INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana State Health Department reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health officials in many states, the Indian Health Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an ongoing multi-state outbreak of human Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections. Indiana has one confirmed case related to the outbreak.
An epidemiologic investigation conducted by the New Mexico and Texas Departments of Health and the Indian Health Service has identified consumption of raw tomatoes as the likely source of the illnesses in those states. The specific type and source of tomatoes is under investigation; however, the data suggest that large tomatoes, including Roma and round red, are the source.
At this time, the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers in Indiana and all states to limit their tomato consumption to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, and tomatoes grown at home. Consumers should be aware that raw tomatoes are often used in the preparation of fresh salsa, guacamole, and pico de gallo, are part of fillings for tortillas, and are used in many other dishes.
The FDA also recommends only consuming raw red plum, raw red Roma, or raw red round tomatoes grown and harvested from the following areas that have not been associated with the outbreak:
Consumers who are unsure of where the tomatoes they have in their home are from are encouraged to contact the store or place of purchase for that information, or to discard the tomatoes.
All consumers are advised to:
- Refrigerate within 2 hours or discard cut, peeled, or cooked tomatoes;
- Avoid purchasing bruised or damaged tomatoes and discard any that appear spoiled;
- Thoroughly wash all tomatoes under running water;
- Keep tomatoes that will be consumed raw separate from raw meats, raw seafood, and raw produce items; and
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot water and soap when switching between types of food products.
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may occur. Infants, elderly persons, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.
When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death. In these severe cases, antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
According to the FDA, since mid April, there have been 145 reported cases of salmonellosis nationwide caused by Salmonella Saintpaul, an uncommon form of Salmonella. At least 23 hospitalizations have been reported. For additional information, visit the CDC Web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/ or the FDA Web site at: http://www.fda.gov/.
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