State officials are warning the public against eating hummus from any Moby Dick House of Kabob location because a number of patrons who ate the spread have Salmonella infections.

In an alert today, the Maryland Department of Health reported it is investigating a cluster of illnesses that involves “individuals who all reported eating at Moby Dick House of Kabob restaurant.” The restaurant chain has multiple locations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, but the state department did not indicate what location or locations are implicated.

“At this time, Moby Dick House of Kabob has voluntarily suspended the sale of hummus and MDH (Maryland Department of Health) recommends that consumers discard hummus purchased from any Moby Dick House of Kabob,” according to the warning.

“Individuals who have recently eaten food from Moby Dick House of Kabob and are experiencing any adverse medical symptoms should seek medical attention.”

Since Sept. 10 at least nine people have been confirmed with Salmonella infections after eating at a Moby Dick House of Kabob restaurant. Of those, eight specifically reported eating hummus, according to MDH. The state did not report when the most recent patient became ill.

State officials say the outbreak investigation is ongoing and that public updates will be provided “as warranted.” The Maryland alert did not indicate if other state health departments are involved in the investigation. 

About Salmonella infections
Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the suspect food and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. 

Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

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