The patient count in an outbreak traced to cantaloupes has doubled and more recalls have been issued. 

As of today, Nov. 24, 99 people have been confirmed infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Sundsvall. That is an increase of 56 since the initial outbreak notice was issued Nov. 17 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two people have died. Of 77 people with information available, 45 have been hospitalized. Sick people are spread across 32 states.

Canadian officials are investigating a related outbreak. As of Nov. 22, there were 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella infections in the outbreak, which stretches across six Canadian provinces. Six patients have been hospitalized. 

In both countries sick people range in age from less than 1 to 100 years old. People became sick between mid-October and mid-November.

Additional Salmonella infections are under investigation in both countries and more illnesses associated with the outbreaks are expected to be confirmed. 

According to the CDC in the United States there are likely many more sick people than the current patient count because people frequently do not seek medical attention if symptoms are mild. Also, unless specific testing is done, Salmonella infections are often misdiagnosed as other illnesses. It can take a month or more for sick people to be confirmed as part of an outbreak.

Public health officials are interviewing sick people about the foods they ate during the days before becoming ill. Of 33 interviewed so far in the United States, 29 have reported eating cantaloupe.

Lab tests have shown certain cantaloupe to be contaminated with Salmonella. There are recalls in the United States and Canada for certain brands of whole cantaloupe and freshcut cantaloupe products. Food safety experts say washing cantaloupe does not remove pathogens because of the rough rind. Also, bacteria on the outside of the fruit can be dragged into the flesh during cutting.

In the United States recalls so far are:

Whole cantaloupes

  • Might have a sticker that says “Malichita” or “Rudy,” with the number “4050”, and “Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique”
  • See Trufresh recall
    and Crown Jewels recall
    for more details

Vinyard brand pre-cut cantaloupes

  • Includes cantaloupe cubes, melon medleys, and fruit medleys
  • Sold in Oklahoma stores between October 30 and November 10, 2023
  • Most have a yellow label with “Vinyard,” and some have a red label with “Fresh”
  • See recall notice
     for product photos and more details

ALDI whole cantaloupe and pre-cut fruit products

  • Includes whole cantaloupes, cantaloupe chunks in clamshell packaging, and pineapple spears in clamshell packaging
  • Best-by dates between October 27 and October 31, 2023
  • Sold in ALDI stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wisconsin
  • See recall notice for more details

Freshness Guaranteed brand and RaceTrac brand pre-cut cantaloupes

  • Includes cantaloupe chunks, seasonal blend, melon mixes, and fruit mixes
  • Packed in clear square or round plastic containers
  • Best-by dates between November 7 to November 12, 2023
  • Sold in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
  • See recall notice
     for more details

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 cantaloupe 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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