On 30 May 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that a salmonella outbreak has infected 93 people in 23 states, resulting in 18 hospitalizations and 1 possible fatality. 90 % of the cases in this latest outbreak have been linked to contact with live poultry which, the CDC says, has been traced to a mail-order hatchery in Ohio.
Unfortunately this outbreak -and research conducted by Nicholas Gaffga from the CDC's Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases Division - underscore the fact that salmonella continues to be a problem for American consumers, agriculturalists and health care professionals.
Salmonella is an ongoing Problem for the United States
Based on an extensive eight year investigation, which was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of scientists have concluded that mail-order hatcheries are a primary source of America's salmonella infections.
A team led by Nicholas H Gaffga of the CDC, conducted a multistate investigation of hatchery-linked salmonella outbreaks between 2004 and 2011; in order to find the answers they needed, researchers relied on a variety of methods including patient interviews and environmental testing. During the course of their investigation, they made some shocking discoveries about the pervasiveness of this troublesome pathogen.
Salmonella Outbreaks Discovered in 43 States Between 2004 and 2011
Dr. Gaffga and his colleagues identified 316 outbreaks of salmonella infections extending across 43 states between 2004 and 2011. All of the outbreaks were traced back to one hatchery deemed "Hatchery C". Many of the cases resulted in hospitalizations with bloody diarrhea as the most common symptom of infection.
Gaffga's team also learned that 122 of the patients had become infected after coming into contact with live poultry. But even more unsettling was the revelation that despite implementation of biosecurity and interventions by the hatchery in 2006 (which did reduce the number of infections), transmission of salmonella persisted.
Gaffga and his colleagues pointed out that Hatchery C wasn't the only source of salmonella outbreaks. In fact, there were a number of investigations from 1955 to 2009 which identified salmonella outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Midwest and Eastern United States.
Gaffga's team also noted that comingling of birds and sanitation issues affect salmonella transmission. Due to a lack of a standard guidelines for sanitation and biosecurity, various feed stores and hatcheries implement their own hygiene practices wherein poultry from multiple shipments may be housed together allowing for transmission of various pathogens.
Considering the seriousness of salmonella transmissions, Gaffga and his colleagues recommended: "Comprehensive control programs should be developed and maintained at hatcheries and breeder farms. These programs should include routine microbiologic monitoring and effective and practical sanitation components directed at reducing the occurrence of salmonella organisms in hatching eggs and chicks."
Their suggestion echoes government health officials recommend regarding the current outbreak such that agricultural stores, hatcheries and other outlets that sell ducks, chicks and other live poultry should provide consumers with health information about risk of infection prior to purchase.
For information about states included in the current salmonella outbreak, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Salmonella Outbreak homepage.
For info about salmonella and enteritis, check out my article Salmonella - The Pesky Foodborne Bug.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
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Gaffga NH, Barton Behravesh C, Ettestad PJ, Smelser CB, Rhorer AR, Cronquist AB, Comstock NA, Bidol SA, Patel NJ, Gerner-Smidt P, Keene WE, Gomez TM, Hopkins BA, Sotir MJ, & Angulo FJ (2012). Outbreak of salmonellosis linked to live poultry from a mail-order hatchery. The New England journal of medicine, 366 (22), 2065-73 PMID: 22646629
"Salmonella Outbreaks Linked To Hatcheries" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.