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Playing a different game of chicken than their elected leaders in D.C., a short-handed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is fighting an expanding outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella linked to poultry.
As reported in Infectious Disease Alert , 317 people had been infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella heidelberg as of October 11, 2013. While cases have occurred in 20 states and Puerto Rico, most of those ill (73%) have been reported from California.
As a result of the shutdown of the federal government, approximately 9000 of the 14,000 CDC employees were placed on furlough. On October 8th, however, 30 of the furloughed employees were recalled to assist in the response to the salmonella outbreak.
Among 310 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from March 1, 2013 to September 26, 2013. Those affected range in age from less than 1 year to 93 years, with a median age of 20 years; 51% were male. Hospitalization was felt necessary for 79 of 189 (42%) individuals for whom the information was available. Bloodstream infection was detected in 13% - a proportion more than twice as great as normally seen in Salmonella infections. There have been no deaths to date.
Based on pulsed filed gel electrophoresis, 7 strains of S. heidelberg have been identified as being involved in the outbreak. Resistance to commonly used antibiotics was frequent and multidrug resistance was seen in some.
-- Stan Deresinski, MD, FACP, clinical professor of medicine, Stanford University.
For more on this story see the November issue of IDA.