The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections that have caused 419 illnesses and 66 hospitalizations among 35 states, as of September 30, 2021. No deaths have been reported.
The first reported case occurred on August 3, 2021, and illnesses were reported through September 13, prompting an investigation. “The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC said in a statement. “This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.”
As part of the investigation, officials have collected food items from many of the restaurants where sick people reported eating and believe to have found a possible cause. “The outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg was found in a sample taken from a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime,” the CDC said, though the agency couldn’t absolutely determine the cause. “The sick person reported that the condiment container also contained onions, but none were left in the cup when it was tested.”
The ongoing investigation is considering this info in conjunction with other available data to help narrow the list of possible foods linked to the illness and is investigating whether the cilantro is truly the culprit.
Salmonella bacteria cause approximately 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year, according to the CDC.
As of Sept. 30, no recalls have been issued in connection with the outbreak.