While the salmonella epidemic in Turkey is making itself felt with difficulty 164, CDC warns about Thanksgiving thaw

A widespread outbreak of salmonella from the raw turkey killed one person and captured another in dozens of states, including New Jersey, federal health officials said today.

Eight people have been sick in the Garden State since the epidemic began a year ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only death was reported in California.

Officials said they had not identified any specific contaminated turkey product and no recalls were issued.

"The epidemic strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey foods, products made from raw turkey and live turkeys," said the CDC.

Sick people said they ate turkey from various sources and different products, according to health officials.

"The Salmonella Reading epidemic strain is present in live turkeys and many types of raw turkey products, indicating that it could be widespread in Turkey's industry," said the health agency.

Meanwhile, officials said the epidemic is growing and noted that there may be a delay in cases where new cases are reported to health services.

"We are still seeing new diseases reported on a weekly basis," CDC epidemiologist Colin Basler told the Associated Press.

In all, people became ill in 35 states and 63 people were hospitalized. The CDC said that the turkey that thoroughly cooks will destroy foodborne illnesses and the agency has not suggested that people avoid food.

The Turkish National Federation, an industrial group, said it would collaborate with officials and take measures to tackle the epidemic.

"Our members have individually reviewed their Salmonella control programs at all stages of turkey production and are working collectively through NTF to address this and all the Salmonella strains," the group said in a statement. "The intense focus of our members on this issue has enabled the industry to further strengthen the guidelines for biosecurity and food security".

The CDC published more details about the epidemic and offered suggestions on food safety on its website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Noah Cohen can be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahyc. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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