53 sick: Salmonella in raw fish, is anyone surprised

With my advancing age and lower immune strength, I don’t go for the raw seafood.

tuna.sushiI used to like the raw tuna, but now it’s seared.

I never liked sushi.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections possibly linked to sushi made from raw tuna. 

According to the CDC, 53 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 9 states: Arizona (10), California (31), Illinois (1), Mississippi (1), New Mexico (6), South Dakota (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1). Most of the ill people have been reported from states in the southwestern United States or reported travel to this area of the country. Among 46 persons with available information, 10 (22%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. At this time, the investigation has not conclusively identified a food source, but most ill people interviewed reported eating sushi containing raw tuna in the week before becoming ill.  At this time, a common brand or supplier of raw tuna has not been identified.

While local and state health officials continue to interview patients, the FDA is increasing its monitoring of tuna. Additionally, FDA is conducting a traceback investigation.  The FDA is evaluating and analyzing records to determine whether there is a common source of tuna.  In this effort, the FDA works with its investigational partners to identify clusters of people made ill in separate geographic areas and works to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source.  This is labor intensive and painstaking work, requiring the collection, review and analysis of hundreds and at times thousands of invoices and shipping documents.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

*As of May 21, 2015, a total of 53 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) have been reported from nine states.

Ten ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.  

*This outbreak is caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) bacteria.

The illness caused by this bacteria typically includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after an exposure. 

Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) does not cause paratyphoid fever, enteric fever, or typhoid fever.

*The investigation has not conclusively identified the source of this outbreak, but most ill people interviewed reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week before becoming ill.

In interviews, 34 (94%) of 36 ill people reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week before becoming ill.

At this time, a common brand or supplier of raw tuna linked to illnesses has not been identified, and there are no specific steps for restaurants, retailers, or consumers to take to protect their customers or themselves.