Salmonella outbreaks sweeps coast to coast

Charlotte, NC (WBTV) - Federal officials say a coast to coast outbreak of salmonella is sweeping the nation.

Dozens have gotten sick, and one person has died.

It appears to be caused by tainted ground turkey.

Twenty-six states have reported cases, from California to right here in North Carolina.

And this isn't an ordinary strain of salmonella.

The government thinks it's a strain that's resistant to many forms of common antibiotics.

Ground turkey has become extremely popular as the lighter burger meat - sales skyrocket in the summer. Mark Loubiay feels healthy when he eats it, but "I would definitely make a different choice today," he says.

That's because investigators haven't been able to link all the illnesses with any specific product or establishment. So the USDA is falling back on a standard public health alert about ground turkey products.

"It'd be nice to find out exactly what it is," says Gerry Wiggins, as she stepped out of a Harris Teeter store in Huntersville.

The Center for Disease Control has issued some advice. If you're going to be touching ground turkey.  It says to wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least twenty seconds, to keep raw meat away from other foods, and to cook it to at least 165 degrees.

Following those rules will help you stay safe, but if the problem persists, it could also harm our local economy. North Carolina is home to some big turkey farms like House of Raeford, Prestage Farms and Wild Turkey Farms.  Together they employ nearly 8,000 people.