CDC Says Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Is Linked to Flour

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Outbreaks have occurred in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and California. No deaths have been reported at this time, the CDC said.

The CDC says the multi-state salmonella outbreak that has hospitalized three people and sickened over a dozen has been linked flour.

"State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 7 people interviewed, 6 (86%) reported eating raw dough or batter," the CDC said in a statement released Thursday. "Flour was the only common ingredient in the raw dough or batter people reported eating. Investigators are working to identify a specific brand of raw flour that is linked to illnesses."

It's not clear what brand the outbreak could be related to, the agency said.

Most flour is raw, meaning that it hasn't been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning, CBS News reported.

When flour is mixed into food for baking, salmonella germs are killed in the process, but people can get sick from the raw dough or batter, CBS News reported.

No deaths have been linked to the outbreak at this time, the CDC said.

Sickness outbreaks, which were first reported in December, have been found in California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia, according to CBS News.

"The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses," the CDC said in their statement.

To avoid illness, the CDC recommends not eating raw dough or batter, because even small amounts can cause illness.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, according to CBS News.

The symptoms of salmonella can start within six hours of starting the bacteria but can begin as much as six days later. Most people recover without treatment in four to seven days, the CDC reports.

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