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33 Sickened by Salmonella Linked to Ground Beef: CDC

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- A salmonella outbreak that has sickened 33 people in seven states appears to be linked to recalled ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers of illnesses reported in each state are: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (14), Rhode Island (1), Virginia (2) and Vermont (10). Eleven people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

The ages of the patients ranged from 12 years to 101 years, the CDC said, and illnesses arose between June 6 to June 26. According to the agency, it takes an average of two to three weeks between the time a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, which means that illnesses that occurred after June 29 might not be reported yet.

Federal and state investigators were able to link illnesses in five patients with ground beef products produced by a single Cargill Meat Solutions facility.

On July 22, Cargill recalled nearly 30,000 pounds of fresh ground beef products. The products carry the establishment number "EST. 9400" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The use-by dates of the products have passed and they are no longer available in grocery stores. Officials are concerned, however, that some of the recalled products may still be in consumers' freezers.

Consumers should check their refrigerators and freezers for the recalled products, which were sold under different brand names and may not bear the "EST. 9400" on the labeling. The only grocery-store chain known to have sold the contaminated meat is Hannaford Supermarkets, which operates about 180 stores across the northeastern United States, according to The New York Times.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service website has a list of stores that sold the recalled products.

Preliminary test results indicate that the salmonella strain involved in this outbreak is susceptible to commonly prescribed antibiotics, the CDC said.

The agency said the investigation is continuing and updates will be released to the public as information becomes available.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about food and salmonella.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, July 23, 2012; July 23, 2012, The New York Times

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