Feeling like chicken tonight? A winner, winner chicken dinner? You might want to rethink that. News outlets are reporting that nearly 100 people in over 29 states have been sickened by drug-resistant salmonella from infected chicken. While no deaths have been reported, dozens have been hospitalized. Here's a look at what experts know about the outbreak and how you can keep your family safe.
There is still no clear answer as to where the infected chicken is coming from, CNN reported. But, the salmonella has been found in a variety of chicken products including chicken pieces, ground pieces, whole chickens, dog food, and even live chickens, making it more than a bit concerning.
Sickened people have eaten a variety of chicken products from fast food to home cooked to frozen, according to an ABC News affiliate in North Carolina.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are monitoring things. And while specific answers are not clear, they do know that the meat is coming from a variety of sources and a variety of forms, according to CBS News.
The CDC is not yet advising consumers to stop eating or buying chicken but instead to be aware of their cooking process. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill any lingering bacteria, according to the Food Safety Administration.
So what is salmonella? It's a bacterial infection that causes things like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, and nausea, according to WebMD. If you get infected with salmonella, you can expect to feel sick for about four to seven days. The best way to combat the symptoms are with plenty of rest and lots of liquids. Young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to salmonella poisoning.
While these symptoms are extremely unpleasant, they can usually be treated with a course of antibiotics. But herein lies the problem. This new strain of salmonella is resistant to multiple antibiotics that are usually prescribed for this infection, according to WebMD.
Because poultry can spread germs, it's important to use safety measures in your kitchen, according to the CDC:
- Never eat under cooked meat.
- Never rinse your chicken before cooking because it could spread germs into our food and over your kitchen.
- Use separate cutting board for meats, fruits, and vegetables to avoid cross contamination.
- Wipe down surfaces that have come in contact with raw meat, using an antibacterial spray or cleaner.
- Never feed your pets raw chicken or meat.
And finally, if you own pet chickens, don't go cuddling them or letting them in the house (yes, some people do that). It's best to keep your distance in order to keep your family safe from potentially harmful bacteria, according to the CDC.
So, at least for the time-being, you might want to give some extra consideration before ordering that chicken chow mien, fried chicken, chicken a la king, chicken soup, or chicken salad sandwich. Just find out where your meat is coming from and make sure it's cooked properly. But if you decided to go vegetarian for a while, no one would blame you.