Salmonella poisoning tied to cucumbers from Mexico has made nearly 900 people sick since last summer, including 26 in Washington state. Cases are still being reported, federal health officials said Tuesday.
A deadly outbreak of salmonella food poisoning tied to Mexican-grown cucumbers has been linked to six deaths and nearly 900 illnesses since last summer, including 26 in Washington state, health officials reported Tuesday.
Two additional deaths and 50 more illnesses tied to the Salmonella Poona outbreak have been reported since the last update in November, the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) said. That includes illnesses that began in January, raising new questions about an ongoing source of contamination.
Consumers who may have had recalled cucumbers are being urged to wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where the vegetables were stored and to wash reusable grocery bags often. In addition, restaurants and retailers that received the recalled cucumbers should wash and sanitize any crates or other containers where cucumbers were held or sold, the CDC said.
Overall, 888 people in 39 states have been sickened by the outbreak that began in July and was tied to fresh slicing cucumbers grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. That includes 191 people who were hospitalized and six who died. Two recent deaths in California occurred in people who were infected with the outbreak strain of salmonella, but the infection was not considered to be a factor in their deaths, CDC officials said.
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Whole-genome sequencing showed that the strains of Salmonella Poona from ill people and from contaminated cucumbers distributed by Andrew & Williamson are closely genetically related.
Andrew & Williamson of San Diego recalled all cucumbers marked with the Limited Edition label and sold between Aug. 1, 2015 and Sept. 3, 2015. Custom Produce Sales of Parlier, Calif., also recalled all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting Aug. 1 because of potential contamination.
Salmonella infection typically causes mild illness with symptoms including fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most healthy people recover quickly, but the bacteria can cause dangerous and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly or those with underlying health problems.