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Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak in Washington and Oregon Linked to Foster Farms Chicken: CDC

Update Date: Feb 15, 2013 06:31 AM EST

About 124 persons have now been infected with outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in 12 states across the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The infection outbreak is now being investigated and health officials have found it to be linked with Foster Farms brand chicken in Washington and Oregon; however, there haven't been any product recalls.

Most of the infections have occurred in two states - Washington (56) and Oregon (38), CDC said. No deaths have been reported so far.

Recent investigation has traced these infections to chicken consumption. Reports from Washington and Oregon show that Foster Farms brand chicken may be the most likely source of the Salmonella Heidelberg infection outbreak.  

"Approximately 81% of ill persons interviewed report consuming chicken in the week before becoming ill. Investigations are ongoing to determine the specific type and source of chicken that might be linked with illness," said CDC in a statement.

Foster Farms have issued a statement saying that they haven't recalled any product due to reports of the Salmonella outbreak.

"Foster Farms reminds consumers that raw poultry should not be allowed to cross-contaminate other foods or food preparation surfaces. All raw poultry products should be prepared according to package guidelines and cooked to at least an internal temperature of 165 degrees F to guarantee that they have been fully cooked," Foster Farm said.

The lower number of infections reported in the last few months may be a result of "winter lull" in Salmonella infections. People who have been infected with Salmonella may show symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, CDC said.

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