Sal­monella out­break might be from raw tuna

A strain not seen in hu­mans or an­i­mals un­til last month has sick­ened 25 peo­ple, 18 from Cal­i­for­nia.

Los Angeles Times - - OBITUARIES | NEWS - By Veron­ica Rocha veron­ica.rocha @la­ Twit­ter: @Veron­i­caRochaLA

Raw tuna in sushi could be to blame for a sal­monella out­break that has al­ready sick­ened 25 peo­ple from Cal­i­for­nia and else­where.

The par­tic­u­lar strain had not been seen in hu­mans or an­i­mals un­til last month, which makes the out­break par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Ven­tura County Public Health Depart­ment.

“We are not fly­ing with the ex­pe­ri­ence that we would nor­mally have with this or­gan­ism,” county Health Of­fi­cer Robert Levin said.

More than 80% of the af­fected pa­tients re­ported eat­ing raw tuna as well as sushi, the health depart­ment said.

Health of­fi­cials are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the out­break, Levin said, but “right now eat­ing raw fish … prob­a­bly tuna, can put you at risk.”

Eigh­teen cases have been con­firmed in Cal­i­for­nia, in­clud­ing seven in Los An­ge­les County, four in Or­ange and Ven­tura coun­ties, two in River­side County and one in Santa Bar­bara County.

The other seven vic­tims live out­side Cal­i­for­nia but have vis­ited the state.

Five of the vic­tims had to be hos­pi­tal­ized, health of­fi­cials said. The ill­ness is treat­able with an­tibi­otics but can be deadly.

The Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Public Health determined that the strain in ques­tion is closely re­lated to a strain re­spon­si­ble for a 2010 out­break, county of­fi­cials said.

That out­break, in Cal­i­for­nia and Hawaii, was linked to raw tuna im­ported from In­done­sia. The two strains, how­ever, ap­pear to be ge­net­i­cally dif­fer­ent.

Peo­ple who have eaten raw fish in the last week and ex­pe­ri­enced fever, ab­dom­i­nal pains, nau­sea and di­ar­rhea should see a physi­cian, Levin said.

Sal­monella has been found in un­cooked meat, eggs, chicken, un­pas­teur­ized milk, cheese, fruits, veg­eta­bles and nuts. It is trans­mit­ted by pets or through im­proper food han­dling.

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