Biotechnology center finds outbreak strain of Salmonella in 155 cases linked to seafood

Biotechnology center finds outbreak strain of Salmonella in 155 cases linked to seafood

According to the The National Center for Biotechnology Information there are 155 cases now identified as part of a Salmonella Thompson outbreak traced to seafood from a Denver company.

The center has identified the outbreak strain in 155 patient samples. According to the most recent report on Oct. 8 from the CDC there were 102 people spread across 14 states who had been infected. The vast majority of patients at that time lived in the Denver area.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information is also reporting that 13 outbreak isolates have been found in products.

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In its Oct. 8 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said state officials working with the Food and Drug Administration had traced the source of the outbreak to seafood from Northeast Seafood Products of Denver, CO. At the time of the report the CDC said 19 people were so sick that they had to be admitted to hospitals. No deaths had been reported as of Oct. 8.

In the CDC’s report more than five weeks ago the agency said illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11 to Sept. 7.

The Food and Drug Administration reported that samples from Northeast Seafood Products Inc. were positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Thompson. The FDA reported at that time that the business had temporarily closed and had recalled products from unspecified restaurants, as well as from Albertsons, Safeway, and Sprouts supermarkets in Colorado.

There is some concern that consumers may have portions of the recalled products in their home freezers.

The recalled products are: 

  • Haddock
  • Monkfish 
  • Bone-in Trout 
  • Grouper 
  • Red Snapper 
  • Red Rock Cod
  • Ocean Perch 
  • Pacific Cod 
  • Halibut 
  • Coho Salmon 
  • Atlantic Salmon Portions 
  • Lane Snapper 
  • Tilapia 
  • All Natural Salmon Fillet
  • Pacific Sole
  • Farm Raised Striped Bass 

The “Pacific Cod” sold through Sprouts is not being recalled. A full list of recalled products was to be available on FDA’s website, but as of Nov. 15 the list had not been posted.

Outbreak details as of CDC announcement on Oct. 8

The first illness onset date is May 11, but the majority of the people became sick between June 27 and Sept. 7

Sick people range in age from less than 1 to 85 years old, with a median age of 39. Slightly more than half, 53 percent, are female. Of 89 people with information available, 19 have been hospitalized.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Among 62 people interviewed, 51 reported eating seafood. Sick people reported eating a variety of seafood both raw as sushi and cooked.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses, according to the CDC. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

About Salmonella infections

Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products or eaten seafood at Colorado restaurants and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. 

Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

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