Sal­monella out­break spreads across U.S.

1 per­son died, over 100 sick­ened in 16 states

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY LAURA KELLY

A third fruit dis­trib­u­tor is­sued a re­call Tues­day for pa­payas amid a sal­monella out­break that has caused one death and sick­ened more than 100 peo­ple in 16 states since May.

Valery brand pa­payas, which are dis­trib­uted by Fresh Tex Pro­duce LLC, is­sued a vol­un­tary re­call Tues­day, fol­low­ing sim­i­lar ac­tions by the Caribeña brand, which is dis­trib­uted by Grande Pro­duce, and the Cavi brand, which is dis­trib­uted by Agro­son’s.

The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion has iden­ti­fied the Car­ica de Cam­peche farm in Cam­peche, Mex­ico, as the source of the deadly out­break.

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion have re­ported at least 109 cases of sal­monella poi­son­ing since the out­break was first iden­ti­fied in mid-July. Of those cases, 35 peo­ple have been hos­pi­tal­ized and one per­son has died.

The Mary­land De­part­ment of Health first iden­ti­fied the sal­monella con­tam­i­na­tion in mid-July, when sev­eral peo­ple hos­pi­tal­ized with food poi­son­ing were found to have pur­chased pa­payas from the same Bal­ti­more re­tail store.

Since then, the out­break has been noted in a to­tal of 16 states — mostly in New York and New Jer­sey, which have 36 and 26 cases, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press. Those states are fol­lowed by Vir­ginia with 11 cases, Penn­syl­va­nia with seven and six in Mary­land. Four cases have been re­ported in Con­necti­cut and Min­nesota, and three in Mas­sachusetts.

Iowa, Ken­tucky, North Carolina and Ok­la­homa each have re­ported two cases; Delaware, Louisiana, Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin each re­ported one case, the AP re­ported.

Sal­monella is a bac­te­ria that is con­tracted by ei­ther con­tam­i­nated food or wa­ter. It’s com­monly as­so­ci­ated with un­cooked or un­der­cooked meat, poul­try, eggs and dairy. But out­breaks in pre­vi­ous years have been linked to al­falfa sprouts, pis­ta­chios, pow­dered drinks and cu­cum­bers.

Symp­toms of sal­monella poi­son­ing usu­ally present them­selves within 12 to 72 hours of con­tam­i­na­tion. They in­clude di­ar­rhea, fever and ab­dom­i­nal cramps. While most peo­ple can recover in a few days, the bac­te­ria can be fa­tal in chil­dren, the el­derly and those with com­pro­mised or weak­ened im­mune sys­tems.

Sal­monella poi­son­ing is re­spon­si­ble for about 380 deaths an­nu­ally and 19,000 hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, ac­cord­ing to the CDC.

It’s un­clear what ex­actly caused the sal­monella con­tam­i­na­tion of the fruit at the Mex­i­can farm. An FDA spokesman said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and new in­for­ma­tion will be pro­vided as it be­comes avail­able.

Mex­ico ac­counts for 11 per­cent of the world’s pa­payas, and a num­ber of Mex­i­can pro­duc­ers ship to the United States.

While all fruit com­ing into the U.S. is sub­ject to search and test­ing, farms and com­pa­nies that demon­strate con­tin­u­ing and suc­ces­sive neg­a­tive re­sults for health haz­ards can be put on a “green list” and cross the bor­der unim­peded.

The Cam­peche farm pa­payas had been on the green list, but they were re­moved when the FDA de­ter­mined they were the source of the out­break.

Spe­cific in­for­ma­tion and prod­uct de­tails are avail­able on the FDA web­site, and con­sumers and restau­rants are urged to dis­card the pa­payas im­me­di­ately.

Counter sur­faces and uten­sils that may have come in con­tact with the con­tam­i­nated fruit should be dis­in­fected, the CDC ad­vised.

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