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Salmonella from raw chicken has made 92 people sick across 29 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.
The CDC says 21 people are sick enough to be hospitalized, although no one has died. The salmonella strain making people sick is resistant to several of the antibiotics usually used to treat infection.
“The outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry,” the CDC said in a statement.
“A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified.”
Salmonella bacteria live in chickens and other animals and raw chicken, as well as eggs, are common sources.
Because no common supplier has been found, the CDC cannot steer people away from any particular source of raw chicken.
Cooking chicken thoroughly can destroy the bacteria.
“Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning,” the CDC said. “CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken products, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products. General ways you can prevent Salmonella infection include good handwashing and cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F.”
Salmonella is very common, and usually causes mild upset stomach, but it can be serious in older people, very young children and people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients.
The CDC cautioned doctors that this strain resists the effects of common antibiotics, and said many of the patients also had urinary tract infections. They said doctors treating patients with suspected salmonella should test to make sure any antibiotics they used would actually treat the infection.