Officials across the region are participating in the investigation of a national salmonella outbreak.
It appears that both Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents are among the nearly 400 people sickened in a national outbreak of food poisoning.
Twelve people in Pennsylvania were infected by salmonella bacteria with the same DNA fingerprint identified in the national outbreak.
State Department of Health spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman says food poisoning caused by salmonella is common, so at first state officials didn’t detect anything unusual.
Kriedeman: Once you connect the cases you need to go back to people to talk to them about what they did what they ate, where they were. And of course as time passes, your memory fades, so it is very difficult to conduct these investigations.
The Pennsylvania illnesses were diagnosed this fall and winter in counties across the state. Kriedeman says so far there’s nothing obvious to link the cases to one another. New Jersey health officials suspect they have 13 cases with the same DNA fingerprint. There are no reported cases in Delaware.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reminding residents to wash their hands thoroughly and often.
Kriedeman: And of course if you are preparing meat, cook your food properly. Certainly undercooked meat can cause illness. And salmonella is a bacteria that’s found on meats and poultry.
Salmonella can cause vomiting and stomach discomfort, and usually clears up without treatment in four to seven days.