CDC: Dozens ill after salmonella outbreak tied to raw chicken

Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images Whole raw chicken

Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images Whole raw chicken

The CDC said it was working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and representatives from the chicken industry to discuss steps that they might take to reduce Salmonella contamination. However, older people and infants with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness and some severe cases may require hospitalization.

Earlier this month, at least 57 people in at least 16 states reported salmonella infections after consuming some of more than 6.5 million pounds of contaminated beef produced by an Arizona company.

Five cases of multi-drug resistant salmonella infantis illness has reported by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

The strain has been identified in a variety of raw chicken products and in live chickens.

Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

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Officials say almost 90% of cases that have been reported have involved preparing or eating chicken products that were purchased raw, including ground chicken, chicken pieces and whole chicken. "This outbreak is a reminder to always handle raw chicken carefully and to cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent food poisoning".

The good news is that all chicken is safe to eat once it has been thoroughly cooked.

As an investigation continues, the CDC said the source remains unclear.

The agency said antibiotic-resistance testing on the salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people showed the outbreak strain was resistant to multiple antibiotics. Any surfaces that have come into contact with raw meat should be wiped down, and use a separate cutting board.

Additionally, the CDC does not recommend raw diets for pets, as this can make animals, as well as people handling the raw food, sick.

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