BALTIMORE (CNN/WJZ) — With Thanksgiving just a week away, 74 more cases of salmonella, including 1 death, have been linked to raw turkey products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC announced the outbreak in July, but more people have gotten sick, bringing the total to 164 in 35 states. One person in California has died, and 63 people have been hospitalized.
A dozen cases have been linked to the DMV — three in Maryland, 8 in Virginia and one case in Delaware.
The outbreak started in November 2017. It’s unclear where the turkey at the center of this outbreak came from, as there doesn’t appear to be one centralized distributor, the agency said. This could mean that “it might be widespread in the turkey industry.”
Lab tests show that the salmonella came from a variety of products, including ground turkey and turkey patties. Tests showed that it’s also been in live turkeys and pet food.
The US Department of Agriculture and the CDC have been working with the industry, asking what steps could be taken to reduce this kind of contamination, and the investigation is ongoing.
“Most people get sick between 12 and 72 hours after coming into contact with salmonella bacteria,” the CDC’s Dr. Colin Basler told CBS News. “Most people get diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and a fever.”
Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps, and they usually last four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment. In rare cases, the infection can cause death if a patient is not treated promptly with antibiotics.
There are an estimated 1.2 million salmonella cases in the United States annually, and various foods are to blame for about 1 million of those illnesses, according to the CDC.
The CDC said that if you plan to handle raw turkey, make sure you are extra careful: Wash your hands after touching it. Cook products thoroughly to avoid getting sick. Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
“We want to make sure people areafter handling raw turkey and making sure people are cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees,” Basler said. “If you cook turkey to the internal temperature of 165 degrees this strain of salmonella should die.”
Here are some other tips from the CDC:
- Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
- Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
- Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
- Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.
- CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.
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