A Salmonella outbreak has sickened 11 people in Montana. Illnesses have been reported in eight counties: Cascade, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Lewis & Clark, Park, Musselshell and Yellowstone. Two additional cases are suspected.
“Every effort is being made to identify a common source quickly and to protect consumers from any products or practices that may be unsafe,” said Dana Fejes, foodborne epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. These symptoms usually last between four and seven days. But in some cases, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
After initial symptoms resolve, some people also develop a long-term complication called reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints and eye irritation. Reactive arthritis lasts months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.
Nationwide, Salmonella sickens millions of Americans each year. Of those, about 19,000 are so sick they require hospitalization and 380 die.
In Montana, about 110 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year, Chuck Council, communications specialist with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, told Food Poisoning Bulletin this afternoon. August is typically the month when most salmonellosis cases are reported in Montana, he said, but the outbreak strain, Salmonella Poona, is rare in the state.
In 2013, 95 cases of salmonellosis were reported in Montana. Most of those were attributed to contact with live poultry. In 2012, 109 cases were reported, a small number of those were linked to multistate outbreaks caused by contaminated fruit or poultry.
Currently, there are four multistate Salmonella outbreaks, none of them are linked to Salmonella Poona.
Two current multistate outbreaks are linked to breaded, raw frozen chicken products such as Chicken Kiev and Chicken Cordon Bleu. Together they have sickened 12 people in four states.
Another is linked to pork products by Kapowsin Meats of Graham, Wash. That outbreak has sickened 152 people in Washington and triggered a recall of more than a half a million pounds of pork products that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,,12:i:-.
The fourth ongoing multistate outbreak is linked to live poultry. At least 218 people in 40 sates have been sickened in that outbreak. Fifty people have been hospitalized.
Montana health officials urge anyone experiencing these symptoms to contact their health care provider.