Could Sushi Be The Cause Of Newest Salmonella Outbreak?
April 5, 2012

Could Sushi Be The Cause Of Newest Salmonella Outbreak?

The Center for Disease control (CDC) is reporting that 90 people in 19 states, including the District of Columbia, have become ill in a new Salmonella outbreak. As investigators look for the source of the Salmonella outbreak, consumers have not yet been advised to avoid a particular food or restaurant chain.

The CDC has yet to officially announce which states have been affected by this outbreak of an unusual bacteria strain known as Salmonella Bareilly. According to reports, the first known case of someone becoming sick from this strain began on January 28. The most recent case was reported Monday, April 2.

In a statement to CNN, CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell said, “CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella serotype Bareilly infections.”

It is possible the FDA was not ready to announce this outbreak. News broke late Tuesday night about the investigation when an internal memo was mistakenly sent to everyone at the FDA, according to spokesman Curtis Allen. The memo speculates a possible source of contamination may be sushi, but the FDA has yet to officially announce the origins of the outbreak.

According to the internal FDA memo, investigators are focusing on 6 clusters of restaurants in Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Rhode Island. The memo also makes mention of 7 hospitalizations since the onset of the outbreak.

The FDA has said they will not elaborate on the information found in the memo, and cannot confirm the number of cases or which restaurants are being investigated at this time.

The CDC is working with state public health officials to interview those who have become ill with the rare Salmonella strain. They will be asking these individuals where and what they have eaten and what they had been exposed to in the weeks leading up to their sickness.

The leaked memo also notes a 30-day lag time between when a person becomes ill from Salmonella and when the case is reported to health officials, suggesting there may be even more current cases that have yet to be reported.

”On initial interviews, many of the ill persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill,” said Russell, according to While caution is always recommended, the CDC has yet to officially announce the specific food responsible for the outbreak. Once the CDC is able to correctly identify the source of the outbreak, they will issue an alert to the public. Until then, consumers are being told to contact their doctor if they become ill and suspect they have eaten contaminated food.

Symptoms of Salmonella infections can include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. These symptoms will set in between 12 and 72 hours after digesting the contaminated food. The sickness can last from 4 to 7 days, health officials say. The very young and very old are more likely to suffer the most severe complications from such an infection.

In the past 3 years, Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to ground beef and turkey, papayas, alfalfa sprouts, eggs, and peanut butter. Humans can also contract Salmonella from handling small turtles and other amphibians.