The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a multi-state cluster of Salmonella infections linked to ground beef.

Salmonella bacteria (red)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Salmonella bacteria (red)/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Since late August, NMDOH has identified 30 New Mexico residents that were diagnosed with Salmonella after preparing ground beef at home. Illness duration has averaged 13 days and 27% of patients were hospitalized.

“Salmonella infection can be a very serious and sometimes deadly illness,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “Cross-contamination from raw meats to counter tops, utensils, and cutting boards can spread illness. We urge families to cook meats according to the USDA suggested cooking temperatures and to wash hands and utensils after handling raw meats.”

Early symptoms of Salmonella in people include fever, diarrhea and stomach pain, and can develop one to three days after exposure to contaminated meats. Other symptoms might include nausea, chills or headaches.

NMDOH recommends New Mexico residents take the following measures to prevent illness:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or beef.
  • Poultry, beef (including hamburgers), and fish should be cooked thoroughly, following the USDA guidelines at Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart
  • Uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils thoroughly after touching uncooked meats.
  • Hands should also be washed before handling food and between handling different food items.
  • Visit your physician if you or your child experience abdominal pain, fever and/or diarrhea.