January 24, 2018

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Linked to Cantaloupe is Growing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just updated the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to cantaloupes originating at Chamberlain Farms in Indiana. Now 204 people are ill in 22 states. Seventy-eight people have been hospitalized. Two people in Kentucky have died.

The number of patients in each state is as follows: Alabama (13), Arkansas (5), California (2), Florida (1), Georgia (4), Illinois (24), Indiana (22), Iowa (8), Kentucky (63), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (5), Mississippi (5), Missouri (13), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (5), Ohio (5), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (8), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4). State, local, and federal agencies have been working to isolate the source of the bacteria, and the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was found on cantaloupes obtained from the farm.

The 26 new cases are from 12 states: Arkansas (2), Florida (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (3), Indiana (4), Iowa (1), Kentucky (7), Minnesota (1) Missouri (1), North Carolina (2), Ohio (1), and Tennessee (2). Public health officials have interviewed 149 patients. Seventy-eight of them, or 52%, have been hospitalized, which means this is a virulent strain of the bacteria. Illness onset dates range from July 7, 2012 to August 18, 2012. The age range is less than 1 year to 100 years; median age is 50 years. Fifty-five percent of ill persons are female.

The cantaloupe may have been sold at WalMart, Schnucks, Meijer, and Marsh stores in the United States. If you have purchased cantaloupes, especially at these retail facilities, contact them to see if you have one of the recalled melons.

Salmonella infections cause symptoms of diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, chills, nausea, and vomiting. If you or anyone you know has experienced these symptoms, see your healthcare provider. If you have eaten cantaloupe in the last week and are ill, tell your doctor. He can perform stool tests to discover if you are part of this outbreak.

Since food poisoning illness outbreaks are so underreported, the CDC uses a multiplier to estimate the actual number of cases. For Salmonella that number is 30.3. So that means there are most likely 6,181 people ill with the outbreak strain of the bacteria in the United States. Because long term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be severe, more ill persons should see their doctors.

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