May 24, 2024

Salmonella Adelaide Outbreak Linked to Precut Melon From Kroger and Walmart; Some May Sue

A Salmonella Adelaide outbreak that is linked to precut melon sold at Walmart in some midwestern stats has sickened at least 60 people. The CDC has not released a formal statement, but has said that 31 of those 60 people are hospitalized.

Salmonella Adelaide Outbreak Precut Melon Walmart Kroger

The patients in this Salmonella Adelaide outbreak live in five states. The case count by state is: Michigan (32), Illinois (6), Indiana (11), Missouri (10), and Ohio (1). Illness onset dates range from April 30, 2018 to May 18, 2018. The patient age range is from 1 to 97 years old.  The press releases state “No deaths have been confirmed to date.”

Officials in Michigan and Illinois have issued press releases about this outbreak. The CDC says that pre-cut melons, including fruit salads, are the likely source of this outbreak.

IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah said, “The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging people not to eat precut melon purchased from any Walmart store in Illinois, or any of the other affected states, at this time. If you have recently purchased precut melon from Walmart, throw it out. If you have recently eaten precut melon from a Walmart store and experience diarrhea, fever, and cramps, contact your health care provider.”

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Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients in Salmonella outbreaks, including the Faraway Foods chicken Salad outbreak in the Midwest this spring, said, “This is a very high hospitalization rate for a Salmonella outbreak. The typical rate is about 20%. This could mean that the fruit is contaminated with a lot of bacteria, or the strain could be very virulent.”

The Michigan press release states that people who have been sickened in this outbreak bought pre-cut melon at Walmart or Kroger stores in the Midwest. Walmart and Kroger are cooperating with this investigation. If you live in the Midwest, and have purchased precut melons or salads containing any type of melon at Walmart or Kroger, throw it out.

The CDC is not recommending that people avoid whole melons.

This investigation is growing rapidly. The FDA is string to identify the supplier of pre-cut  melons to stores where those who are sickened shopped. Public official’s advice to consumers may expend to include other stores where pre-cut melon was sold.

Melons have been the source for several serious and large food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. in years past. The melon’s webbed skin can harbor bacteria, and that surface is not easily washed. Then when the fruit is sliced, bacteria on the surface spread to the interior. These fruits do not have a “kill step” of heat or other method of killing bacteria, so people eat that cut fruit and get sick. Whole and precut melons have caused illnesses. In 2011, 147 people were sickened and 33 people died in a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that was linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupe.

It’s also important to remember that the term “melon” could apply to cantaloupe, honeydew melons, watermelons, or any other variety. No government officials has specified the type of fruit, other than to use the word “melon.” And this is a good reminder to wash whole melons thoroughly, with a scrub brush, before you slice or cut them.

The symptoms of salmonellosis include fever, abdominal and stomach pains and cramps, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea that may be bloody. The long term complications of this infection, even after someone recovers completely, include reactive arthritis, endocarditis, irritable bowel syndrome, and high blood pressure.


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