Salmonella linked to cucumber sickens more than 70

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Illness

Cucumbers are the suspected source. Picture copyright richard_north/Flickr
Cucumbers are the suspected source. Picture copyright richard_north/Flickr
An outbreak of salmonella in cucumbers has sickened 73 people and led to the products from the firms linked to the incident being placed on Import Alert.

The strain of salmonella Saintpaul has been reported from 18 states and 27% of ill persons have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported, said the US Centers for Disease and Control (CDC).

The agency added that preliminary information indicated that consumption of imported cucumbers is the likely source of infection for the illnesses.

Import alert sanctions

On April 24 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico on Import Alert.

Cucumbers from these two firms will be denied admission into the US unless the suppliers show that they are not contaminated with salmonella.

The affected products were distributed by Tricar Sales, Inc. of Rio Rico, Arizona.

“Fresh produce is of special concern because it is likely to be consumed raw prior to any type of microbiologically lethal processing​,” states the import alert.

“Due to complex supply and distribution patterns, when an outbreak does occur, it may be widespread. Complex distribution patterns and a relatively short shelf life also make traceback of fresh produce particularly difficult.”

Illness records

The number of illnesses identified are: Arizona (9), California (28), Colorado (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (8), Nevada (1), New Mexic0 (2), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (2), South Dakota (2), Texas (6), Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (2).

Illness onset dates range from 12 January to 6 April and people range in age from less than one year to 80 years, with a median age of 23 years and 60% of ill persons are female.

Thirty (67%) of 45 ill persons interviewed reported eating various types of cucumbers purchased or consumed at multiple locations or restaurants.

This proportion is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy persons in which 44% reported eating cucumbers in the seven days before they were interviewed.

“Currently, there is no evidence that contaminated cucumbers are still on the market. However, due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, additional ill persons may be identified​,” said the agency.

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