The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a warning that there have been Salmonella Newport infections linked to “Mexican-style soft cheese (queso fresco and Oaxaca) obtained in Mexico and beef obtained in the United States.” Causing even more concern is this particular strain of Salmonella is resistant to two antibiotics — ciprofloxacin and azithromycin — typically used in the treatment of severe Salmonella strains.
The report cautions, “Consumers should avoid eating soft cheese that could be made from unpasteurized milk, regardless of the source of the cheese. When preparing beef, a food thermometer should be used to ensure that appropriate cooking temperatures are reached. When antibiotic treatment is needed for a patient, clinicians should choose antibiotics based on susceptibility testing wherever possible.”
The stats of those impacted by Salmonella Newport between June 2018 and March 2019 are staggering — 255 infected in 32 states, 60 hospitalized and two deceased. Eighty-nine of those infected recently traveled to Mexico.
In an email update to CNN, Dr. Ian Plumb, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch said, “We are continuing to see cases occurring among patients.”
Plumb’s email continued, “The antibiotic resistance pattern of this strain is alarming because the primary oral antibiotics used to treat patients with this type of Salmonella infection may not work.”
Because Salmonella Newport has been found in both beef and cheese, the CDC is investigating possible connections between cattle ranches in both the US and Mexico. So far, testing points to “carriage of cattle” versus poor hygiene during production. The possible reason for Salmonella Newport’s antibiotic-resistance is the use of antibiotics with cattle.
Approximately 1.2 million cases of salmonella are reported in the US each year from people eating foods such as beef, poultry, and dairy products contaminated with feces. Symptoms from most strains tend to subside without antibiotic use within 72 hours. Salmonella Newport is an exception.