More than 30 people have been confirmed sick in an outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield infections traced to fresh raw salmon.
Of the 33 patients, 16 have completed interviews with health officials and 12 of those reported eating sushi, sashimi, or poke. Thirteen of the 33 patients have been so sick that they had to be admitted to hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating the outbreak since late September and has traced the implicated fish to Mariscos Bahia Inc. The FDA found multiple environmental samples from the company’s Pico Rivera, CA, distribution center to be contaminated with Salmonella. Some of the fish could have been sent to the Mariscos Bahia Inc. facilities in Phoenix, AZ, and then sent to restaurants.
There has not been a recall. According to Mariscos Bahia Inc., seafood was only sold directly to restaurants in California and Arizona and would not be available for purchase by consumers in stores.
“While epidemiological evidence indicates that ill people consumed fresh, raw salmon processed at this firm, the presence of Salmonella in the processing environment indicates that additional types of fish processed in the same area of the facility could also be contaminated which includes fresh, raw halibut, Chilean seabass, tuna, and swordfish,” according to the FDA.
The salmon was supplied to restaurants in California and Arizona. There are 21 patients in California, 11 in Arizona and one in Illinois. The most recent illness onset was Sept. 18.
The FDA recommends that restaurants check with their suppliers and not sell or serve fresh salmon, halibut, Chilean seabass, tuna, and swordfish received fresh, not frozen from Mariscos Bahia Inc. distribution centers in Pico Rivera, CA, and Phoenix, AZ.
“If restaurants received these fish and then froze it, they should not sell or serve it. Restaurants should also be sure to wash and sanitize locations where these fish from Mariscos Bahia, Inc. were stored or prepared, adoring to the FDA.
“Consumers eating salmon, halibut, Chilean seabass, tuna, and swordfish at a restaurant in California or Arizona should ask whether the fish is from Mariscos Bahia, Inc and was received fresh, not frozen.”
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 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.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here)