California has been hardest hit by the Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to cucumbers imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. At least 120 people are sick in that state, and one person has died. Andrew & Williamson is based in San Diego, California.
That state originally warned consumers about the outbreak on September 4, 2015, the day that Andrew & Williamson recalled the product. Government officials informed the company that there was an epidemiologic association between the cucumbers and the outbreak. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency found one of the outbreak strains on cucumbers that were collected from the Andrew & Williams facility.
Overall, at least 558 people in 33 states are sick in this outbreak. Using the multiplier for Salmonella outbreaks of 30.3, used since most cases aren’t reported, that means there could be at least 16,000 people are sick across the country just in this outbreak, and more than 3,600 in California alone. The latest information is that people are sick in at least 17 California counties.
Custom Produce Sales also recalled “Fat Boy” cucumbers on September 11, 2015. Some stores have issued recalls for items made in those stores using the recalled cucumbers. The cucumbers are known as “slicer” or “American” cucumbers, are about 8 inches long, and have a dark green skin.
The cucumbers were sold in grocery stores and restaurants around the country. Unfortunately, no retail distribution list has been released, so we don’t know exactly which stores and restaurants sold the product. The stores that have issued recalls include Walmart, WinCo, Savemart, Ralphs, and Food 4 Less.
There is an outbreak linked to these cucumbers sold at Red Lobster stores in Minnesota. Other restaurants that may have sold the cucumbers include In-N-Out Burger, Capital Grille, and Olive Garden.
The hospitalization rate in this outbreak is 29%, which is significantly higher than the usual 20% hospitalization rate in most Salmonella outbreaks. The majority of patients in this outbreak are children, who are more susceptible to complications from this type of infection. All strains of Salmonella Poona in this outbreak are not resistant to antibiotics.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, chills, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and diarrhea that may be bloody. The illness usually begins six hours to three days after exposure to the bacteria.
Most people recover without medical treatment, but some become so ill, either with dehydration or sepsis, that they must be hospitalized. If you have eaten cucumbers and have experienced these symptoms, please see your doctor.
The cucumbers were recalled almost three weeks ago, and this product does have a short shelf life. Outbreak numbers will most likely grow, even though the cucumbers are probably out of commerce, because it can take two to four weeks for illnesses to be reported to government officials.
A person, after getting sick, sees their doctor. Lab tests are ordered, and stool samples are taken. Those samples are sent to the lab. After testing, if a Salmonella infection is diagnosed, the doctor will inform public health officials.