Salmonella, syphilis, hepatitis A: 6 recent and ongoing outbreaks

Various pockets of the United States have been hit by outbreaks linked to bacteria and viruses in recent months. Some of these events have been relatively small in scale, while others have approached epidemic levels.

Six such outbreaks are detailed below.


The CDC is currently investigating a multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles and 10 multistate Salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard poultry.

Health officials identified 961 illnesses caused by Salmonella exposure linked to poultry across 48 states and the District of Columbia from Jan. 4 to July 31. The outbreaks have resulted in 215 hospitalizations and one death. Health officials have identified multiple strains of Salmonella among the outbreaks, including Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Hadar.

Health officials identified 37 illnesses linked to Salmonella exposure from pet turtles across 13 states from March 1 to Aug. 3. The outbreak has resulted in 16 hospitalizations, but no deaths. The strain responsible for the infections is Salmonella Agbeni.


The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed 284 mumps cases in the state as of Aug. 24. The current case count marks a 27-case increase from a week prior. In the last month, health officials recorded 112 new mumps cases in the state. In all of 2016, Hawaii experienced a total of 10 mumps cases.

The Hawaii Department of Health said it could be a year before the state's mumps outbreak, which officials began investigating in March, comes to an end, according a recent report from Hawaii News Now.


With 199 cases reported this year, Oklahoma City has been particularly hard-hit by the national resurgence of syphilis.

More than half of those infected in the Oklahoma City outbreak have been female. Thirteen of the women were pregnant. Three stillbirths have been attributed to syphilis in Oklahoma City this year.

Syphilis is a potentially deadly sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. The illness can incite blindness, paralysis and dementia. 

Hepatitis A

The County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency on Aug. 22 increased the number of deaths associated with a hepatitis A outbreak to 14, marking a three-death increase since Aug. 15. Additionally, health officials increased the total number of reported cases from 333 to 352. Hospitalizations related to the outbreak also increased from 232 to 264 over the same time period.

The majority of individuals affected by the outbreak, which began in November 2016, have either been homeless, an illicit drug user or both. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include abdominal pain, low-grade fever, nausea, fatigue and jaundice. The virus is highly transmissible and is most often spread via contact with fecal matter from an infected individual, which can contaminate food and water.


Officials at San Diego State University on Aug. 14 confirmed a chickenpox outbreak among athletes on the university's football team.

Three players began displaying symptoms on Aug. 12. By Aug. 14, five players had confirmed infections.

Every year, the chickenpox virus causes approximately 10,600 hospitalizations and anywhere from 100 to 150 deaths. Two doses of the chickenpox vaccine are 90 percent effective at preventing the virus, according to the CDC.

While the chickenpox vaccine is recommended for students at SDSU, it is not required.

More articles on infection control: 
Rare mosquito-borne virus sickens 2 more in Maine 
Study: Antimicrobial nursing scrubs ineffective at limiting bacterial contamination 
APIC: 6 tips for infection prevention after a hurricane

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars