Salmonella Outbreak Hits Miami-Dade (as Many CDC Workers Are on Furlough)

The nationwide salmonella outbreak has hit Miami-Dade County. Three cases were reported here in an outbreak that is believed to have started with a chicken producer all the way in California.

From the Associated Press:

The Florida Department of Health said Thursday they had been notified of three additional cases of salmonellosis in Florida residents linked to Foster Farms chicken by DNA fingerprinting. Three cases were in Miami-Dade County. The fourth was reported in Brevard.

Symptoms of the outbreak first started appearing two weeks ago. Most of the cases have been reported in California, but so far at least 17 states have reported residents with illnesses. Over 278 people have been affected, with 42 percent needing hospital attention.

The affected chicken meat comes from Foster Farms plants in California. However, the company has yet to recall the chicken.

As the Los Angeles Times explains, it didn't help that the federal government was in partial shutdown mode when the epidemic hit:

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the initial Public Health Alert, monitoring food-borne illnesses is the job of the CDC. Thanks to the Republican shutdown, the agency was operating with a skeleton crew when the outbreak appeared.

At that level, an agency official told Food Safety News, monitoring multiple disease outbreaks became "untenable." The CDC recalled 30 staff members Tuesday to bring its epidemiology and monitoring services back up to speed. It says now that the shutdown isn't affecting the investigation, but there's no question that it was late to the party.

Hey, but at least we're still sending broadcasts no one hears to Cuba during the shutdown.

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Kyle Munzenrieder