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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Feb 6;58(4):85-90.

Multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections associated with peanut butter and peanut butter-containing products--United States, 2008-2009.


On November 25, 2008, an epidemiologic assessment began of a growing cluster of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium isolates that shared the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern in PulseNet. As of January 28, 2009, 529 persons from 43 states and one person from Canada had been reported infected with the outbreak strain. This report is an interim summary of results from ongoing epidemiologic studies and recall and control activities by CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local public health agencies. Confirmed, reported onset of illness dates have ranged from September 1, 2008, to January 16, 2009. A total of 116 patients were reported hospitalized, and the infection might have contributed to eight deaths. Sequential case-control studies have indicated significant associations between illness and consumption of any peanut butter (matched odds ratio [mOR] = 2.53), and specific brands of prepackaged peanut butter crackers (mOR = 12.25), but no association with national brand jarred peanut butter sold in grocery stores. Epidemiologic and laboratory findings indicate that peanut butter and peanut paste produced at one plant are the source of the outbreak. These products also are ingredients in many foods produced and distributed by other companies. This outbreak highlights the complexities of "ingredient-driven" outbreaks and the importance of rapid outbreak detection and investigation. Consumers are advised to discard and not eat products that have been recalled.

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