Fifteen Orange County residents are among hundreds of people nationwide who have been sickened by a salmonella outbreak tied to Foster Farms chicken that was processed in California. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, seven out of the 15 Orange County food poisoning victims were hospitalized. The first Orange County case related to this outbreak was reported in March and the most recent one was reported in August. County health officials told the Register that they expect to see more cases as the situation develops.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose workers have been furloughed for the most part because of the government shutdown, are calling back some of their employees to track this outbreak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert on Monday linking the outbreak to Foster Farms products. So far, a total of 278 cases have been reported in 18 states. No fatalities have been reported. Among the seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that have made consumers ill, several are also resistant to antibiotics, health officials say.
Symptoms of Salmonella Poisoning
Common symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that can develop within 12 to 72 hours. Most patients recover without any treatment. However, some patients require antibiotics if the infection spreads from the intestines to the blood stream. The elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable.
What Consumers Should Watch For
Investigators say that the chicken linked to the outbreak was mostly sold in California, Oregon and Washington. So far, there has been no recall. Here are some steps you could take to prevent a salmonella infection:
- Keep raw poultry out of contact with other foods.
- Make sure that kitchen counters are surfaces are clean and free of contamination.
- Meats should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Hands should be thoroughly washed after handling raw chicken.
If you suspect you are suffering from food poisoning, please contact your local healthcare agency. Make sure that the suspect food is isolated and preserved for a lab exam. If you would like more information about your legal rights and options, please contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who has experience handling salmonella poisoning cases.