Local doctors weigh in on salmonella outbreak hitting Colorado

Local News

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A salmonella outbreak that’s sickened dozens of people in 14 states is linked to a Denver seafood company that distributed to Colorado restaurants and supermarkets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 out of the 102 cases are currently in Colorado. 

“When we start seeing a cluster of cases then the health department will do back tracing to see where that came from,” Dr. Eric Hill, an emergency medicine physician at the Medical Center of Aurora said. 

Hill said salmonella has similar symptoms to other stomach bugs or infections and can go undiagnosed. 

“Vast majority of cases for someone who comes to the hospital for gastrointestinal stress are vomiting and diarrhea. We don’t test automatically for these types (salmonella) of bacterial infections,” Hill said.   

He stated the only way to confirm if someone has salmonella or an outbreak is happening is to get stool samples from patients. 

“If those cultures come back positive for salmonella that’s a reportable condition for the health department,” Hill said. 

Salmonella symptoms

The CDC urges anyone experiencing the following symptoms to contact a healthcare provider immediately:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
  • Not peeing much
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Feeling dizzy when standing up

If an outbreak is confirmed by health professionals, he said doctors in areas with confirmed cases will often treat patients for salmonella prior to testing. Hill said the antibiotics used to treat the disease are the same that are used to treat other stomach infections. 

“It may take several days or a lot of people showing symptoms for them to start ordering those tests and realize there is a Salmonella outbreak in that area,” Hill said. 

Hill said throughout his career he has often, if not all cases, he has seen of salmonella are in teens or younger. He said he isn’t 100% positive why he’s seen more cases of kids. He said it could either be related to kids immune systems or what the kids are eating. 

Recalled products

The CDC advises anyone who has recalled products at home to throw them away and wash surfaces or containers that may have touched them.

  • Haddock
  • Monkfish
  • Bone-in trout
  • Grouper
  • Red snapper
  • Red Rock cod
  • Ocean perch
  • Pacific cod
  • Halibut
  • Coho salmon
  • Atlantic salmon portions
  • Lane snapper
  • Tilapia
  • All-natural salmon
  • Fillet
  • Pacific sole
  • Farm-raised striped bass

14 Colorado counties impacted in salmonella outbreak

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 82 cases have been reported in the following counties:

  • Adams (3)
  • Arapahoe (6)
  • Boulder (8)
  • Broomfield (3)
  • Denver (19)
  • Douglas (7)
  • Eagle (3)
  • El Paso (2)
  • Grand (1)
  • Jefferson (6)
  • Larimer (13)
  • Pitkin (4)
  • Summit (1)
  • Weld (6)

One CDPHE official said each person who is diagnosed with salmonella in Colorado is reported to the health department. Individuals affected are contacted to learn more about their illness, their symptoms and what exposures they may have had. 

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