An outbreak of salmonella poisoning tied to imported cucumbers from Mexico has sickened 671 people, including 21 in Washington state, health officials said.
A still-growing outbreak of salmonella poisoning tied to cucumbers imported from Mexico has now sickened 671 people, including 21 in Washington state, health officials said Tuesday.
The outbreak, which has been blamed for three deaths, has now affected people in 34 states since early July. More than 130 people have been hospitalized and more than half those sickened are children.
The continued rise in illnesses caused by the Salmonella Poona strain is not surprising, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. It can take up to a week from the time people eat tainted food until they fall ill. Cucumbers have a shelf life of 14 days, so some people who didn’t know about the problem may have eaten contaminated produce.
Tests have identified cucumbers imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce in San Diego, as the culprit. Several recalls were announced earlier this month of cucumbers sent to 24 states, including Idaho and Oregon, but not Washington. Further distribution may also have occurred.
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The cucumbers in question are known as “slicer” or American cucumbers and are dark green, about 7-10 inches long. Health officials recommend discarding the cucumbers. Washing won’t remove all of the salmonella bacteria from the surface and it’s not clear whether the contamination is on the peel or in the flesh of the cucumber, experts said.
Salmonella infections typically cause symptoms including nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, fever, chills and headache. While most people recover without treatment, the infection can be serious for children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.