The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed over the weekend that a recent Salmonella outbreak which has affected eight states in total to date has been discovered in Massachusetts. The strain, which has been linked to whole papayas imported from Mexico, has resulted in 23 hospitalizations. While no fatalities have been reported, over 62 people have been afflicted including five in Massachusetts.
Outbreaks have been reported in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas, according to the CDC. The agency warns individuals in these states not to handle, sell or eat foods prepared with papayas imported from Mexico, particularly ahead of the 4th of July weekend.
The strain, known as Salmonella Uganda, has a particularly high hospitalization rate of approximately 66 percent, as compared to the normal rate of 20 percent for most strains of Salmonella. The CDC indicates that the vast majority of cases reported have occurred in individuals over the age of 60. With this in mind, the Food & Drug Administration has strongly advised importers, distributors, restaurants, retailers and other food service providers from all states to refrain from selling whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.
Cases of Salmonella Uganda have been reported since January, with the vast majority of illnesses occurring since April. Interviews with ill people and early product distribution information indicate the likely source to be papayas from Mexico sold along the East Coast in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. New York has suffered the highest amount of illnesses with 24, followed by Connecticut and New Jersey each with 14.
The investigation into the outbreaks is currently ongoing. If you have any questions, the CDC advises you to call their media line at (404) 639-3286. If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12-72 hours after eating contaminated food.
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
- See your healthcare provider if you are concerned about symptoms, such as a high fever, blood in your stool, diarrhea, or frequent vomiting.
More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonella-food/index.html.