken is the likely source of this outbreak.


The case count by state is as follows: Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (13), California (232), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (4), Idaho (2), Kentucky (1), Michigan (2), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (9), New Mexico (2), Oregon (8), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (9), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (15), and Wisconsin (1). Patient age range is from 1 to 93 years, with a median age of 20 years. Fifty-one percent of ill persons are male. Among 189 people who gave information about their condition, 42% are hospitalized. Thirteen percent have developed septicemia, or blood infections, which is almost three times the usual number.

Seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are responsible for this outbreak. Ninety percent of the isolates infected with three of the seven strains were resistant to one or more commonly prescribed antibiotics. Of those, three were resistant to multiple drugs. The bacteria are resistant to combinations of these drugs: ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline.

Foster Farms was told on October 10, 2013 that they should make substantial changes to their processing lines or the USDA would shut them down. Today, USDA-FIS announced that Foster Farms “submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations.” The government will continue intensified sampling and testing for at least the next 90 days. But no recall.

If you have eaten Foster Farms chicken and have been sick, please contact your doctor. These Salmonella strains are virulent and have caused serious illness. The resistance to multiple antibiotics is also serious. The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea that may be bloody.

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