Poverty and Public Health
2:54 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

National Salmonella Outbreak Linked To New Mexico

Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks.
Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

More than 300 people in 37 states have been infected by salmonella, many of which were children. Investigators have linked the source of the outbreak to a chicken, duck and turkey hatchery in Eastern New Mexico.


In the Southwest, nine people have been infected in California, eight in Arizona, 19 in New Mexico, and 32 in Texas.

Here's how we got to this point: Over the past several months, investigators found many salmonella strains had the same DNA fingerprint and shared a common thread: those exposed to the bacterium had come in contact with baby poultry purchased from multiple feed stores around the country.

The key to the outbreak came when the salmonella fingerprint was linked to a duck pen at the Privett Hatchery in Portales, N.M., which sells to feed stores.

"It's a pretty complicated outbreak because there's so many different feed stores involved and so many different hatcheries have supplied birds to that feed store," said Paul Ettestad, Public Health Veterinarian for the State of New Mexico. "But what we do know is that we got a DNA match on an environmental swab from Privett hatcheries that matches this outbreak."

Investigators with the Centers for Disease Control say the investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, and Ettestad said the hatchery, and a commercial company, are using the strain to develop a vaccine for the facility.