Public health officials in France are investigating a foodborne illness outbreak suspected to be caused by fuet, a type of sausage from Spain. The product was also sent to Belgium.

In total, 18 patients with salmonellosis have been identified. They became ill between July 8 and Aug. 3, according to Santé publique France. All patients, including 12 children, had consumed the Spanish dry-cured sausage.

A link between illness and the Spanish company Embutidos Sola SA was confirmed at the start of September, according to the Directorate General for Food (DGAL), the Directorate General for Health and Santé publique France.

Several batches consumed by those sick were found to be contaminated with a Salmonella strain that is a variant of Salmonella Typhimurium.

Withdrawal and recall
A withdrawal of several batches of fuet, from a single supermarket in Gironde, took place on Aug. 21, based on initial findings of the investigation.

Now, a withdrawal and recall of all fuet with all dates and bearing the mark ES-10.12147/B-CE, will be carried out in various stores across France. Auchan was one supermarket to publish a product recall notice.

Public health authorities advised people who still have the affected products not to consume them and to return them to the place of purchase.

In 2018, French authorities reported a foodborne outbreak caused by monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium 1,4,[5],12:i:-) in fuet sausage from Spain but it is not known if the incidents are connected.

In July this year, an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis was suspected to be caused by eggs from France. In April, Salmonella Miami in chilled vacuum-packed cooked sliced pork shoulder from Spain was linked to an outbreak, but no details have been released on these incidents by French authorities.

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 of the recalled 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 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.

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