Health & Food

Calif. resident dies from salmonella poisoning

Tuesday, August 02, 2011
One person has died and dozens of others sickened by a salmonella outbreak linked to eating ground turkey.

One person has died and dozens of others sickened by a salmonella outbreak linked to eating ground turkey. (KABC Photo)

State health officials say a California resident is the lone known death in a string of salmonella poisonings across the country linked to eating ground turkey meat. The government is still investigating who produced the meat and has not initiated a recall.

California Department of Public Health spokesman Mike Sicilia said Tuesday that the death was one of two cases of the illness reported in Sacramento County.

Four other cases of salmonella have been found in California, one each in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside and San Diego counties.

Seventy-six people in 26 states have been made sick from the same strain of the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cultures of ground turkey from four retail locations between March and June showed salmonella contamination.

According to the CDC, three of the samples were linked to the same production establishment.

The states with the highest number sickened were Michigan and Ohio, with 10 illnesses each. Nine illnesses were reported in Texas. Illinois had seven and Pennsylvania five.

The remaining states have between one and three reported illnesses linked to the outbreak, according to the CDC: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The Agriculture Department sent out an alert about the illnesses late last week, telling consumers to properly cook their turkey, which can decrease the chances of salmonella poisoning.

Ground turkey is considered safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. For turkey patties or burgers, internal temperatures on each side should be measured.

Other government advice includes:

  • Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase, one hour if temperatures in the house exceed 90 F.
  • Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry.

The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It is life-threatening to some with weakened immune systems.

Salmonella infections may last about a week and often don't require treatment other than drinking plenty of water and other fluids.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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