Tomatoes Cause Salmonella Outbreak; Kansas Affected

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

(Topeka, KS)--At least three cases of Salmonella have been reported in the state of Kansas linked to tainted tomatoes.

The KDHE is issuing cautionary information to consumers.

Kansas Identifies 3 Cases Linked to Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak

As of June 4, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has identified three cases that are linked to a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul bacterium infections. Kansas is currently one of nine states affected by the outbreak. Two of the cases are in south-central Kansas and one is in southeast Kansas.

An epidemiologic investigation conducted by the New Mexico and Texas
Departments of Health and the Indian Health Service using interviews
comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons has identified consumption of raw tomatoes as the likely source of illnesses in New Mexico and Texas. The specific type and source of tomatoes are under investigation; however, preliminary data suggest that large tomatoes, including Roma and red round are the source.

KDHE is coordinating with local health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in the outbreak investigation. As a precaution, KDHE and CDC are advising consumers to do the following:

· Avoid purchasing bruised or damaged tomatoes and discard any that
appear spoiled.
· Thoroughly wash all tomatoes under running water.
· Refrigerate within two hours or discard cut, peeled or cooked
tomatoes.
· Keep tomatoes that will be consumed raw separate from raw meats, raw
seafood and raw produce items.
· Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot water
and soap when switching between types of food products.
· Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm running water
after handling raw foods, before eating and after using the toilet.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likelyto have a severe illness.

Every year, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis (Salmonella
infection) are reported in the United States. Because many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be thirty or more times greater. Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than winter.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul.

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