State officials issue advisories on raw chicken, deli ham


The Delaware Division of Public Health issued an advisory regarding raw chicken. The outbreak has hospitalized two people in the state.

The division is also advising Delawareans of a multistate outbreak ofListeriainfections linked to deli ham.

The state division reported a multi-state outbreak ofmultidrug-resistantSalmonellaInfantisinfections linked to raw chicken products.

According to the CDC, 92 people infected with the outbreak strain ofSalmonellaInfantis have been reported in 29 states, including two cases in Delaware.

Of the cases reported nationally, 22 people have been hospitalized (including two Delawareans). No deaths have been reported.

The CDC says the outbreak strain has been found in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens, and is resistant to multiple antibiotics.

This means if antibiotics are needed for severe infections, alternative or second-line treatments may need to be used.

A single, common supplier of chicken has not been identified.There is no need for consumers to avoid eating properly cooked chicken, and retailers are not being advised to stop selling raw chicken products. However, individuals are advised to follow these steps to help preventSalmonellainfection from raw chicken:

  • Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and make you sick.
  • Wash your hands.Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands haveSalmonellagerms on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a foodthermometer to check andplace it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use two separate cutting boards for raw chicken, meats and seafood; and the other for fruits and vegetables. Wash boards completely with soap and warm water between each use to kill germs.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets ( Germs likeSalmonellain raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

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Also, several companies have recalled ham products that could be contaminated withListeria monocytogenesbacteriaand could make people sick. To date, there have been no confirmed cases reported in Delaware, but DPH urges consumers to take precautions to prevent illness.Listeriais particularly harmful to pregnant women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four people infected with the outbreak strain ofListeria monocytogeneshave been reported in North Carolina and Virginia. All four had been hospitalized and one death was reported by Virginia health officials.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any of the recalled products.Retailers shouldalso clean and sanitize deli slicers and other areas where recalled deli ham wasprepared, stored or served. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for sanitizer strength and application to ensure it is effective.

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