The Hawaii State Department of Health announced yesterday that it has confirmed 10 cases of Salmonella Paratyphi B infection related to the consumption of previously frozen internationally imported raw ahi tuna at various locations on Oahu.

ahi-tuna-featured.jpgAccording to the Hawaiian Health Department, at least 13 laboratory-confirmed S. Paratyphi B cases have been reported in five other states:  California (7), Maryland (2), Pennsylvania (2), Massachusetts (1), and New York (1).  Public health agencies in all states are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine whether all ill individuals were exposed to raw ahi prior to becoming ill with salmonellosis.

“The Department of Health is concerned about these cases that are similar to a cluster of cases we investigated two years ago,” Hawaii Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a press release. “With the help of the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], we hope to identify the source so we can prevent any further illness.”

The Hawaii Department of Health investigated a similar Salmonella outbreak in between October 2007n and February 2008 in which raw imported frozen ahi was identified as the probable source of illness.  In that instance, cases were also identified in Colorado and California, but a Salmonella outbreak investigation did not implicate a definitive source of contaminated ahi.

Symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. In mild cases diarrhea may be non-bloody, occur several times per day, and not be very voluminous; in severe cases it may be frequent, bloody and/or mucoid, and of high volume.

Fever generally occurs in the 100°F to 102°F (38°C to 39°C) range. Vomiting is less common than diarrhea. Headaches, myalgias (muscle pain), and arthralgias (joint pain) are often reported as well. Whereas the diarrhea typically lasts 24 to 72 hours, patients often report fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms lasting 7 days or longer.