Twenty-one people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported, according to the CDC.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that many types of raw chicken products from a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Infantis and are making people sick.
In interviews with the CDC, sickened people report eating different types and brands of chicken products purchased from many different locations.
The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products and live chickens.
Antibiotic resistance testing conducted by CDC on Salmonella bacteria isolated from sickened people shows that the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics.
The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry. CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the chicken industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce Salmonella contamination.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
CDC advises consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw chicken:
- Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
- Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees to kill harmful germs.
- Leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
- Don't spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken and other raw meats if possible.
- CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.