The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating an outbreak of multidrug-resistant salmonella infections linked to raw turkey. Half the country has reported incidents of illness due to this particular type of salmonella infection.
The states impacted are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Of these, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas and New York have the highest number of cases (with 13, 9, 8, and 8 confirmed cases reported respectively).
The culprit behind these illnesses? Salmonella reading, a strain of salmonella that is linked to swine and poultry like turkey. It can be found in produce as well. In 2016, there was a nationwide outbreak of salmonella reading and salmonella abony, both of which were linked to alfalfa sprouts.
As in 2016, the recent cases of salmonella reading have led to serious warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this time urging people to be very careful when working with raw turkey products.
Not only do you need to be careful when preparing turkey (such as by washing your hands after touching it, and by making sure to heat it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs).
The CDC is also cautioning pet owners about safe handling of pet food. It seems that some people reported becoming ill after handling raw turkey pet food.
“Germs like salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick,” announces the CDC. “Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.”
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Currently, there are no recalls in place, as the outbreak has not been linked to one specific manufacturer or farm. Instead, the CDC is merely urging consumers to practice extra caution and awareness when dealing with raw meat.
If you experience symptoms of salmonella poisoning (such as fever, diarrhea or stomach cramps), and you have recently eaten or handled raw turkey, visit your doctor right away.
In many cases, people who infected with salmonella reading can recover without treatment, however, it is better to be safe than sorry, particularly if you or your loved one are part of a vulnerable population (under 5 years old, over 65 years old or have a weakened immune system due to diabetes or other chronic condition).