Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Number of Cucumber Related Salmonellosis Cases Rises

There have been an addition 61 cucumber linked cases of salmonellosis since the September 29 CDC outbreak update. This brings the total to 732 people.  With a relatively short shelf-life of 14 days, CDC anticipates that there should not be too many more, if any, additional cases.
It is surprising the lack of outrage in the media.  732 cases.  4 deaths.  Let's compare that to the Salmonella outbreak associated with Foster Farms raw chicken, a product that is supposed to be cooked.  In that outbreak , CDC reported that "a total of 634 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg were reported from 29 states and Puerto Rico from March 1, 2013 to July 11, 2014.  38% of ill persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported."   Have we become desensitized?  Or are there less deep pockets to access?
Certainly the scope is huge.  35 states.  This demonstrates the impact of one initial supply hub in moving product across the county. 
It also shows the inability to track an outbreak related to produce.  3 months is a long time for such a short shelf-life product.
  Epi Curve Multisate Salmonella outbreak for Imported Cucumbers - Poona
CDC Outbreak
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Poona Infections Linked to Imported Cucumbers
Posted October 6, 2015 4:00 PM ET
What's New?
  • Since the last update on September 29, 2015, 61 more ill people have been reported from 24 states. Given the 14-day shelf life of cucumbers and the gap between when someone gets sick and when that illness is reported to public health, it is not unexpected to continue to see illnesses reported after the recalls.
  • A death has been reported from Oklahoma, bringing the total number of deaths to four.
  • Maryland was added to the list of states with ill people, bringing the total number of states to 35.
CDC, multiple states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona infections. This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.
  • 732 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 35 states, an increase of 61 cases since the last update on September 29.
  • 150 ill people have been hospitalized, and four deaths have been reported from Arizona (1), California (1), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (1).
  • 50% of ill people are children younger than 18 years.
  • It is not unexpected to continue to see illnesses reported after the recalls, for several reasons. It can take up to a week from the time people eat food contaminated with Salmonella before they get sick. Also, cucumbers have a shelf life of up to 14 days. Some people may not have known about the recall and eaten the contaminated cucumbers after the recall.
  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations have identified cucumbers imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as a likely source of the infections in this outbreak.
Several recalls of cucumbers that may be contaminated with Salmonella have been announced as a result of this investigation.
  • On September 11, 2015, Custom Produce Sales voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting August 1, 2015. Unlabeled cucumbers packed into a black reusable plastic container, and sold in Nevada since August 1, 2015, are also covered by this recall. These cucumbers were sent to Custom Produce Sales from Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.
  • On September 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015.
  • Recalled cucumbers were distributed in the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Further distribution to other states may have occurred.
The type of cucumber that has been recalled is often referred to as a “slicer” or “American” cucumber and is dark green in color. Typical length is 7 to 10 inches. In retail locations the cucumbers are typically sold in a bulk display without any individual packaging or plastic wrapping.
  • Photos of the packing cartons are available(
  • Consumers should not eat, restaurants should not serve, and retailers should not sell any of the recalled cucumbers.
  • If you aren’t sure if your cucumbers were recalled, ask the place of purchase or your supplier. When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.
  • CDC's National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System( laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on clinical isolates collected from 6 ill people infected with the outbreak strains.
  • All (100%) were susceptible to all antibiotics tested on the NARMS panel.
  • CDC’s NARMS laboratory continues to conduct antibiotic resistance testing on additional isolates, and results will be reported when they are available.

Washington Post
4 dead. 732 sickened in cucumber salmonella outbreak. Toll keeps going up, CDC says.

Four people have died and at least 732 sickened in a salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico, federal officials announced Tuesday.

In late September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced three people had died and 445 people had been infected in the outbreak that has now been reported in 35 states, including Maryland..

The deaths occurred in Arizona, California, Texas and Oklahoma, and more than half of the people sickened by salmonella poona are children, according to the CDC.

Laboratory tests have diagnosed additional infections after companies voluntary recalled garden cucumbers, the kind of dark green cucumbers typically sold in bulk display in grocery stores and measuring seven to 10 inches long.

[Can Twitter and Yelp really help spot a salmonella outbreak?]

On Sept. 11, Custom Produce Sales recalled cucumbers grown in Baja California and sold under the "Fat Boy" label and distributed in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

San Diego, Calif.-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce announced a voluntary recall on Sept. 4. The cucumbers were distributed between Aug. 1 and Sept. 3, sold under the label "Limited Edition," and their cases indicated they were grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico.

Children, adults over age 65 and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to getting severely ill from being exposed to the bacteria. Common systems include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

[Foodborne infections k hundreds, hospitalized thousands last year]

The illness usually lasts between four and seven days, and many people don't require treatment, according to health officials. But salmonella can be deadly, particularly if a person doesn't receive antibiotics.

About 1.2 million people get sick and 450 die annually in the United States from salmonella exposure, according to CDC estimates.

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