The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided an update on the current salmonella outbreak Dec. 8. The administration is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as New York officials to investigate the cause of the outbreak, which has been linked to bean sprouts grown and distributed by Wonton Foods, Inc.
The CDC reported 87 people in 11 states have been infected with salmonella linked to the sprouts as of Dec. 2. No deaths have been reported, but 27 percent of people have been hospitalized.
Worry regarding antibiotic resistance
The growing use of antibiotics in the U.S. has researchers concerned that foodborne illnesses such as salmonella will become resistant to commonly used treatments. The possibility of antibiotic resistance caused the CDC to collect salmonella isolates from three infected persons and test the strains. All three isolates could be treated by antibiotics.
According to the federal agencies, Wonton Foods has fully cooperated with their investigations. On Nov. 21, the food manufacturer agreed to destroy all remaining sprout products and conduct a thorough cleaning of their facility. Since the sanitization and the shelf life of any affected bean sprouts has passed, Wonton Foods has resumed distributing products around the U.S.
Wonton Foods never issued a recall for the contaminated sprouts.
Symptoms of salmonella
The number of people becoming ill from salmonella due to the bean sprouts should decrease, as the shelf life of the products was 12 days. However, salmonella is a serious foodborne illness that can be found on a variety of foods.
Common signs of salmonella are diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people are able to stay hydrated and recover at home, but salmonella can cause severe cramping and dehydration, requiring hospitalization.
Children have the highest risk of becoming ill from salmonella, as well as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.