The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their investigation into the Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to imported cucumbers. Since the last update on September 15, 2015, 140 new illnesses have been reported. Now at least 558 people in 33 states have been sickened in this outbreak.
One hundred twelve people have been hospitalized as a result of their infections, and three people have died. Those who died lived in Arizona, California, and Texas. Fifty-two percent of ill people are children under the age of 18. The new states involved in this outbreak are Iowa and South Dakota.
A recall by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, which imported the cucumbers, has been issued. The FDA has discovered that the cucumbers were produced at Rancho Don Juanito de R.L. de C.V. in Baja, Mexico and issued an import alert banning those cucumbers from entering the United States.
The Andrew & Williamson recall was for all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015. Custom Produce Sales recalled all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting August 1, 2015. And in Alaska, Safeway and Carrs recalled made-to-order deli sandwiches that were made with recalled cucumbers.
The recalled cucumbers were distributed in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. They may have been sold and distributed in other states as well.
The case count by state is: Alaska (12), Arizona (95), Arkansas (8), California (120), Colorado (17), Hawaii (1), Idaho (20), Illinois (8), Indiana (2), Iowa (1), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (29), Missouri (9), Montana (14), Nebraska (5), Nevada (11), New Mexico (27), New York (5), North Dakota (3), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (17), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (1), Texas (24), Utah (46), Virginia (1), Washington (18), Wisconsin (29), and Wyoming (4). Illnesses started on July 3, 2015 and have continued to September 11, 2015.
Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 99 years, with a median age of 16. Among 387 people who have been interviewed, 112, or 29%, are hospitalized. That is a higher rate than the usual number of hospitalizations associated with a Salmonella outbreak. Illnesses that occurred after August 28, 2015 may not be reported yet. It can take weeks between a diagnosis and report to government officials. This outbreak may grow again.
The stores that have recalled these cucumbers include some locations of Walmart, WinCo, Savemart, Ralphs, and Food 4 Less. It has been difficult to pinpoint where the vegetables were sold, since no distribution list has been released. The cucumbers were also sold at Red Lobster stores and are linked to an outbreak through that venue.
The cucumbers in question are called “slicer” or “American” cucumbers. They are 7 to 10 inches long, dark green, with a large seed center. The cucumbers are usually 1.75 to 2.5 inches in diameter and are sold in bulk bins with little or no labeling.
If you ate cucumbers in the last few months and have been sick with the symptoms of a Salmonella infection, please see your doctor. Those symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. Symptoms usually begin six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
Most people recover without medical treatment, but some become so ill they must be hospitalized. The complications of a Salmonella food poisoning infection can include sepsis, or a blood infection. Long term consequences can include arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.