The number of people sick in the United Kingdom in an outbreak linked to melons has almost doubled.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Public Health England (PHE) are investigating the incident with 99 people sick since April. It was previously known that 52 people were ill in the UK.

Those more than 70 and less than 9 years old are the age groups mostly affected. Investigations are focusing on the supply chain of galia, cantaloupe and honeydew melons from Honduras and Costa Rica.

FSA is working with trade associations and retail businesses to get information relevant to the outbreak. A quick rise in confirmed infections occurred in the week commencing May 24.

Initial advice from the FSA warned about consuming whole melons from Brazil but further investigations including analysis of the food chain and testing has shown that product from Brazil is unlikely to be involved.

Most UK retailers may have stocked the affected melons, which have now been removed from sale. Affected fruit was bought on or before May 28. People can identify the country of origin from a sticker on the fruit. If the fruit does not have a sticker consumers who have it in their homes should throw it away in an abundance of caution.

Other affected countries
As of late May, 11 other countries are also affected by the same outbreak strain of Salmonella Braenderup.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is supporting an international outbreak investigation and the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) has been following the multi-country outbreak since May 10.

Patients have been reported in Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Canada and Switzerland.

Figures provided by the ECDC to Food Safety News show 356 people are sick of which 267 have been confirmed.

Belgium has 51 infections with four confirmed from March. A total of 27 patients live in the Netherlands.

Germany has 75 patients of which 34 have been confirmed since March 30 and Switzerland has 15 cases with 12 confirmed between March 24 and May 7.

Denmark identified 30 people with Salmonella Braenderup infections between March 26 and May 17 and Sweden has confirmed 45 patients who became ill from early April.

Nine people are sick in Finland from mid-April and Norway has five cases between April 13 and 26 in a nursing home. Both Luxembourg and the Czech Republic have three confirmed patients.

One person is ill in Canada with symptom onset of March 8. The 53-year old male has no history of travel. Five people are affected in France and there are four patients in Ireland since March 30.

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