ATLANTA – A total of nine inmates have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg reported at a correctional facility in Tennessee, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

CDC noted that 19 people in 12 other states were infected with the same strain of the pathogen. The agency's investigation is ongoing to determine if the cases are related to the outbreak at the correctional facility.

The outbreak in Tennessee has been linked to mechanically separated chicken produced by a Tyson Foods Inc. facility in Sedalia, Mo. So far, only two inmates have been hospitalized. Epidemiological and traceback investigations by the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) linked the illnesses to mechanically separated chicken produced by Tyson Foods. FSIS began investigating the outbreak being notified of a cluster of Salmonella Heidelberg illnesses on Dec. 12.

Tyson Foods recalled approximately 33,840 lbs. of mechanically separated chicken products. The products were sold to institutions and were not available to consumers for purchase at retail stores.