Salmonella Illnesses Tied to Cantaloupes Have Doubled: CDC
FRIDAY, Dec. 8, 2023 (Healthday News) -- A salmonella outbreak tied to tainted cantaloupes keeps expanding, with cases doubling since the last tally, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.
"Since the last update [on] November 30, 2023, an additional 113 people infected with this outbreak strain of salmonella have been reported from four additional states, resulting in a total case count of 230 people from 38 states," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
"An additional death has also been reported from Oregon," bringing the total death toll from the outbreak to three, the agency added.
Canada has also been hit by salmonella cases tied to the same cantaloupes; 129 cases have been reported there, including 44 hospitalizations and five deaths, Canadian health officials have reported.
While salmonella can make anyone sick, illnesses have been particularly severe in this outbreak, the CDC noted. The old and very young appear to be especially at risk.
"Illnesses are severe with more than half hospitalized, and people in long-term care facilities and childcare centers have gotten sick," the agency noted.
Twenty-four people thought to have fallen ill in the outbreak were residing at nursing homes, and 23 young children who'd been sickened were attending childcare facilities, according to CDC's update.
The main piece of advice from the CDC: Although two brands of cantaloupes -- Malichita and Rudy -- are known to be linked to the outbreak, do not eat any cantaloupe if you do not know the brand being sold or served.
Given the number of cases observed among the elderly and children, the "CDC [also] advises facilities that care for people who are at higher risk for severe illness to not serve cantaloupes that may be contaminated," the agency said. "This includes recalled cantaloupes and cantaloupe that was supplied pre-cut if the brand of whole cantaloupes used are not known."
The outbreak was first reported on Nov. 14. The CDC has stressed that the true number of illnesses is likely far higher, because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for salmonella.
Consumers should continue to stay away from whole cantaloupes sold under the brands Malichita or Rudy.
The CDC also said the recall now includes pre-cut cantaloupe sold at major grocery stores Kroger, Trader Joe's and Sprouts Farmers Market.
Consumers should also refrain from buying pre-cut cantaloupe sold at Aldi, Cut Fruit Express, Kwik Trip, Freshness Guaranteed, RaceTrac, TGD Cuts, Vinyard and Bix Produce, the agency added.
The CDC has advised people to either throw away recalled fruit or return it to the store for a refund. Afterwards, wash anything that has touched the recalled fruit.
Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps in most cases, with symptoms setting in anywhere from six hours to six days after eating contaminated food, the CDC said.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these severe salmonella symptoms:
Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°
Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving
So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
Not peeing much
Dry mouth and throat
Feeling dizzy when standing up
The CDC has more on salmonella.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release and online update, Dec. 7, 2023