The CDC issued a report on an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg, which had infected 317 people in 20 states and Puerto Rico as of Oct. 11.
Of those infected, 42% had been hospitalized, with no deaths reported, and 13% developed sepsis as the result of their illness. The hospitalization rate is about double the usual rate in a salmonella outbreak, while the rate of sepsis is up from 5% in typical cases.
The outbreak strains are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics, according to the notice. This antibiotic resistance may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
Nearly three-quarters of the reported cases have been in California, site of the company suspected of preparing the chicken that is believed to be the source of the illness.
According to the CDC notice: Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak.
The CDC has had less capacity than usual to monitor foodborne illnesses because of the federal government shutdown, which has been in effect since Oct. 1. The agency recalled 30 staff members in response to the outbreak.
Information on the outbreak: www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13/index.html