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Home / Health / A Superbug Salmonelle has sickened hundreds of people through cheese, beef and raw milk

A Superbug Salmonelle has sickened hundreds of people through cheese, beef and raw milk

Photo: Phil Walter (Getty Images)

An outbreak of Superbug Salmonella has taken hundreds of people in the last two years Sick and dozens hospitalized. But what makes the incident particularly scary is the fact that the outbreak was cross-border and was probably caused by cattle in both the US and Mexico. It could well be a harbinger of even worse outbreaks.

According to the report, the first cases occurred in the US in June 201

8. These cases were found in a study of another, unrelated Salmonella outbreak by a strain of Salmonella Newport, which is resistant to multiple drugs. From June 2018 to March 2019, state and local health authorities documented a total of 255 cases in 32 states that are traceable to the same strain. Of the approximately 200 cases for which specific information was available, 60 were admitted to hospital, 10 developed a life-threatening blood infection, and 2 died (deaths affected people with other health complications, but infections played a role).

According to the investigators of the disease, many victims have become infected with the consumption of Mexican soft cheese sold in Mexico. Nearly half of those with available travel information had visited Mexico the week before their illness, while those who reported what they ate often ate cheese made from raw, unpasteurised milk. A cheese sample purchased in Mexico and stored by a patient was tested positive for a genetically identical Salmonella strain that matches those found in the cases. it also matched a strain found in a sample of Mexican beef tested in 2016.

Not everyone who fell ill visited Mexico or ate Mexican cheese, but they ate beef. And in September 2018, the same strain was found in a Texas cattle breed, which is to be processed as beef. In beef samples taken from two processing plants in Texas in November 2018 and March 2019, the strain was detected twice more.

Antibiotic resistance does not automatically complicate the treatment of infections, as it depends on what medicines are commonly used for this purpose. But in this outbreak, probably one third of those treated with antibiotics were given ineffective medications.

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The CDC could never find a common supplier of contaminated beef or cheese. However, the most likely scenario is that this superbug will appear in cattle in the US and Mexico. In addition, the Superbug is likely to be a newly emerging threat. Prior to 2016, strains of Salmonella Newport, which were resistant to these specific antibiotics in farm animals, meat, or humans, had not been demonstrated by routine testing.

"CDC is concerned about an increase in human disease due to a new strain of multidrug-resistant drugs (MDR) Salmonella Newport, which has apparently spread from cattle in the US and Mexico," the agency wrote on Friday in a note to doctors and health officials.

Although the outbreak seems to have ended for the time being, many more people were probably infected and sick than reported. Most people who are infected with a harmful Salmonella strain develop symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. However, most recover without treatment, so they never consult a doctor. And it is possible that a similar tribe will cause chaos in the future.

If that's not bad enough, all the genes in the strain that made it resistant were found on a plasmid – moving pieces of DNA that can be exchanged for different types of bacteria. So it's likely that this bug can teach its tricks to other annoying germs. And because animals nowadays receive more antibiotics than necessary, the conditions for further antimicrobial resistance of bacteria in food are still ripe.

In the light of all this, according to the authors, these strains also need to be more closely monitored research to find out how to stop the spread among cattle. In the meantime, the average person should follow the same steps to protect themselves from these germs as usual: Avoid milk products from raw milk and cook meat properly.

The CDC recommends using a meat thermometer and cooking until your steaks or roasts reach 62.8 degrees Celsius (145 degrees Fahrenheit). Let it rest for three minutes before eating. Minced meat or hamburgers should be cooked until they reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius).

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