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Ongoing Turkey Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 12 In New York, First Death Reported

Thanksgiving turkey.
Thanksgiving turkey. Photo Credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the first death has been reported in a monthslong salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey that has sickened more than 160 people nationwide.

The death occurred in California and was reported on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Twelve people have fallen ill in New York and three in Connecticut. A total of 165 have been sickened in 35 states since the outbreak began in mid-July.

The CDC said consumers and retailers should properly cook turkey before consumption and that it was not recommending people avoid turkey products altogether. A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified.

In interviews, ill people reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. The CDC advisory is available here.

The CDC is advising consumers to take the following steps:

Since Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another, wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.

  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

The illness usually lasts 4-7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

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