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Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak in 13 U.S. States Linked to Exposure to Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Classes

Dave Dempsey



In an investigation by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the origin to the Salmonella typhimurium outbreak in 13 different states last November, clinical test findings revealed that all those infected individuals reported common precedents of working in a biology or microbiology laboratory prior to the outbreak.

This Salmonella infection case left 41 people ill across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Washington.

21 out of the 41 infected persons incidentally were enrolled either human biology or microbiology courses and were working in the laboratory before they got diagnosed with Salmonella infection.

During the investigation, the CDC also discovered several common behaviors that could have led to higher risks of bacterial infection such as using similar writing materials both inside and outside the laboratory, neglecting to wear proper lab safety apparel and protective gloves during experiments, and lacking proper lab safety training.

Upon performing a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to detect the presence of Salmonella typhimurium strains, the CDC laboratory results further proved that the outbreak was indeed connected to the college clinical laboratory classes as similar commercially available strains were also identified in the teaching lab associated to the infected patients.

Several Salmonella outbreaks associated with microbiology laboratory classes have been reported in the past, including 109 reported cases in 2011 in which one of these identical strains of Salmonella typhimurium was detected by PFGE patterns.

The CDC concluded that these outbreak cases serve as a reminder to students and professionals working in clinical microbiology laboratories that teaching laboratory biosafety measures is imperative to avoid acquiring or spreading any disease-causing bacteria.

Epidemiological investigations as critical as this reported Salmonella typhimurium outbreaks require only medical-grade clinical laboratory instruments to provide accurate and reproducible results. Discovery Scientific Solutions offers a diverse range of state-of-the-art clinical laboratory equipment and supplies for biological, microbiological, and other life science applications.


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