Few salmonella cases in county

By staff of The Mountain Enterprise

There were two alerts about a national salmonella outbreak last week. So Kern County issued an update report about cases of salmonella illnesses here that are linked to the Salmonella Heidelberg cluster. Nationally, the infection has been associated with eating Foster Farms brand chicken.

In Kern County, three cases have been reported. The first case was reported in April, the second at the end of September and the third was reported in early October. All three cases are unrelated to each other, occurring in children who lived in three different areas of the county. One case was hospitalized and all three have fully recovered. Only one of the cases reported a history of eating chicken. 

Meanwhile, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation reported that Bailey’s Choice Dog Treats made in Waleska, Georgia has expanded a voluntary nationwide recall to include all packages of its chicken dog treats. The Georgia Department of Agriculture announced the recall because of possible contamination of the treats with salmonella bacteria.

No deaths of animals have been reported, but transfer of salmonella to the hands of those who touch the treats poses a threat to children, elders or those with compromised immune systems. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching chicken-based dog jerky.

If you have an affected package, dispose of the treats and contact Bailey’s Choice for a refund (770-881-0526, thomdo4570@gmail.com, www.baileyschoicetreats.com).

As of October 30 this year, Kern County has reported a total of 52 cases of salmonella, including the three associated with the Heidelberg cluster.
Overall for Kern County, reported cases of salmonella for 2013 are on the low end of average. During this same time period for 2008-2012, 50 to 85 cases were reported each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of October 29, 2013 a national total of 362 persons have been infected with the seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. The reports have come from 21 states and Puerto Rico.

Local, state and federal officials conducted epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations to establish the link with Foster Farms brand chicken.
Salmonella is a common foodborne illness. Chicken products should be cooked thoroughly, to at least 165 degrees. Take care to avoid cross contamination of food. Clean food preparation surfaces and your hands before and after handling poultry products. See www.foodsafety.gov for more about safe food handling.

This is part of the November 15, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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