Outbreaks of Salmonella enterica infections linked to animal contact: demographic and outbreak characteristics and comparison to foodborne outbreaks - United States, 2009-2014.
In the United States, multistate Salmonella outbreaks are most commonly linked to a food source; however, contact with live animals can also result in outbreaks of human illness. To characterize Salmonella outbreaks linked to animal contact and examine differences compared to foodborne outbreaks, we analysed data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) from 2009 to 2014 with a primary mode of transmission listed as "animal contact" or "food." Four hundred and eighty-four outbreaks with animal contact or foodborne transmission were reported through NORS; of these outbreaks, 99 (20.5%) resulted from Salmonella transmission through animal contact and 385 (79.5%) resulted from foodborne transmission, which resulted in 3,604 (19.8%) and 13,568 (80.2%) illnesses, respectively. A higher proportion of illnesses among children aged <1 year and children aged 1-4 years were linked to animal contact outbreaks compared to foodborne outbreaks (15.2% vs. 1.4%, p<0.01 and 24.5% vs. 5.6%, p<0.01, respectively). Illnesses resulting in hospitalizations (OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.62, 2.02) were more likely to be associated with animal contact compared to food. Animal contact outbreaks reported to NORS were more likely to be multistate compared to foodborne outbreaks (OR: 5.43, 95% CI: 3.37, 8.76) and had a longer median duration (99.0 days vs. 9.0 days, p<0.01). Characterizing the differences between outbreaks of illness linked to animal contact and outbreaks linked to food provides useful information to investigators to improve public health response.