Foods with peanut butter pulled as Oklahoma feels effects of salmonella outbreak

BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: January 17, 2009 at 8:25 pm •  Published: January 16, 2009
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/> Health officials are trying to pinpoint what caused two cases of salmonella in northeast Oklahoma in December. The DNA in the bacteria that sickened the Oklahomans matched DNA in the bacteria linked to the outbreak in other states, officials said.

"There’s not at this point a clear source for the two Oklahoma residents, but we’re working on it,” said Laurence Burnsed, the director of the state Health Department’s communicable disease division.

Burnsed said King Nut peanut butter is not available in Oklahoma, so investigators are looking for other possible sources for the teens’ sickness.

The teens, who have since recovered, were not identified.

Peter Muriana, a food microbiologist for the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University, said technology makes it easier to find the source of the outbreak, since the bacteria can be identified at a molecular level.

View map of states affected by outbreak


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AT A GLANCE
OUTBREAK REACHES STATE

As of Thursday, at least 450 people in 43 states have been infected with salmonella tentatively linked to peanut butter. Illnesses began in early September. Salmonella may have contributed

to five deaths: two in Virginia, two in Minnesota and one in Idaho.

Two cases have been identified in Oklahoma.

Symptoms
Officials said more people may have gone undiagnosed because their symptoms weren’t severe. Symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that usually last four to seven days.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control,

Oklahoma Department of Health

To learn more
For updates on the salmonella investigation, go to www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium.

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