Public health officials are investigating the source of a salmonella outbreak after more than 100 cases were reported in 25 states, including Illinois, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Sept. 15, the CDC has identified 127 people across half of U.S. states infected with the salmonella oranienburg strain, but the agency said the true number of sick people may be much higher, according to a notice issued on Sept. 17.
“Many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella,” the CDC said in the notice posted to their website.
Public health officials have yet to determine the cause of the infections and are continuing to interview people about the foods they ate in the week prior to their first symptoms.
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However, some groups of people who ate at the same restaurant prior to their illness have been identified in multiple states, which may help identify common food items they ate.
Texas has seen the most reported cases, with 45 identified, followed by Minnesota with 13. Other states include Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Kansas, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, North and South Carolina, Nebraska, Utah and Oklahoma.
The ages of the sick range from less than 1 to 82 years old and 59% are female. Additionally, 18 hospitalizations were reported among the 49 cases with available information.
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The agency also said it takes three to four weeks to conclude if a sick individual is part of an outbreak, so some recent illnesses may not yet be reported.
The CDC is encouraging individuals who have symptoms of salmonella to contact their healthcare provider and report any illness to the health department.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, stomach cramps, excessive vomiting and signs of dehydration. In most cases, people recover without medical care after four to seven days. Some serious cases require hospitalization.
To avoid getting sick with salmonella, the CDC recommends four safety measures when preparing food: washing hands, utensils and surfaces, separating raw food, using a food thermometer and refrigerating perishables within two hours.
Every year, salmonella causes about 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States, according to the CDC.