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Salmonella Surge: Cantaloupe Recall Expanded as Cases Double in a Week

Cantaloupe's are recalled as precaution for the salmonella outbreak | Getty Images

U.S. health officials have recalled three more cantaloupe brands after the number of salmonella infections connected to the fruit more than doubled in a week.

Nearly 100 people from 32 states are currently included in the case count, with Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio reporting the highest number of illnesses. An updated health alert released by the U.S. on Friday states that 45 people have been hospitalized nationwide and that two people have died in Minnesota. the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

The initial recall by the US Food and Drug Administration, which was announced on November 14, concerned whole cantaloupe under the Malichita brand, pre-cut cantaloupe under the Vinyard brand, and whole cantaloupe and pre-cut fruit products under ALDI. The recall now includes whole cantaloupes under the Rudy brand as well as pre-cut cantaloupes under the Freshness Guaranteed and RaceTrac brands.

The CDC stated that because many of the victims of this outbreak recover without medical attention and are never tested for the bacteria, the true number of cases of salmonella infection is probably much higher.

The CDC recommended washing any surfaces the recalled fruits touched in hot, soapy water or in a dishwasher, in addition to discarding the recalled fruits.

The Cleveland Clinic states that the most prevalent type of bacterial food poisoning in the US is caused by salmonella.

Within six days of eating food contaminated with the bacteria, diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps are common symptoms of salmonella. A typical illness lasts four to seven days. The CDC issued a warning that individuals who are susceptible—children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and others—may become seriously ill and need hospitalization or medical attention.

If someone exhibits any of the following serious salmonella symptoms, they should contact their doctor:

  • Diarrhea and a fever over 102 degrees
  • Diarrhea for more than three days that’s not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration

CDC’s report on Salmonella

Salmonella contamination of cantaloupes is the cause of the outbreak, according to epidemiologic and laboratory data.

Canada is looking into this outbreak as well and has connected cantaloupe illnesses to the same strain of Salmonella.

Data from Epidemiology
56 new illnesses have been reported since November 17, 2023, the last update. As of November 24, 32 states had reported 99 cases of Salmonella infections linked to the outbreak strain (see map). From October 17, 2023, to November 10, 2023, illnesses began (see timeline). 45 of the 77 individuals for whom data is available have been admitted to the hospital. There have been two confirmed deaths in Minnesota.

The actual number of cases in this outbreak is probably far higher than the number that has been reported, and it might not be restricted to the states where illnesses are known to exist. This is because many people heal without seeking medical attention or having a Salmonella test. Furthermore, because it typically takes three to four weeks to determine whether a sick person is a part of an outbreak, recent illnesses may not have been reported.

When someone becomes ill, public health officials gather a variety of data from them, such as the person’s age, race, ethnicity, and other demographics, as well as what they ate in the week prior to becoming ill. This data offers hints to assist investigators in determining the outbreak’s origin.

People are being questioned by state and local public health officials regarding the foods they consumed in the week prior to becoming ill. 29 (88%) of the 33 interviewees said they had eaten cantaloupe. This figure was substantially higher than the 19.6% of participants in the FoodNet Population Survey who said they had eaten cantaloupe. The survey helps determine how frequently people eat different foods that have been linked to diarrheal illness.

Lab Information
Antibiotic resistance was not predicted by the WGS analysis of bacteria from samples belonging to 89 individuals. Visit the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) website for more details.

Health Actions in Public
Additional recalls for whole and pre-cut cantaloupes were announced on November 22, 2023. All whole cantaloupes under the Rudy and Malichita brands are now included in Trufresh’s recall. Crown Jewels recalled whole cantaloupes under the Malitchita brand. Pre-cut fruit products containing recalled cantaloupes were recalled by CF Dallas.

The CDC is warning consumers not to consume, trade, or serve recalled fruit.

Question and Answer

What are the symptoms of a salmonella infection?

Frequent symptoms of Salmonella infection include fever, cramping in the stomach, and diarrhea.

After infection, symptoms typically appear six hours to six days later and last for four to seven days. On the other hand, some individuals experience symptoms for weeks after infection, while others do not.

Salmonella strains can occasionally result in infections in the blood, bones, joints, urine, or nervous system (brain and spinal fluid), which can lead to serious illness.

How is the infection treated?

Without the use of antibiotics, the majority of people recover from a Salmonella infection in four to seven days. For the duration that diarrhea persists, people with a Salmonella infection should consume more fluids.

Treatment with antibiotics is advised for:

  • Individuals suffering from serious illnesses
  • Individuals receiving chemotherapy treatment or suffering from HIV infection can compromise their immune system.
  • individuals over 50 with health issues, such as heart disease
  • infants, or kids under a year old.
  • adults 65 years of age or older

Is there a long-term health consequence?

While the majority of people who have Salmonella-related diarrhea recover fully, some people’s bowel habits (frequency and consistency of poop) might not return to normal for several months.

Reactive arthritis is a type of joint pain that some Salmonella infection patients experience even after the infection has cleared. Reactive arthritis is a chronic condition that can take months or years to heal. Reactive arthritis patients occasionally experience eye irritation and painful urination.

For more questions regarding the salmonella outbreak, read here.

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