An Salmonella outbreak of illnesses linked to Mexican-grown cucumbers has expanded to 34 states, prompting federal officials to step up multistate recall efforts.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a number of state and local health officials continue to investigate the outbreak of illnesses caused by a strain of Salmonella Poona, which has infected nearly 700 people in 34 states.
The FDA announced Wednesday that 113 people have been hospitalized with salmonellosis and three people have died after eating contaminated cucumbers grown in Baja, Mexico, and supplied by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, Calif., under the “Limited Edition Pole Grown Cucumbers” label and by Custom Produce Sales, which are sold under the “Fat Boy” brand name.
The FDA describes the cucumbers as a dark green “American” or “slicer” variety, which grows 7 to 10 inches long. The cucumbers are typically displayed in stores in bulk fashion without individual labels or packaging.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and other symptoms within hours of infection. In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these severe cases, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and damage vital organs with potentially deadly consequences unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Federal officials report that the first illnesses were reported on July 3, 2015 and continued to Sept. 21, 2015. The FDA urges customers to avoid eating the recalled cucumbers, asking their retailer or restaurant what company supplies their cucumbers if necessary. Customers should avoid eating cucumbers if they suspect they are part of the recall.
Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than 5 years of age, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year from acute salmonellosis.