In less than a month, the patient count in a Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut fruit sold by Tailor Cut Produce has jumped from 11 people to 96 people across 11 states.
Some of the additional 85 illnesses were suspected when federal officials posted a notice on Dec. 11, 2019, but those had not been confirmed at that time, according to an update today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Food and Drug Administration also released an outbreak update today that renews its warning against the implicated fresh-cut fruit from the Tailor Cut Produce in New Brunswick, NJ. The company issued a recall Dec. 7, 2019, for its “Fruit Luau” cut fruit mix as well as cut honeydew melon, cut cantaloupe, and cut pineapple products.
In late December state officials reported the outbreak had sickened at least 33 people at four health care facilities in Pennsylvania and 26 in Delaware’s schools. Today in its update the CDC reported that 27 of the patients in the 11 affected states have been so sick they had to be admitted to hospitals. No deaths have been confirmed. Ages of outbreak patients range from less than 1 to 92 years old.
As of Dec. 30, 2019, according to the CDC’s update today, the confirmed victims became ill on dates ranging from Nov. 15-Dec. 10. Officials expect the patient count to continue to increase because of the lag time between when a person becomes sick and when federal officials received results of confirmation tests from state health departments. The lag time is running four weeks or more for this outbreak of Salmonella Javiana.
In the update today the FDA spoke directly to the entities that received the suspect fruit. The products were not sold directly to consumers in grocery stores.
“Foodservice and institutional food operators should not sell or serve the recalled products.
“Tailor Cut Produce reports that their products may be found in restaurants, banquet facilities, hotels, schools, long-term care facilities and institutional food service establishments in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
“Because the recalled products may have been distributed to nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other facilities that cater to vulnerable populations, it is important that these facilities do not sell or serve them. Please consult with your distributor to confirm the source of the fruit mix and cut fruit used in your operation.”
About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. 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 recalled products 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 require hospitalization.
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.
Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.
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