090910_map.jpgAs of August 27, 2010, a total of 44 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Chester have been reported from 18 states since April 11, 2010. The number of ill people identified in each state with this strain is as follows: AK (1), CA (5), CO (2), GA (8), IL (1), KY (1), MA (2), MN (2), MO (1), NC (1), OK (1), OR (2), SC (2), TN (1), TX (3), UT (3), VA (4), and WA (4). Among those for whom information is available about when symptoms started, illnesses began between April 4, 2010 and June 16, 2010. Case-patients ranged in age from <1 to 88 years old, and the median age was 36 years. Fifty-four percent of patients were female. Among the 43 patients with available hospitalization information, 16 (37%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Collaborative investigative efforts of officials in many local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies linked this outbreak to Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken & Rice single-serve frozen entrées. During June 14-18, 2010, CDC and public health officials in multiple states conducted an epidemiologic study by comparing foods eaten by 19 ill and 22 well persons. Analysis of this study suggested that eating a Marie Callender’s frozen meal was a source of illness. Ill persons (89%) were significantly more likely than well persons (14%) to report eating a frozen meal. All ill persons (100%) who ate frozen meals reported eating a Marie Callender’s frozen meal.