Food Poisoning Concept Photo: Getty Images

Food Poisoning: Salmonella outbreak spreads to 29 states in US, says CDC

*The US health agency discloses there are 279 cases of hospitalisations, and evidence that the food source was mostly distributed to restaurants, and not sold directly to consumers in grocery stores

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

A nearly two months-long salmonella outbreak, a foodborne pathogen, has now spread to at least 29 states in the United States, and health authorities have not yet been able to conclusively identify its source, agency report said.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its most recent update said: “State and local officials have collected food items from some of the restaurants where sick people ate.

“The outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg was found in a sample taken from a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime.

“The sick person reported that the condiment container also contained onions, but none were left in the cup when it was tested.”

The health agency disclosed that the multiple food items in the tested sample present a problem for investigators since it is not possible to know which food items were contaminated.

The regulator noted: “We are using this information in conjunction with other available information to help narrow the list of possible foods linked to illness.”

According to CDC, there are 279 illnesses from the foodborne pathogen, with more than half being reported since the previous update.

There have been 26 hospitalisations in connection with the outbreak but no deaths.

The latest lead may help investigators find the source.

However, CDC also adds to the evidence that the food source was mostly distributed to restaurants and not sold directly to consumers in grocery stores.

Health departments have identified “subclusters” of people who got sick after eating at restaurants.

The patients are people who do not know one another and whose only connection is getting sick after eating food from a restaurant.

In regard to what to do, the agency says it believes the actual number of cases may be higher than 279 since many people recover without seeking medical treatment.

The primary symptoms of salmonella are:

  1. Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  2. Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  3. Bloody diarrhea
  4. Frequent vomiting
  5. Signs of dehydration

Moreover, people with any of these symptoms should speak to their health care provider for treatment.

They should also compile a list of all the food they ate in the week before symptoms appeared.

Confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning should be reported to the local health department.

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