Salmonella outbreak linked with cantaloupe products, with four deaths reported
Dec 16, 2023, 11:49 AM
(Josef Mohyla/E+/Getty Images)
(CNN) —An ongoing outbreak of salmonella infections linked with cantaloupe products continues to expand, with 302 cases in 42 states as of Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Three people have died in Minnesota and one in Oregon.
Canada reports 153 confirmed cases linked with the outbreak in eight provinces, with six deaths. Most of the illnesses have been in young children and adults over 65, according to the CDC and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
However, the CDC noted that the true number of sick people is probably much higher and that cases may not be limited to only those areas, because many sick people get better without medical care and aren’t tested for salmonella.
Malichita and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes have been recalled as part of the outbreak, as have cut fruit products sold at retailers nationwide such as Kwik Trip, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Aldi and RaceTrac.
“Do not eat pre-cut cantaloupes if you don’t know whether Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupes were used,” the CDC has warned. “This includes cantaloupe chunks and fruit mixes with cantaloupes at restaurants and grocery stores.”
Anyone who has recalled fruit products at home should throw them away or return them to the store where you bought them, the CDC says. Make sure you wash any items or surfaces that have come into contact with the fruit using hot, soapy water. A dishwasher will also help get rid of the bacteria.
The CDC is also urging businesses not to sell the contaminated fruit and to wash and sanitize items that have come into contact with it.
Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. Symptoms typically start six hours to six days after someone swallows the bacteria.
Get medical care right away if you think you have eaten some of this fruit and have a fever higher than 102, diarrhea that won’t go away, bloody diarrhea, vomiting that won’t stop or dehydration.
Anyone can get sick with salmonella, but some people are more vulnerable to severe symptoms, including the elderly, pregnant people, children and those with underlying illnesses that weaken the immune system.
Salmonella infections are common. The bacteria causes about 1.35 million human infections and 26,500 hospitalizations in the US every year, according to the CDC.
Such infections are also costly. Foodborne salmonella infections cost the US $4.1 billion annually, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
The CDC, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to investigate the outbreak to identify any other cantaloupe or fruit products that may be contaminated.
CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.
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