The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released an update into the investigation into Salmonella linked to imported raw tuna. According to the CDC, which is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health agencies in affected states, the nine-state outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi has yet to be traced to a single supplier. The investigation has, however, linked the illnesses to eating raw tuna in sushi in the days leading up to the onset of salmonellosis. In fact, 36 of the 37 victims (or 97%) interviewed reported eating sushi in the days leading up to their illness, which is far higher than the national average of 5%.

At present, no single brand has been identified, but the strain (known fully Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+)) is unique and the illnesses are considered to come from a single source up stream. Using PulseNet, a repository of positive food borne illness isolates, authorities have identified 53 victims so far matching this strain. The repository records the DNA “fingerprint” of each bacterium isolated from patients who test positive for Salmonella using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE.

The majority of the victims seem to be isolated in the southwest part of the nation, and even some of those who reside elsewhere report having travelled to this part of the country before becoming ill. California has the highest number of reported victims, with 31, followed by Arizona with 10, New Mexico with 6, and a single reported case in each of Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

According to CDC records, the illnesses span three months, with the earliest onset being recorded as March 5, 2015 and the latest having been recorded this month, on May 3. Other victims may not be in the system as it takes between 2 and 4 weeks for information gathered from hospitals and other health care specialists to be processed and uploaded into the data considered by the CDC. The victims span the full spectrum of ages, including one victim less than 1 year of age to one who is 83 – the median age is 31. Just under half are female, and about one in five have been hospitalized, which comports with what is known of this strain of salmonella.

According to Salmonella Lawyer Ron Simon, who represented victims of the last major national raw tuna Salmonella outbreak, “this looks as feels like the last outbreak.” Simon explains “the last outbreak was not linked to any particular sushi restaurant either, but was eventually tracked back to a common supplier of tuna used in spicy tuna rolls. The imported product was tuna scrape, which often looks like hamburger, and is a product of scrapping tuna off the bones of the fish after the fillets have been removed. In that last outbreak, the product was marked as requiring cooking prior to consumption but was served raw as part of spicy tuna rolls in many restaurants across the nation.” This outbreak is also reportedly linked to imported raw tuna, and like the last outbreak, will likely lead to substandard procedures and practices at fish processing facilities overseas. In the last outbreak, Salmonella lawyer Ron Simon filed a number of Salmonella Sushi Lawsuits to recover damages for his clients.

For more information about this or other food borne illness outbreaks, call the Salmonella lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates.