January 29, 2008: Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Raw Ahi

Public health officials are investigating approximately 35 confirmed cases of Salmonella food poisoning associated with the consumption of raw Ahi, a fish used to prepare poke and sashimi.

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The majority of cases occurred in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. DNA fingerprinting (a process that allows scientists to compare bacterial DNA), later linked one case reported in California and two cases reported in Colorado to the Hawaii Salmonella outbreak.

The outbreak first caught the attention of public health officials, because it involved a less common strain of Salmonella known as Salmonella Paratyphi B.  The majority of cases occurred between the months of October and December of 2007, and resulted in five hospitalizations.

By using a case-control study design, health officials were able to compare foods eaten by ill and well persons.  Their findings eventually identified the raw fish as the likely food poisoning culprit.

The fish distributor has not yet been identified.

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