The fatality occurred in the Sacramento area, said Mike Sicilia, CDPH spokesperson. Another five Californians are ill due to Salmonella, a bacteria that may enter the digestive tract via contaminated food.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 77 people in 26 states have been infected with the bacteria, a virulent strain called Salmonella Heidelberg.
In the meantime, the government is working to find the source of this deadly outbreak.
This particular bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics, which can increase the risk that patients will be hospitalized and that treatment will fail.
The problem is widespread, with the states where illnesses have been reported including Alabama (1); Arizona (2); California (6); Georgia (1); Iowa (1); Illinois (7); Indiana (1); Kentucky (2); Louisiana (1); Massachusetts (1); Michigan (10); Minnesota (1); Missouri (2); Mississippi (1); North Carolina (1); Nebraska (2); Nevada (1); New York (2); Ohio (10); Oklahoma (1); Oregon (1); Pennsylvania (5); South Dakota (3); Tennessee (2); Texas (9); and Wisconsin (3).
“The California Department of Public Health is actively supporting the federal government’s multi-state investigation of Salmonella cases reported and is coordinating with local health departments across California to monitor for additional cases,” said Kathleen Billingsley, chief deputy director of the CDPH.
Evidence points to ground turkey as the likely source of the outbreak, the CDC said. "Among the 51 ill persons with available information, 25 (49%) reported consuming ground turkey," it said. "This proportion is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy persons in which 11% of persons of reported consuming ground turkey in the seven days before they were interviewed."
Investigators studying ground turkey samples bought from four retailers between March 7 and June 27 found the outbreak strain, CDC said. Three of the products appear to have originated from the same producer and the fourth remains under investigation.
To help mitigate the outbreak, last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service released a public health alert for frozen or fresh ground turkey products that emphasized the importance of following cooking instructions and general food safety practices when preparing any raw meat or poultry.
Ground turkey is considered safe when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees during cooking -- for turkey patties or burgers, internal temperatures on each side should be measured. The government also advises refrigerating meat promptly and washing hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat or poultry.
This latest outbreak is part of an alarming trend. Food poisoning cases caused by salmonella have increased by 10 percent in recent years, despite widespread campaigns to educate consumers and food makers about food preparation and handling, according to new federal statistics. The findings are part of an annual food safety report card released by the CDC, which since 1996 has tracked the prevalence of the most common food-borne pathogens. About one in six Americans gets sick from food poisoning every year, and 3,000 die, the government said. “The bottom line is that food-borne illness, particularly Salmonella, is far too common,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden said.
As incidences of food poisoning rise, as evidenced by this recent Salmonella outbreak, companies need to be held responsible for the contaminated products they enter into the market. The public needs to be protected from food borne illnesses. With limited resources, the government can only do so much. If you or a loved one has been a victim of food poisoning due to the irresponsible conduct of another, you have rights and may be entitled to financial compensation. You need to contact the San Diego food poisoning attorneys of Casey Gerry.
How do you think the rising rate of Salmonella can be reduced? Should the government take a more proactive role?