Five cases of Salmonella paratyphi illnesses in Clark County, WA, have led investigators to uncover a seven-state outbreak in which more than 30 people have been sickened, according to news reports.
The five cases were reported to Clark County Public Health on Aug. 29, an unusually high number for an area that typically reports three to eight cases of Salmonella illnesses a month. “The fact that we got five in one day was a big red flag,” Madison Riethman, an applied epidemiology fellow at Clark County Public Health, said during a meeting last week.
Interviews with the five victims did not reveal any commonalities, but testing performed by the state’s public health lab showed in early September that all five were sickened by the same Salmonella strain: Salmonella paratyphi.
Clark County health officials consulted with the Oregon Health Authority and discovered 12 people in Oregon who also had been sickened by Salmonella paratyphi. According to Riethman, an investigation revealed most of those sickened had eaten seafood, specifically raw fish.
By Sept. 15, the case had grown to 25 illnesses and included two cases in Hawaii and one in New Jersey. Lab testing soon thereafter matched cases in Texas, California and Florida to the outbreak. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the investigation at this point.
Six weeks later, the outbreak has grown to include at least thirty people in California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
Not a first for Salmonella paratyphi
What is Salmonella paratyphi?
Salmonella paratyphi (S. paratyphi) is one of the 2,500 strains of Salmonella, a bacteria that annually is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Salmonella paratyphi is related to Salmonella typhi (S. typhi), which can cause typhoid fever.
Symptoms of Salmonella paratyphi are generally milder than those produced by Salmonella typhi, which include:
- abdominal cramps
- loss of appetite
- skin rash.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by foodborne pathogens, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation for his clients. If you or a family member has become sick because of this outbreak, please call him at 612-337-6126, or complete the following: