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Ground turkey salmonella toll climbs to 111, CDC says

At least 111 people in 31 states have been sickened with salmonella in an ongoing outbreak of food poisoning tied to ground turkey manufactured by meat giant Cargill. One person has died.

The new total reflects cases reported between Feb. 27 and Aug. 9 with both an original outbreak strain of salmonella and a second closely related strain, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States with the highest number of victims include Texas, with 15 cases, Illinois with 14 cases and Michigan with 12 cases.

On Aug. 3, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. of Springdale, Ark., recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey manufactured and sold in forms from 10-pound "chubs" to ground turkey patties. Retailers include grocers Kroger, Safeway and Giant Eagle, among others. For a full list of recalled products, click here.

The meat appears to be contaminated with the original outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg and a second, closely related strain identified through so-called genetic fingerprint tests. The strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several common antibiotics, making infections more difficult to treat. Of 73 patients who've provided complete information, 27 people, or more than a third, have been hospitalized because of their infections, CDC said.

Patients range in age from younger than 1 to 89, with a median age of 21. The person who died was a woman from Sacramento, Calif., who was older than 65, state health officials said.

Stores nationwide continue to recall the affected items, but the meat products main remain in consumers' homes. CDC officials urge consumers not to eat the products.

Consumers should return suspect turkey products to grocery stores or discard the meat, CDC suggests. People should use good food handling techniques, including washing hands and surfaces with hot, soapy water. Cooking ground turkey to 165 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the bacteria.