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N Engl J Med. 2012 May 31;366(22):2065-73. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1111818.

Outbreak of salmonellosis linked to live poultry from a mail-order hatchery.

Author information

  • 1Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. ngaffga@cdc.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Outbreaks of human salmonella infections are increasingly associated with contact with live poultry, but effective control measures are elusive. In 2005, a cluster of human salmonella Montevideo infections with a rare pattern on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (the outbreak strain) was identified by PulseNet, a national subtyping network.

METHODS:

In cooperation with public health and animal health agencies, we conducted multistate investigations involving patient interviews, trace-back investigations, and environmental testing at a mail-order hatchery linked to the outbreak in order to identify the source of infections and prevent additional illnesses. A case was defined as an infection with the outbreak strain between 2004 and 2011.

RESULTS:

From 2004 through 2011, we identified 316 cases in 43 states. The median age of the patient was 4 years. Interviews were completed with 156 patients (or their caretakers) (49%), and 36 of these patients (23%) were hospitalized. Among the 145 patients for whom information was available, 80 (55%) had bloody diarrhea. Information on contact with live young poultry was available for 159 patients, and 122 of these patients (77%) reported having such contact. A mail-order hatchery in the western United States was identified in 81% of the trace-back investigations, and the outbreak strain was isolated from samples collected at the hatchery. After interventions at the hatchery, the number of human infections declined, but transmission continued.

CONCLUSIONS:

We identified a prolonged multistate outbreak of salmonellosis, predominantly affecting young children and associated with contact with live young poultry from a mail-order hatchery. Interventions performed at the hatchery reduced, but did not eliminate, associated human infections, demonstrating the difficulty of eliminating salmonella transmission from live poultry.

PMID:
22646629
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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