According to the Texas Department of Health Services (TDHS), an investigation into about 12 cases of salmonella is being undertaken in Dallam and Hartley counties, both located in the Texas Panhandle, in the northwest corner of Texas on the New Mexico and Oklahoma borders. According to the director of Dalhart Coon Memorial Hospital’s infectious control program, interviews are underway to find a common food or other common salmonella source. In addition to food, which is the most likely source, this could include a common source of water or exposure to animals, such as a petting zoo or county fair.
At present, TDHS’s Christine Mann, a spokesperson, is not releasing any additional information. The serotype of the salmonella infections has not yet been made public, but further testing of the isolates is ongoing. The isolates, which are routinely forwarded to TDHS, will be subjected to advanced stereotyping which will establish a PFGE baseline for identifying which victims are linked by conclusive “DNA fingerprinting” to the outbreak. By conclusively identifying linked illnesses, investigators will have a basis for identifying what food or source spread this pathogen in the two-county region.
It remains possible that the number of victims will increase as more Dallam and Hartley victims are identified, or if victims in Oklahoma or New Mexico are linked to this outbreak once the PFGE data is uploaded into PulseNet, the national database. If so, this will become a multi-state outbreak, and likely involve federal health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Texas-based salmonella lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates are available to answer any questions you or a loved one may have about the Dallam and Hartley County salmonella outbreak at 1-888-335-4901.