22 San Diegans sickened by tainted chicken - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

22 San Diegans sickened by tainted chicken

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A nationwide salmonella scare involving Foster Farms chicken is hitting home.

According to the County Health Department, 22 San Diegans are among the nearly 300 people nationwide who have gotten sick from eating the tainted chicken.

Some poultry is providing plenty concern while at the center of a nationwide salmonella outbreak that's infected hundreds.

The bacteria has been linked to chickens from Foster Farms and several other brands in 20 states.

In San Diego County, 22 people have been infected with a specific and more dangerous strand.

"It's causing people to be about twice as likely to have severe illness or be hospitalized than the normal salmonella that we see," Dr. Eric McDonald said.

Out of the 317 people infected nationwide more than 40 percent of them have been hospitalized for diarrhea, nausea and other symptoms.

Dr. Eric McDonald with the county says the origin is linked in part to cross contamination.

"A lot of us grew up thinking you had to wash your chicken before you cooked it... actually that's been shown to be more likely to spread the salmonella across your kitchen surfaces, and so we don't recommend you rinse your chicken off before cooking it should just be simply cooked," he said.

The salmonella Heidelberg outbreak has been linked to three Foster Farms poultry plants in California.

The USDA has allowed those plants to stay open and keep producing chicken. Meanwhile, customers vary about how the outbreak will affect them.

"When you handle raw meat carelessly you lend yourself open to whatever it has to offer in the way of bacteria," said a local consumer.

No deaths have been reported by the CDC. Out of everyone infected, 73 percent of them live in California.

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