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Salmonella Blog Surveillance & Analysis on Salmonella News & Outbreaks

Blue Lobster Farms Sickening Children with Salmonella Frogs Since 2009

As of July 18, 2011, a total of 241 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 42 states since April 1, 2009. The number of ill person identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (5), Alabama (2), Arizona (10), California (21), Colorado (12), Connecticut (3), Florida (1), Georgia (4), Idaho (5), Illinois (10), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (3), Massachusetts (7), Maryland (5), Michigan (6), Minnesota (1), Missouri (5), Mississippi (1), Montana (2), North Carolina (1), Nebraska (2), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (5), New Mexico (2), Nevada (4), New York (8), Ohio (7), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (17), Rhode Island (1), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (4), Texas (5), Utah (19), Virginia (11), Vermont (1), Washington (24), Wisconsin (4) and West Virginia (1).

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Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began April 9, 2009. Infected individuals range in age from less than 1 year old to 76 years old. Sixty-nine percent of patients are younger than 10 years, and the median age is 5 years old. Fifty-two percent of patients are female. Among ill persons, 30% were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

In 2009, samples taken from aquariums containing aquatic frogs in four homes of ill persons yielded the outbreak strain. Environmental samples from two African dwarf frog distributors who obtain their frogs from Blue Lobster Farms yielded the outbreak strain. In March 2011, testing conducted by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center Laboratory of a water sample collected from an aquarium containing African dwarf frogs in the household of a sick infant also identified the outbreak strain. In April 2011, testing conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health from a swab of an African dwarf frog and a water sample and rocks collected from the frog’s aquarium—all from the household of a sick child—identified the outbreak strain.