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Salmonella sickens 20 with link to pre-cut melon

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock/Kenishirotie
Picture: iStock/Kenishirotie
Pre-cut fruit is suspected to be behind an outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened 20 people in Washington and Oregon.

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) said, with state and federal partners, it is determining the source of fruit, where it was cut and packaged and if there may be additional retailers where products were sold.

Eighteen people from King (five), Mason (one), Pierce (one), Snohomish (seven), Thurston (one) and Yakima (one) counties and two individuals from Oregon have been diagnosed with Salmonella. 

Oregon cases are one each in Multnomah and Wasco counties. None of them were hospitalized. These cases purchased products from Fred Meyer stores.

Lab results identified Salmonella Newport as the cause.

Pre-cut watermelon, cantaloupe, or fruit mixes containing watermelon or cantaloupe were sold in QFC, Fred Meyer, Rosauers and Central Market in Washington and Oregon on or about 25 October up to 1 December.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps one to three days after exposure. Illness usually lasts four to seven days.

Each year, 400 to 500 cases of salmonellosis are reported in Oregon, including 15 of Salmonella Newport annually between 2006 and 2015.  Annually, there are 600 to 800 cases in Washington.

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