Maine CDC Press Release

January 22, 2009

Update on Salmonella Outbreak

The Maine CDC in the Department of Health and Human Services continues to work in collaboration with the U.S. CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Maine Department of Agriculture in the investigation of the Salmonella outbreak.

"Our investigation still indicates that four Maine people have been infected with the Salmonella strain associated with the national outbreak that has infected nearly 500 people in 43 states," said Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, the Director of the Maine CDC. "Fortunately, the affected people in Maine are recovering."

The people known to be infected in Maine range in age from 8 – 54 years old with illness onsets ranging from November 4, 2008 to December 18, 2008. They are from Aroostook, Cumberland, Kennebec, and Somerset Counties. At least two of them ate some of the recalled peanut butter crackers. A fifth person has been identified with the infection and lives in Canada but may have been infected with food products purchased in Maine.

"Although to date, no association has been found with major national brand name jars of peanut butter sold in grocery stores, the list of recalled products has grown considerably in the past few days. However, there are some simple steps we can take to protect ourselves from this infection," added Dr. Mills.

The Maine CDC recommends that Maine people:

  • Do not eat products that have been recalled, and throw them away in a manner that prevents others from eating them. These products include Austin and Keebler brand peanut butter crackers and King Nut brand peanut butter produced since July 1, 2008. (FDA's web site has recalled lot numbers)
  • Postpone eating other peanut butter containing products (such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream) until more information becomes available about which brands may be affected.
  • Check the FDA’s online database to find out if foods you’re concerned about are on the recall list. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm
  • Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult with their health care providers.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may occur. Infants, elderly persons, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

For More Information:

For previous Maine CDC press releases and health advisories on this outbreak, go to: www.mainepublichealth.gov

About the national epidemiological investigation, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium/

For the latest information from the FDA’s investigation go to: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html

More general information about Salmonella can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/