Salmonella outbreak spreading to 14 US states linked to seafood in Colorado

Sick people reported eating a variety of seafood both raw as sushi and cooked. PHOTO: AFP

DENVER (XINHUA) - A salmonella outbreak that sickened 109 people in 14 US states has been linked to the seafood sold in Colorado's capital city of Denver, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday (Oct 9).

"No deaths have been reported but 19 were so ill that they had to be admitted to hospitals," Food Safety News, an online news publication focusing on food safety, reported about the outbreak, saying the first illness onset date is May 11 and the majority of the people became sick between June 27 and Sept 7.

"Colorado state health officials and FDA traced the source of seafood served at restaurants and sold at grocery stores in Colorado where sick people ate or shopped," the CDC announced.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that Northeast Seafood Products of Denver, Colorado was the supplier of fish to seafood counters at supermarkets including Albertsons, Safeway or Sprouts in Colorado and advised customers who have purchased the products "not to eat it and return it to the store for a refund." The Colorado Department of Health and Environment was investigating the Salmonella Thompson outbreak as well, reported Friday, but had no idea about the cause or precise origin of the outbreak.

The CDC published a list of 17 fish groups Friday including Haddock, Monkfish, Tilapia, Pacific Sole and Cod, Salmon, Perch, Snapper Halibut, and Grouper.

"The CDC advises anyone who has recalled products at home to throw them away and wash surfaces or containers that may have touched them," the statement read.

The sick people aged from younger than 1 to 85 years old, with a median age of 39, according to the CDC. Slightly more than half, or 53 per cent, are female.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick.

Among 62 people interviewed so far, the report noted, 51 reported eating seafood. Sick people reported eating a variety of seafood both raw as sushi and cooked.

"The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses," the CDC said.

This is because many people recovered without medical care and were not tested for Salmonella, according to the CDC.

In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak, it added.

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