August 9, 2022

Salmonella Reading Turkey Outbreak: Number Five of 2018

The Salmonella Reading turkey outbreak is number five on our list of Top 10 Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2018. And this outbreak is ongoing. As of December 18, 2016, 216 people are infected by the outbreak strain. They live in 38 states. Eighty-four people have been hospitalized, and one person, who lived in California, has died.

Salmonella Reading Turkey Outbreak

The case count by state is: Alabama (4), Alaska (2), Arizona (3), Arkansas (1), California (16), Colorado (6), Connecticut (3), Delaware (1), District of Columbia (2), Florida (8), Georgia (2), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Iowa (4), Illinois (21), Indiana (5), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (5), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (8), Minnesota (18), Missouri (3), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (9), New York (15), North Carolina (8), North Dakota (2), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (10), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (17), Utah (1), Virginia (9), and Wisconsin (7). Illness onset dates range from November 20, 2017 to December 6, 2018. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 99.

Two products have been recalled as part of the outbreak investigation. On November 15, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, Wisconsin, recalled about 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products. And on December 21, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Faribault, Minnesota, recalled about 164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products.

Despite those recalls, a single common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the total outbreak numbers. That means that this bacteria could be present in live turkeys and turkey products.

This outbreak has a counterpart in Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified 22 confirmed cases of Salmonella Reading illnesses in four provinces. Five people were hospitalized, and one person has died.

All of these outbreak notices have been accompanied by telling consumers they need to handle raw turkey products carefully. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling these products. Cook all turkey products to 165°F to kill pathogens. Be careful how you handle the turkey to avoid cross-contamination; don’t rinse turkeys and turkey parts before you cook them, and avoid letting turkey juices touch kitchen surfaces.

Investigators have interviewed sick patients in this Salmonella Reading turkey outbreak. Fifty-eight, or 54%, of the 108 ill persons interviewed said they prepared or ate turkey products that were purchased raw before they got sick. Many different brands of raw turkey products were purchased from many different stores. Three of those interviewed got sick after pets in their home ate raw ground turkey pet food. And four patients worked in a facility that raises or processes turkeys.

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