The California Department of Public Health has reported that a Salmonella Poona outbreak in that state has sickened 51 people. One person has died. Those people live in 17 California counties. Illnesses are still being reported. It can take 2 to 4 weeks from the time someone becomes sick with food poisoning and the time the illness is reported to public health officials.
Epidemiological evidence indicates that cucumbers imported from Baja Mexico by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, California are the source of this outbreak. They were grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency collected Salmonella bacteria from the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility. Those cucumbers were recalled on September 4, 2015.
The type of cucumber in this outbreak is called a “slicer” or “American” cucumber. It is usually about 7 to 10 inches long, dark green in color, and about 2″ in diameter. This cucumber is sold in bulk displays in grocery stores, with no brand information. If you purchased cucumbers from a grocery store since August 1 2015, check with that retailer to see if they were the recalled product. These cucumbers were also sold to restaurants, where they would typically have been part of a salad. If you ate at a restaurant since August 1, 2015, and ordered anything with cucumbers, and have been ill, see your doctor.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, that may be bloody. People usually get sick six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Most recover within a week without medical attention, but some become so ill they must be hospitalized. Salmonella infections can be deadly, especially to children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses.
If you ate cucumbers in the last month or so and have been sick, see your doctor. The long term complications of a Salmonella infection, even if mild, can be serious. Reactive arthritis, irritable bowel disease, and heart problems can develop after this infection.
DNA fingerprinting is being conducted to discover the pulsed field-gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern of the outbreak strain of Salmonella. The results will be reported when available.
These cucumbers were sold nationwide, distributed to Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. They may have been sold in other states as well through regional distribution centers. They reached consumers through retail outlets such as grocery stores, food service companies, wholesalers, restaurants, and brokers.
These cucumbers may still be in consumers homes. If you aren’t sure whether or not you purchased the recalled product, call your grocery store and ask to speak to the produce manager. He or she should be able to tell you if they sold cucumbers by Andrews & Williamson. If you still aren’t sure, throw the cucumbers away in a sealed container so animals and other people can’t get at them.