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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
October 24/31, 2001

Outbreaks of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Typhimurium Associated With Veterinary Facilities—Idaho, Minnesota, and Washington, 1999

JAMA. 2001;286(16):1965-1966. doi:10.1001/jama.286.16.1965-JWR1024-3-1

MMWR. 2001;50:701-704

CDC received reports in 1999 from three state health departments of outbreaks of multidrug-resistant Salmonella serotype Typhimurium infections in employees and clients of small animal veterinary clinics and an animal shelter. Salmonella infections usually are acquired by eating contaminated food; however, direct contact with infected animals, including dogs and cats, also can result in exposure and infection.1 This report summarizes clinical and epidemiologic data about these outbreaks and reviews methods of reducing the likelihood of Salmonella transmission in veterinary settings by avoiding fecal-oral contact.

During September-October, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare identified through routine surveillance an outbreak of Salmonella infections among employees of a small animal veterinary clinic; 10 of 20 persons had abdominal cramps and diarrhea, and two of the 10 had bloody diarrhea. The median age of the ill persons was 31 years (range: 19-44 years), the median duration of illness was 7 days (range: 4-12 days), and four persons sought medical care. The index patient reported caring for several kittens with diarrhea 1 or 2 days before illness onset; stool specimens were not cultured and the kittens died. All 10 ill employees ate meals in the clinic and had no common exposures outside the clinic. Stool specimens from five ill employees yielded S. Typhimurium. All isolates were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE); reacted to phage but did not conform to a definitive phage type; and were resistant to ampicillin, ceftriaxone, cephalothin, chloramphenicol, clavulanic acid/amoxicillin, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, and tetracycline.