Which States Have a Salmonella Outbreak? Half of U.S. States Affected As 127 Fall Ill

At least 127 people have fallen ill with Salmonella infections across 25 states in the U.S. as part of a recent outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the figures in an investigation notice on September 17, and stated that the cause of the outbreak is not currently known.

The health agency also said 18 people had been hospitalized at that time, though none had died. The investigation is ongoing.

According to CDC data at least one case has been reported in the following states: California, Utah, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

The two biggest outbreaks appear to have occurred in Texas and Minnesota, where 45 people and 13 people have fallen ill, respectively.

However, these figures may not provide an accurate count as many people recover without medical care and are not tested for the infection. Additionally, it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of a particular outbreak.

Salmonella are a type of bacteria that can make people sick and are found in a variety of foods including meat and vegetables. Chicken is a major source of illness, though recent outbreaks have also been linked to foods like ground turkey and beef, mushrooms, and peaches.

Sometimes, foods can be recalled if they are linked to an outbreak.

While most people recover within a week without antibiotic treatment, others may need to be hospitalized. People are more likely to be infected if they are under five, 65 and over, or have weakened immune systems.

This current outbreak is being caused by a strain of Salmonella known as Salmonella Oranienburg.

Data on the outbreak has been gathered for weeks. The CDC identified 20 cases on September 2, and said infections have since "grown rapidly."

Sick people have ranged in age from less than one year old to 82 years old with a median age of 33, and 59 percent have been female.

The health agency is encouraging people to talk to their healthcare provider right away if they have symptoms of a Salmonella infection, including diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit; diarrhea for more than three days; bloody diarrhea; vomiting so much that they cannot keep liquids down; and signs of dehydration. Symptoms tend to start between six hours and six days after infection.

People should also write down what they had eaten in the week before they started to get sick, the CDC notes.

People can help prevent Salmonella infections with four food hygiene steps outlined by the health agency: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

The cleaning step includes cleaning hands, utensils and surfaces often and rinsing fruits and vegetables. People should also separate food that won't be cooked from raw food. Food should be cooked to a temperature high enough to kill germs. And perishable foods should be refrigerated within one to two hours.

More information on food hygiene and Salmonella can be found on the CDC's website here.

Woman holding stomach
A stock photo shows a woman holding her stomach as if ill. Salmonella can cause symptoms including diarrhea. Krisanapong Detraphiphat/Getty