164 people ill, 1 dead from salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey, CDC warns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people to be careful washing and cooking raw turkey, especially as Thanksgiving approaches.

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The advisory comes after 164 people were sickened and another another person died from a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey.

"It seems to be a strain of salmonella that is more widespread in the turkey and ill people are reporting (getting sick from) a wide variety of turkey products," CDC epidemiologist Colin Basler told WSBTV.com.

The outbreak has been going on for nearly a year and hasn't been traced to a specific turkey farm or location. People have gotten sick in 35 states. At least 63 people have been hospitalized and one person died in California.

The CDC is not issuing recalls and said it is not necessary to get rid of turkey products, but officials are strongly encouraging people to prepare raw turkey in a way that kills bacteria.

Basler said people need to wash their hands after handling raw turkey and make sure they are cooking turkey products with an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and to check that temperature by using a meat thermometer.

The CDC also recommends thawing raw turkey in the fridge and not on the counter to reduce the risk of any bacteria and using a separate cutting board and plates for raw meat, poultry and seafood.

Regan talked to shopper Susan Wallace, who said the news is bad timing.

"That's very concerning of course with Thanksgiving coming up," Wallace said. "I plan on having a turkey with my family."

Gene Smith agreed and said that eating something else on the big day wasn't an option. He said his family would be extra careful and make sure their Thanksgiving turkey is thoroughly cooked this year.

"We got to have turkey. It's the thing to have!" Smith said.

People aren't the only ones at risk for getting sick from salmonella linked to turkey. Pet foods made with raw turkey are also taking a toll on dogs. Earlier this year, a company recalled 4,000 pounds of turkey dog food over fears it was contaminated with salmonella.

The CDC says pets should never be given raw meat.

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