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First Word From Federal Government On 4-Month Old Salmonella Outbreak

CDC, FDA, FSIS The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) all have tremendous public relations programs  to communicate with the public.

However, once or twice a year, the federal government’s three top food safety agencies appear more as three blind mice.    The first official word from the mice on the ongoing multistate outbreak of human infections due to Salmonella Typhimurium has now appeared on CDC’s website.  First public announcement about this outbreak came from the State of Ohio.

CDC did not add much  to what was already known.  Here’s the money quote:

As of Wednesday, January 7, 2009, 388 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 42 states. Among the 372 persons with dates available, illnesses began between September 3 and December 29, 2008, with most illnesses beginning after October 1, 2008. Patients range in age from <1 to 103 years; 48 percent are female. Among persons with available information,18 percent were hospitalized.

CDC and the other mice say they are "vigorously working to identify the specific contaminated product."  CDC’s next update on the outbreak that dates back to last October will be on January 15th.  (A list of the 42 states would be nice to see.)

There’s not much else now on CDC’s website, but go here for it.