June 17, 2024

Salmonella Oranienburg Cantaloupe, Cut Fruit and Canada Redux

In its November 30 update on a deadly cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed the fast-growing outbreak has caused 180 illnesses, 78 hospitalizations, and three deaths in the U.S. and Canada. And that some of the patients are residents of long-term care facilities.

The update also disclosed that a second Salmonella strain, Salmonella Oranienburg, has been linked to some of these illnesses. And that’s notable because Oranienburg isn’t a top-10 strain in the U.S. It’s been linked to a handful of multistate outbreaks over the last two decades. There was a 2014 chia powder outbreak,  back-to-back outbreaks linked to shell eggs produced by the same company in 2015 and 2016,  and a 2021 fresh onions outbreak that sickened 1,040 people.

But there was another multistate outbreak that wasn’t announced while it was ongoing, a 2006 Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak linked to cut cantaloupe and honeydew melon that sickened 41 people at hospitals and long-term care facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

The 2006 outbreak was linked to melon processed in Canada and likely grown in the U.S., while the current outbreak is linked to cantaloupe grown in Mexico and processed in the U.S.

Just two of the 117 U.S. cases in the ongoing outbreak are attributed to Salmonella Oranienburg, the remainder were caused by the rare and virulent strain Salmonella Sundsvall.

Between 2004 and 2014, annual totals of Salmonella Sundsvall cases nationwide were measured in single digits, according to the CDC. Just 42 cases were reported during those 11 years. A more common strain, Salmonella Typhimurium, caused 67,829 during that same period.

In Minnesota, that state reporting the highest number of illnesses and the only fatalities in this outbreak, Carlota Medus, an epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health’s foodborne diseases unit, told the StarTribune she has only seen the strain once before in her 25 years at the department.

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection usually develop within six to 72 hours of exposure. They include nausea, fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that can be bloody. If you have eaten melon associated with this outbreak and experience these symptoms, see a doctor right away and mention your potential exposure to contaminated cantaloupe.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors, and families in wrongful death cases.

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