The Delaware Division of Public Health is advising Delawareans of a multi-state outbreak of multidrug-resistant salmonella infantis infections linked to raw chicken products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 92 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported in 29 states, including two cases in Delaware. Of the cases reported nationally, 22 people have been hospitalized including two Delawareans. No deaths have been reported.
The CDC reported the outbreak strain has been found in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products and live chickens; and is resistant to multiple antibiotics, including first-line treatment options. This means if antibiotics are needed for severe infections, alternative or second-line treatments may need to be used. Advice to clinicians can be found at cdc.gov/salmonella/infantis-10-18/advice.html.
A single, common supplier of chicken has not been identified. There is no need for consumers to avoid eating properly cooked chicken, and retailers are not being advised to stop selling raw chicken products. However, individuals should follow steps to help prevent salmonella infection from raw chicken.
Handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas.
Wash hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check and place it in the thickest part of the food.
Don’t spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use two separate cutting boards for raw chicken, meats and seafood; and the other for fruits and vegetables. Wash boards completely with soap and warm water between each use to kill germs.
For more, visit cdc.gov/salmonella/infantis-10-18/index.html.