Dangerous salmonella outbreak in NJ — What is causing it?
🔺 The CDC is warning about a salmonella outbreak in New Jersey
🔺 Illness has been tracked back to ground beef
🔺 Some of the sick have needed hospitalization
Federal health officials are warning of a salmonella outbreak in New Jersey and three other states.
At least nine people in New Jersey have reported symptoms, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect the actual numbers are much higher due to unreported sickness.
Officials believe this current outbreak is linked to ground beef, possibly purchased at ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Illnesses have also been reported to Massachusetts.
The CDC says ground beef is the only food consumed by all of the people who reported symptoms. Some recalled they purchased 80% lean ground beef at ShopRite.
At this time, no recall has been announced and the CDC has not established a definitive source for the infections.
Of those who have fallen ill, at least six have had to be hospitalized, but health officials did not say in which states.
Most people infected with Salmonella will recover without medical care, but the illness can be severe in some cases.
What are the symptoms of salmonella infection?
According to the CDC:
◼ Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
◼ Symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the bacteria.
◼ Most people recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days.
◼ Some people, especially children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems, may experience more severe illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization.
For more information about Salmonella, see the CDC's Salmonella Questions and Answers page.
When should I call the doctor?
The CDC says you should call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:
◼ Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
◼ Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
◼ Bloody diarrhea
◼ So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
◼ Signs of dehydration, such as:
◼ Not peeing much
◼ Dry mouth and throat
◼ Feeling dizzy when standing up
How do I prevent salmonella infection?
The CDC provides these food safety tips for preparing and serving ground beef:
◼ Wash any bowls, utensils, and surfaces that touch raw ground beef with soap and water before using them to prepare other foods.
◼ Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after preparing raw ground beef and before touching other kitchen items.
◼ When shopping, separate raw ground beef from other foods in your shopping cart and grocery bags. Place packages of raw ground beef into individual plastic bags to avoid cross-contamination.
◼ Keep raw ground beef separate from foods that will not be cooked.
Store raw ground beef in a container or sealed, leakproof bag on the lowest shelf in the fridge or freezer.
◼ Use a food thermometer to make sure you have cooked meat to a temperature high enough to kill germs. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F, and leftovers should be heated to an internal temperature of 165°
◼ Do not eat raw or undercooked ground beef.
◼ Raw ground beef that has been refrigerated should be used or frozen within 1 or 2 days.
◼ Refrigerate or freeze ground beef within 2 hours of cooking. If the food is exposed to temperatures hotter than 90°F, like a hot car or picnic, refrigerate or freeze within 1 hour.
◼ Freeze any meat that will not be used within a few days. Although freezing can help keep ground beef safe until you can cook it, it does not kill existing harmful germs.
◼ Thaw frozen ground beef in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
The warning over salmonella follows a similar warning about a severe parasitic outbreak in New Jersey that has been making people sick for weeks.
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