Salmonella outbreak spreads, but not yet to our region

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October 9, 2013 2:40:38 PM PDT
Nearly 300 people in 18 states have become sick by the salmonella outbreak. There are no known cases are in our area, but government investigators don't know the full scope of the outbreak, and they're not working at full capacity.

They do know the chicken came from Foster Farms in California. Nearly half of those sickened have been hospitalized, which is higher than usual for salmonella. And there are seven strains involved - some of them are drug-resistant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought 10 of its 9,000 furloughed workers back to deal with this outbreak. But ABC's chief medical editor Dr. Richard Besser is worried that's not enough, and the nation's health safety net is gone.

Dr. Besser explains, "If someone discovers an outbreak, they can bring people back to respond, but they don't have the team on board watching for disease at that early stage."

Although Foster Farms issued a safety alert, there has been no recall because the company says the chicken is safe if it's cooked properly.

Even if you don't have this chicken, it's still important to handle any chicken carefully, since over half has some kind of bacteria.

When you are preparing chicken, don't use the same utensils, cutting boards, or plates you use for other foods. Wash your hands often, but don't wash the chicken - that spreads bacteria. And always cook it to 165 degrees inside and check it with a meat thermometer.


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