Multi-State Salmonella Infantis Outbreak Linked to Pet Foods

Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have been linked to human salmonella infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with state and local health departments, continue to investigate an ongoing multistate outbreak of human Salmonella infantis infections. The investigators are using DNA “fingerprints” of the bacteria to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. The outbreak strain is rare and typically less than three cases are reported each month.

So far, 14 people with the outbreak strain of Salmonella infantis have been reported from nine states: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1). It appears that the illnesses began between October 8, 2011 and April 22, 2012.  Five victims have been hospitalized and, luckily, no deaths have been reported.

Officials in several states have tracked infections to unopened bags of dry dog food.  The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected during routine retail testing. Investigators were able to match recent cases of human illness with the same Salmonella infantis “fingerprint” found in their tests.

Ohio public health and agriculture officials also collected and tested dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. The outbreak strain of Salmonella infantis was found in Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and in an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store. A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by the FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded salmonella.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and regulatory investigations are ongoing to identify if other brands of dry dog food produced at this facility may be linked to human illnesses.

The most common symptoms of salmonella infection are diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps which develop 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without the need for treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

If you think you might have become ill after coming into contact with Diamond brand dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food, contact your doctor. If you were recently diagnosed with salmonella shortly after exposure to recalled dry dog food products and want to discuss this matter further, I can provide you with information regarding the facts of your potential claim.


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