February 27, 2024

California Salmonella Outbreak Associated with Raw Sushi

A Salmonella outbreak in southern California has sickened at least 25 people. Eighteen cases are confirmed, and seven others are suspected. Five people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. Officials believe the outbreak may be linked to raw tuna in sushi. Ventura County Health Department released information to the media late Monday night.

Salmonella BacteriaIf you have been sick with the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, contact the Ventura County Environmental Health Division at 805-654-2813. You can also fill out a complaint form at the Ventura County Environmental Health web site.

A “closely related” strain of Salmonella paratyphi caused another outbreak in California and Hawaii in 2010. Those illnesses were linked to raw tuna that was imported from Indonesia. And a huge Salmonella outbreak in 2012 was linked to raw tuna scrape imported from India that was used to make sushi. The Salmonella in this outbreak is not genetically linked to the bacteria in either of those outbreaks.

The case count is: Los Angeles county (7), Orange county (4), Ventura county (4), Riverside county (2), and Santa Barbara county (1). Seven other patients live in other states, but had traveled to the area before becoming sick. The tuna may have been eaten at several sites across the state.

As of April 17, ten people sickened in this outbreak have been interviewed. All indicated that they consumed sushi before becoming ill, and more than 80% said they ate raw tuna. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection will appear within six hours to three days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. A Salmonella infection will produce nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever. Most people recover on their own after this type of infection, but some do become so ill they need to be hospitalized, usually for sepsis or dehydration.

If you ate sushi, especially containing raw tuna, in California recently and have experienced the symptoms of this infection, see your doctor. The illness is treatable with antibiotics, but your best bet for a complete recovery is early treatment. Long term complications of a Salmonella infection include reactive arthritis, heart problems, inflammation of the spine, inflammation of the eye, and inflammation of the heart membrane.


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