May 25, 2024

Salmonella Paratyphi Outbreak Associated With Raw Tuna Sickens 30

A Salmonella paratyphi outbreak associated with raw tuna or salmon was announced at a Clark County health board meeting in Washington state. During that meeting, on October 26, 2017, Madison Riethman, an applied epidemiology fellow at that department, said that illnesses in at least 30 people in 7 states have been confirmed.

Salmonella paratyphi outbreak raw tuna

The information was presented in a slide show. On August 29, 2017, five cases of Salmonella were reported to Clark County Public Health’s Communicable Disease team. Three of five cases were interviewed that week, but no common exposures were found.

Then, on September 8, lab tests on the Salmonella bacteria from all five cases came back with the same DNA fingerprint. On that day Oregon Health Authority found 12 more Salmonella cases with the same DNA. Out of 14 people interviewed by public health officials, 11 said they ate seafood before they got sick, and they specifically said they ate sushi.

On September 11, five more cases were identified, for a case count of 22. Samples were shipped to the Washington Public Health Laboratory for testing. Epidemiologists found that raw salmon and raw tuna were the “primary items of interest.” The Oregon Department of Agriculture started to investigate “Seafood Company X.”

Then, on September 15, three more cases were identified; this time outside of Washington and Oregon. Two people in Hawaii and one person in New Jersey were added to the outbreak count. The Oregon Department of Agriculture recommended that restaurants hold tuna that was sourced from “Seafood Company X.”

But on September 27, lab tests came back finding that Salmonella found in the tuna did not match Salmonella paratyphi from ill persons. At the same time, four more cases were identified in Texas, Florida, and California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA joined the investigation. The case count on that date was 30.

Finally, on October 20, 2017, according to the slide presentation, the FDA issued a recall on tuna loins from Seafood Company X. But the only recall for tuna loins for possible Salmonella contamination was issued by Relish Foods on October 19, with an expanded recall on October 24, 2017, which added tuna steaks, and more sizes of tuna loins.

No public health agencies in any state with ill persons, other than Clark County, have mentioned this outbreak. The FDA recall notices have only stated that “product has potential to contain the bacteria Salmonella.”

So to sum up, at least thirty people are sick in these states: Washington, Oregon, Texas, Florida, California, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Isolates from patients do match each other. The recalled product has the “potential” to contain Salmonella, but the type of Salmonella found on the tuna does not match the outbreak strain. There is no word on whether or not any patients have been hospitalized, the age range, or genders. Officials are continuing to investigate this outbreak and conduct traceback investigations.

This is not the first outbreak linked to raw fish. There was another Salmonella paratyphi outbreak in 2015 in this country that was linked to raw tuna. That outbreak sickened 65 people in 11 states.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea that may be bloody, a fever, and vomiting. Most people get sick within 12 to 72 hours after eating food contaminated with this bacteria. And most people recover on their own without medical treatment.

Unfortunately, the multiplier for Salmonella outbreaks is 38. Which means that, potentially, more than 1,000 people could be sick.

If you have eaten tuna loin or tuna steaks, especially those served raw in sushi or undercooked, and have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. This infection can have serious long term health consequences, including high blood pressure, reactive arthritis, eye problems, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully helps and represents people sickened by contaminated foods in outbreaks throughout the country. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for foodborne illness patients and their families, including the largest verdict in American history for a person injured by E. coli and subsequent hemolytic uremic syndrome. The firm also publishes Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected Google News source for food safety news and information.  Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the firm represents people harmed by pathogenic microorganisms in Legionnaires‘ disease, surgical site infections, and product liability cases.

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