Ask Dr. Nandi: One dead, eight hospitalized due to salmonella linked to ground beef

Posted at 7:15 PM, Nov 04, 2019

A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella linked to ground beef has sickened 10 people. Eight have been hospitalized and one has died. No single common source has been named yet, but the CDC has identified the type of salmonella and it’s a strain that’s often found in cattle.

It’s called Salmonella Dublin and it’s a dangerous bacteria. When it infects cattle, it can cause serious disease and death. And when people get sick with this strain, they can have more bloodstream infections and longer hospital stays.

Unfortunately, Salmonella Dublin has increased in recent years and the infection can be difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance.

When people ingest Salmonella bacteria, it colonizes in the intestines. It can then spread to the bloodstream if the bacteria invade lymphoid tissues in the gut. And once it’s in your bloodstream, it can infect organs and bodily tissue, like the tissue around your brain and spinal cord, or the lining of your heart or valves.

To show how serious this is, most Salmonella infections usually have a hospitalization rate of about 20%. But so far, this strain has a rate of 89% which indicates that these illnesses may be more severe.

The CDC is not asking folks to avoid ground beef. Instead, they’re stressing safety. So here’s what you need to know:

  1. To avoid possible germs, don’t eat raw or undercooked ground beef.
  2. After handling ground beef, wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. And scrub anything that came into contact with the meat with hot soapy water.
  3. When cooking, use a food thermometer. Your meat is considered safe to eat once the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze your raw meat within two hours after you buy it. And once it’s cooked, eat any leftovers with 3 to 4 days.

Now Michigan so far has not been listed in the multi-state outbreak. But it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks before an illness is reported. So please take extra precautions while the CDC investigates.