April 26, 2013
Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Cucumbers Sickens People In 18 States
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Salmonella outbreaks seem commonplace as of late, with one of the most recent being an outbreak linked to minced meat. Lee Rannals of redOrbit reported in January that 16 people were sickened in five states due to contaminated ground beef. While nobody died from the outbreak, more than half were hospitalized.One of the worst outbreaks in recent memory was the deadly 2009 salmonella outbreak tied to peanut butter, which sickened hundreds and killed nine people. That outbreak led to federal indictments of four employees of Peanut Corporation of America, charged with 75 counts of criminal activity after it was determined company executives were knowingly distributing contaminated product.
In the latest health crisis surrounding salmonella, more than 70 people across 18 states have been sickened from contaminated Mexican cucumbers, according to a statement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday. The agency said at least 14 people have been hospitalized so far and it is working with state health officials to identify others who may have been infected by the outbreak.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved quickly to block all cross-border distribution of cucumbers from two growers tied to the salmonella outbreak.
Lola Russel, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said all contaminated cucumbers are now off the market.
Cucumbers tainted with Salmonella Saintpaul began sickening people in January and continued to wreak havoc up until April 6, when the last case was reported, said Russel, as reported by USA Today's Elizabeth Weise.
The majority of the illnesses were reported in California (28 cases); nine cases were reported in Arizona, and Minnesota and Texas each had eight reported cases. The outbreak has also been observed in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The cucumbers came from two companies in Culiacan, Mexico: Daniel Cardenas Izabel and Miracle Greenhouse, according to the CDC.
The FDA said the block on the cucumbers will remain in place until the growers can prove their product is not contaminated with salmonella. The cucumbers were distributed in the US via Tricar Sales in Rio Rico, Arizona.
Although the CDC maintained all tainted cucumbers are now off store shelves, they cautioned people sickened by the outbreak could rise.
"Due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, additional ill persons may be identified," the agency said in a statement.
Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. People usually become ill within 12 to 72 hours after eating salmonella-contaminated food, said the CDC. The illness can last four to seven days and most people can recover without medical intervention.
The CDC said people should always wash produce, especially cucumbers, before eating, cutting or cooking them.