A Sacramento man became the first person to die from a widespread bout of salmonella linked to ground turkey meat. He was one of six cases in the state, but the only death nationwide.
Four other cases of salmonella have been found in California, one each in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside and San Diego counties.
A total of 76 people, none including the Sacramento county resident who died, have been made sick from the same strain of the disease.
The specific Salmonella Hiedelberg strand was found in three of four ground turkey samples purchased from four retails locations between March 7 and June 27, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They reported three of those products were produced by the same facility, but they have not pinpointed the specific cause.
The strain, first identified in March, has sicked 77 people in 26 states. Ohio, Michigan, Texas and California have seen the highest number of reported cases.
While he cannot speak to this specific instance, Von Roebuck with the CDC said the lag in public attention could be due to the sporadic nature of the bacteria.
"It takes a while for people to become ill and to track those illnesses," Roebuck said.
Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdonimal cramps usually beginning 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to the CDC. Cooking meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees decreases the likelihood of infection.
Salmonella bacteria are the most frequently reported cause of food borne illnesses causing 1.4 million infections and over 400 deaths annually in the U.S.