FDA determines seafood sold in Colorado is behind 14-state Salmonella outbreak

FDA determines seafood sold in Colorado is behind 14-state Salmonella outbreak

More people are sick, and a seafood recall has been initiated, in an outbreak of Salmonella Thompson infections that stretches across 14 states, federal officials announced this evening.

“Colorado state health officials and FDA traced the source of seafood served at restaurants and sold at grocery stores in Colorado where sick people ate or shopped. FDA determined that Northeast Seafood Products of Denver, Colorado, was the supplier of seafood to most of these locations,” according to an outbreak announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal and state officials have been investigating the outbreak for weeks, but have just determined a link between the seafood and the illnesses. There are now 102 people infected, with 19 so ill that they had to be admitted to hospitals. No deaths have been reported as of today.

Most of the sick people, 82, live in Colorado with the majority of the remainder having traveled to Colorado and eaten seafood there before becoming ill. Only two people did not report travel to Colorado in the week before they got sick. Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11 to Sept. 7, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Food and Drug Administration reported this evening that as part of it’s investigation it collected samples from Northeast Seafood Products Inc. on Oct. 7. Test results showed the samples were positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Thompson. 

The FDA is reporting that the business has temporarily closed and has recalled products from unspecified restaurants, as well as from Albertsons, Safeway, and Sprouts supermarkets in Colorado. The recalled products are: 

  • Haddock
  • Monkfish 
  • Bone-in Trout 
  • Grouper 
  • Red Snapper 
  • Red Rock Cod
  • Ocean Perch 
  • Pacific Cod 
  • Halibut 
  • Coho Salmon 
  • Atlantic Salmon Portions 
  • Lane Snapper 
  • Tilapia 
  • All Natural Salmon Fillet
  • Pacific Sole
  • Farm Raised Striped Bass 

The “Pacific Cod” sold through Sprouts is not being recalled. A full list of recalled products will soon be available on FDA’s website.

Outbreak details

The first illness onset date is May 11, but the majority of the people became sick between June 27 and Sept. 7

Sick people range in age from less than 1 to 85 years old, with a median age of 39. Slightly more than half, 53 percent, are female. Of 89 people with information available, 19 have been hospitalized.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Among 62 people interviewed so far, 51 reported eating seafood. Sick people reported eating a variety of seafood both raw as sushi and cooked.

The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses, according to the CDC. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

About Salmonella infections

Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products or eaten seafood at Colorado restaurants and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. 

Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

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