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Outbreak alert: Salmonella in the U.S. and U.K.

Salmonella is one of the most common foodborne pathogens, and we see a few large outbreaks of it each year. It’s most often associated with chicken and egg products, but lately it has been associated with other products as well.

In the U.K.

Nearly 300 people have been sickened and one has passed away in the midst of an outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium associated with sheep’s meat.

The investigation has been going on since July 2017, when authorities first noted an increase of infections with this particular strain of Salmonella. Previously, just two cases had ever been documented in England. By November, 95 cases had been reported across the U.K.

The sharp increase evened out when control measures were enacted on sheep farms and to slaughterhouses, but 23 cases were reported by June 2018. Since then, reports have skyrocketed again — 165 as of mid-October.

Investigators are still unsure where the outbreak is coming from, and why preventive controls don’t seem to be stemming the flow this time around. Authorities remind consumers to take care when cooking and handling raw meat. Always heat sheep meat to the right internal temperature (145°F, or 160°F if ground), and wash hands thoroughly when preparing meals.

In the U.S.

Chicken meat is responsible for an outbreak in the U.S., with 21 people reported to have been hospitalized with salmonellosis and 92 cases reported altogether.

“The outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. Cases were reported in 29 states ranging from coast to coast, and a single supplier hasn’t been identified.

Consumers should wash hands whenever handling raw meat. To safely cook chicken, it should be heated to an internal temperature of 165°F.

About Salmonella

Infection with Salmonella, commonly known as salmonellosis, involves symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, a fever and/or headache. Symptoms usually last two to seven days, and in most cases, go away on their own. Serious cases require hospitalization. The elderly, the very young, and anyone with a weakened immune system stands a greater risk of having a serious case.

Neogen offers rapid testing methods for detecting Salmonella and other pathogens, as well as many other essential food safety solutions.

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