Salmonella outbreak with unknown food source infects nearly 600 people nationwide

A fast-growing salmonella outbreak tied to an unknown food source has sickened nearly 600 people nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

As of Oct. 14, there have been 173 new cases and 50 new hospitalizations across 36 states, according to the CDC's latest figures on the outbreak.

The new figures have pushed total illnesses to 592 with about 116 hospitalizations. There have been no deaths associated with the "fast-growing outbreak," according to the CDC.   

Still, the case count is a dramatic increase from late September when the outbreak infected nearly 280 people with more than two dozen in the hospital. 

Although the outbreak has been detected in 36 states, most cases have been in Texas. The agency's map detailing where people affected by the salmonella outbreak live showed that 149 cases were reported in the state. Oklahoma, Virginia, and Maryland are also among the states with high case counts.   

The CDC, alongside public health and regulatory officials across the nation, are working to identify a food source linked to the increasing number of salmonella oranienburg infections. In order to do so, health officials are collecting a range of data as part of their investigation.  

At one point during the investigation, the CDC said officials had been collecting and testing food items from restaurants "where sick people ate" after a strain of salmonella oranienburg was found in a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime. However, the cup had contained onions at one point, making it hard to identify the source. 

"Because multiple food items were present in the container and in the sample that was tested, it is not possible to know which food item was contaminated," the CDC said.  

Most people who became infected with the bacteria have diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps with symptoms lasting up to seven days. 

However, in some cases, "people’s illness may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized," the CDC said.