Investigators Haven't Been Able to Trace Salmonella

Publication: USA Today

Author: Elizabeth Weise


08/02/2011 - For months, federal and state officials have searched for the cause of an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella responsible for one death and 76 illnesses, but they have yet to trace it back to a producer. The closest they've been able to get is that it's linked to eating ground turkey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an investigation of the outbreak Monday night. The microbe involved is called salmonella Heidelberg. A DNA "fingerprint" of the bacteria shows it is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics. Because of this, people infected in this outbreak could be at higher risk for hospitalization, and the infection can be harder to treat.

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The origins of this specific antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella aren't pinned down, but turkey has somewhat high levels of antibiotic resistance, says Gail Hansen, a veterinarian with the Pew Charitable Trusts. Antibiotics are commonly given at low levels to turkeys and other animals to help them grow faster, she says.

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Read the full article Investigators Haven't Been Able to Trace Salmonella on USA Today's  Web site.

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