Health Officials: 3 Nevadans Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Three Nevadans have been linked to a salmonella outbreak that also has affected people in three other Western states, health officials said.

The trio are among 38 people who contracted a similar strain of salmonella in Nevada, California, Arizona and Idaho between Sept.
19 and Nov. 5, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said.

In Nevada, the outbreak affected a senior citizen, an infant and a young person in each of three counties: Clark, Washoe and Douglas.

Privacy laws restrict how much information the state can release about health cases.

"Our people are doing good. And other state's patients are doing good," said Dr. Ihsan Azzam, the Nevada state epidemiologist. "Practically, really, it is a very small outbreak."

Two of the state's three cases can be tied to a Safeway Inc. product, while the third case is inconclusive, Azzam said.

"Our findings do not show 100 percent positively that it is Safeway ground beef," he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Our findings are suggesting a product from Safeway is a cause."

In a statement, Safeway noted the USDA did not issue a recall, and no test shows ground beef was contaminated.

"To date, no Safeway product has tested positive for salmonella Newport and the USDA has not definitively identified one product, retailer or establishment that is the source of the contamination," the company said.

"In response to the alert, however, the company is asking customers who have raw ground beef products in their freezer purchased in these particular states between Sept. 19 and Nov. 5 to discard the product, as advised by the USDA."

Safeway stressed that it is committed to food safety and its standards are among the highest in the industry.

Salmonella poisoning can cause diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting. Most cases are caused by undercooked
eggs and chicken.
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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-23-07 1606EST


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