Information updated on CDC website as of July 3, 2007:
Public health officials in OutbreakNet (the network of epidemiologists and other public health officials, facilitated by CDC, who investigate outbreaks of foodborne, waterborne, and other enteric illnesses nationwide) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Wandsworth infections. Salmonella Wandsworth is a rare strain of Salmonella.
Interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons show that consumption of Robert’s American Gourmet brand Veggie Booty was statistically associated with illness and therefore the most likely source of the outbreak.
As of July 3 at 11AM ET, 57 persons infected with Salmonella Wandsworth have been reported to CDC from 18 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin. Among the patients for whom clinical information is available, 76% developed bloody diarrhea and 10% were hospitalized. No deaths have been attributed to this infection. Onset dates, which are known for 49 patients, ranged from March 4, 2007 to June 15, 2007. The number of cases has gradually increased, with only 8 cases reported from 6 states before May 1, 2007. Health department and CDC investigators worked for weeks conducting interviews with parents of ill children to develop theories about possible sources of infection.
A multi-state case-control study demonstrated a strong association between illness and consumption of Veggie Booty, a snack of puffed rice and corn with a vegetable coating. CDC OutbreakNet staff shared this information with colleagues at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 27. After being informed about the outbreak by FDA, the company that manufactures the product issued a voluntary recall on June 28. Persons are advised to discard any product in their possession.
OutbreakNet officials at CDC and in state and local health departments, FDA, and the marketing and manufacturing companies are working collaboratively to learn more about production of Veggie Booty to determine how it may have become contaminated. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Laboratory has isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Wandsworth from a sealed bag of Veggie Booty obtained from a store. Cultures of four other sealed bags of Veggie Booty by this laboratory have also yielded Salmonella; determination of whether these isolates are the outbreak strain is in progress.
On July 2, the company expanded the recall to include Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks. This was done due to the company’s concern that Veggie Booty and Super Veggie Tings share ingredients that could be contaminated. Persons should discard any Veggie Tings in their possession. CDC is not aware of any human illnesses associated with the consumption of Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks.
Persons who think they may have become ill from eating Veggie Booty or Super Veggie Tings are advised to consult their health care provider. Infection with Salmonella is diagnosed by culture of a stool sample.
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, often with fever and abdominal cramps, 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, sometimes the illness is so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.