January 16, 2008: Why So Secret?

On Monday, public health officials announced that 11 cases of Salmonella Newport have been confirmed in South Dakota. These cases are part of a larger Salmonella Newport outbreak, totaling 22 cases and involving 3 other states.  But which three states, and more importantly, why the secrecy?

Food bloggers have been taking their best guesses.  Some have connected the 11 South Dakota cases to an unknown number of cases that were reported in Montana, Texas, and Pennsylvania (see Salmonella in CA, MT, and PA Are Linked).  Other bloggers have pointed to the 38 Salmonella Newport cases connected to Safeway ground beef in the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico (see Safeway and Salmonella).

But finally, in a Rapid City Journal news article by Kevin Woster, South Dakota state epidemiologist Ron Kightlinger gave us a hint:

Kightlinger declined to name the other states involved, but noted that one is a South Dakota border state and the other two are “far flung.” Because of the molecular similarities of the cases in the four states, the states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are investigating for links.

A quick look at a map confirms that Montana borders on South Dakota; and California and Pennsylvania do look a bit “far flung” from South Dakota.  So here’s our best guess – the 11 Salmonella cases reported in South Dakota are linked to the Salmonella cases reported in California, Montana, and Pennsylvania. 

But why are we playing this silly little guessing game when public health and the safety of our food supply is a most serious matter?  Fifty-five percent of the South Dakota Salmonella food poisoning victims were hospitalized, demonstrating the virulence of this particular strain of Salmonella Newport.  The article also reports:

“Everybody’s recovering,” state epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger of the South Dakota Department of Health in Pierre said Monday. “But since we’ve had so many of these cases hospitalized, which is fairly unusual, it leads me to believe it is a fairly potent strain.”

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power; and when it comes to food safety, knowledge equals the power to protect ourselves and our families.

So hats off to Kevin Woster of the Rapid City Journal and South Dakota state epidemiologist Ron Kightlinger for providing the public with the most information to date.  Now let’s hear something from the CDC!

The Law Firm of Eric Weinberg currently represents individuals who have been sickened in Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks nationwide. If you have been injured as a result of Salmonella food poisoning and you have a question concerning you legal rights, please call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274, or see Free Case Evaluation. Our firm currently represents victims of the Arby’s, Peter Pan peanut butter Recall, Veggie Booty Recall, Taste of Chicago, and Banquet Pot Pie Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks.

For recent food recall, food poisoning outbreak, and food poisoning lawsuit information please see Rochester Meats E. coli Recall, Dallas Steps Up Restaurant Inspections For E. coli Meat, and Arby’s Salmonella Lawsuit, Alamosa Salmonella Lawyer.

You may also wish to visit our new blog, Listeria.com, to learn about Listeria food poisoning and listeriosis.