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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 11:28 EDT

Salmonella Outbreak Blamed On Ground Turkey

August 2, 2011

An outbreak of salmonella in at least 26 states, affecting at minimum of 76 people including one death, is being blamed on contaminated ground turkey, according to health officials. At least 22 people have been hospitalized so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a public health alert after it has confirmed the genetic fingerprint of salmonella detected in fresh or frozen ground turkey consumed across the nation.

Four ground turkey samples bought from retail locations between March 7 and June 27 yielded the Heidelberg strain of salmonella. This particular strain appears to be resistant to many common antibiotics, which may complicate treatment for infections, MSNBC reports.

Drug resistance can lead to increased risk of hospitalization or serious illness.

The number of people made ill vary widely. Ten people each in Ohio and Michigan and nine in Texas to single infections reported in several states. Infections began on or after March 9 and have continued through Aug. 1, officials said.

Illnesses that occurred after July 5 might not yet be made public due to the lag between becoming ill and when the illness is reported.

Consumers concerned using any ground turkey they may have should make sure to cook fresh or frozen ground turkey thoroughly, and to an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. A thermometer is the only way to ensure proper cooking temperature, health officials emphasized.

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. In some patients, however, the illness becomes so severe that hospitalization is required.

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