CDC: Raw turkey salmonella outbreak in 26 states could be 'widespread' in turkey industry

A frozen turkey is pictured Jan. 12, 2008. (Collin Anderson / CC BY 2.0 via MGN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonella linked to raw turkey.

The outbreak has reported cases 90 cases in 26 states, sending 40 people to the hospital.

Texas, Minnesota, Illinois and New York have reported the highest totals, accounting for 38 of the cases. Other states in the outbreak include California, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

The CDC says raw turkey products from a variety of sources have been contaminated with salmonella. People who have fallen ill report eating a variety of types and brands of turkey purchased from different locations. Two people have even reported becoming ill from raw turkey pet food.

The salmonella strain has also been detected in live turkeys. Investigators say since no single or common supplier has been identified, the strain could be widespread in the turkey industry.

However, the CDC is not advising consumers to stop eating properly cooked turkey and it is not advising retailers to stop selling raw turkey products.

Sixty-one percent of people who have become ill report preparing or eating turkey products that were purchased raw, including ground turkey.

The CDC is advising consumers who handle raw turkey to wash their hands well and clean surfaces wherever turkey is handled. It is also urging consumers to cook turkey thoroughly to kill any germs.

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