A salmonella outbreak that has spread to 18 states is apparently resistant to antibiotics, health officials said.
Some 42 percent of victims have been hospitalized in the outbreak, more than double the rate of hospitalizations in previous outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Fifteen Orange County residents have been diagnosed with a salmonella infection and seven hospitalized in the outbreak, which reportedly originated in the Southland.
The origin of the outbreak was traced to Foster Farms chicken processed at three plants in California, the Department of Agriculture said.
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our products, and our family-owned company has maintained an excellent food safety record during its near 80-year history,” said Foster Farms President Ron Foster in the statement.
“What I’m concerned about … whether it’s a market or restaurant, they don’t refrigerate [chicken] like they should,” consumer Joe Hastings said in an interview at a Buena Park supermarket. “I think that’s the problem – that lack of refrigeration and just lack of taking care of that type of thing, which makes people sick.”
The outbreak comes amid a government shutdown in which CDC employees were furloughed. Some were summoned back to work because the outbreak is considered an imminent threat to public health.