CDC: Unknown food linked to growing Salmonella outbreak; 2 cases in Michigan

127 known cases detected so far

The CDC is investigating a growing outbreak of Salmonella infections in at least 25 states, including Michigan.

As of Sept. 15, the CDC identified 127 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg, in 25 states, up from 20 total cases reported on Sept. 2. The first case was detected on Aug. 3. The investigation has not yet identified a food linked to illness.

Sick people range in age from less than 1 year to 82 years, with a median age of 33, and 59% are female. Of 49 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

Two of the 127 cases were reported in Michigan. No other information about the cases is currently available.

The CDC said 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. 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.

Related: Check your freezer: 60,000 pounds of frozen, stuffed chicken recalled for salmonella

More on Salmonella from the CDC:

What are Salmonella?

Salmonella are bacteria that make people sick. They were first discovered by an American scientist named Dr. Daniel E. Salmon in 1885.

What illness do people get from Salmonella infection?

Most types of Salmonella cause an illness called salmonellosis, which is the focus of this website. Some other types of Salmonella cause typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever.

What are the symptoms of infection?

Most people with Salmonella infection have diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Symptoms usually begin six hours to six days after infection and last four to seven days. However, some people do not develop symptoms for several weeks after infection and others experience symptoms for several weeks.

Salmonella strains sometimes cause infection in urine, blood, bones, joints, or the nervous system (spinal fluid and brain), and can cause severe disease.

How is Salmonella infection diagnosed?

Salmonella infection is diagnosed when a laboratory test detects Salmonella bacteria in a person’s stool (poop), body tissue, or fluids.

How is infection treated?

Most people recover from Salmonella infection within four to seven days without antibiotics. People who are sick with a Salmonella infection should drink extra fluids as long as diarrhea lasts.

Antibiotic treatment is recommended for:

  • People with severe illness
  • People with a weakened immune system, such as from HIV infection or chemotherapy treatment
  • Adults older than 50 who have medical problems, such as heart disease
  • Infants (children younger than 12 months).
  • Adults age 65 or older

Can infection cause long-term health problems?

Most people with diarrhea caused by Salmonella recover completely, although some people’s bowel habits (frequency and consistency of poop) may not return to normal for a few months.

Some people with Salmonella infection develop pain in their joints, called reactive arthritis, after the infection has ended. Reactive arthritis can last for months or years and can be difficult to treat. Some people with reactive arthritis develop irritation of the eyes and pain when urinating.

How do people get infected?

Salmonella live in the intestines of people and animals. People can get Salmonella infection from a variety of sources, including

  • Eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water
  • Touching infected animals, their feces, or their environment

Who is more likely to get an infection and severe illness?

  • Children under 5 years old are the most likely to get a Salmonella infection.
  • Infants (children younger than 12 months) who are not breast fed are more likely to get a Salmonella infection.
  • Infants, adults aged 65 and older, and people with a weakened immune system are the most likely to have severe infections.
  • People taking certain medicines (for example, stomach acid reducers) are at increased risk of infection.

What should I know about antibiotic resistance and Salmonella?

Resistance to essential antibiotics is increasing in Salmonella, which can limit treatment options for people with severe infections.  One way to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance is by appropriate use of antibiotics.

What can be done to prevent antibiotic resistance and resistant bacteria?

Appropriate use of antibiotics in people and animals (use only when needed and exactly as prescribed) can help prevent antibiotic resistance and the spread of resistant bacteria.

How common is Salmonella infection?

CDC estimates Salmonella cause about 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year.

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About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.