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posted on January 14, 2009 11:18

 

Idaho health officials are reporting that a Salmonella infection from a strain that has been linked to a multistate outbreak may have sickened at least 10 Idahoans and contributed to the death of an Eastern Idaho man over the age of 65.

Idaho health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA, and many other states to investigate a multistate outbreak of human infections due to Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. As of Monday, 410 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 43 states, including 10 from Idaho.

Officials are continuing to investigate the outbreak, but believe it may be attributed to peanut butter manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America and sold primarily to institutions through food service accounts. The peanut butter, distributed by King Nut Companies, is not sold directly to consumers and is not found in grocery stores. The company has since issued a voluntary recall for the product distributed under its label as well as Parnell’s Pride peanut butter.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the man who died,” says Dr. Randall Nett, epidemiologist. “Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may require hospitalizations and lead to complications, especially for infants, elderly people and those with impaired immune systems. We are continuing to work with the CDC and other states to trace the source of the infection. In the mean time, anyone who thinks they may have become ill from eating peanut butter is advised to consult a health care provider.”

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.

Public health investigators across the country have been looking for a source of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium infection since late last fall, but were unable to pinpoint peanut butter as the culprit; however, during the first week of January, Minnesota was able to detect the outbreak strain in an open container of peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America, suggesting a connection between consumption of this particular type of peanut butter and illness.  Investigations continue across the country.

The King Nut products included in the voluntary recall have lot codes beginning with “8.” No other King Nut products are currently included in this voluntary recall.

Clusters of infections in several states have been reported in schools and other institutions, such as long-term care facilities and hospitals and evidence suggests that King Nut peanut butter was served in some of those facilities.

Idaho health officials were able to determine that Salmonella cases here were linked to the outbreak through testing at the State Lab.

More information about the peanut butter recall can be found on the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/kingnut01_09.html.

 

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(Editors:  For more information or an interview, contact your local public health district or Emily Simnitt at 208-334-0693)