Federal public health staff are investigating a new outbreak of Salmonella illnesses. As yet the Food and Drug Administration has not identified a source of the pathogen.

The FDA reports that 100 patients have been identified in the outbreak of Salmonella Africana infections. However, the agency has not reported where the patients live or how old they are.

Investigation efforts of the outbreak include traceback, but the FDA has not reported what food or foods it is tracing.

Other outbreak news
Ongoing work to identify the source of E. coli O157:H7 contamination of organic walnuts has expanded.

The FDA is now conducting onsite inspections and sample analysis, but the agency is not reporting the specific location of the inspections or sampling.

In its previous update on the walnut outbreak, the FDA reported that of 10 patients interviewed, all 10 reported eating walnuts, and almost all reported buying organic walnuts from bulk bins in food co-ops or natural food stores.

As of April 30 there were 12 confirmed patients in the outbreak. Seven of the patients were so sick that they had to be admitted to hospitals. E. coli O157:H7 is a particularly dangerous strain of the pathogen and often results in serious illness, sometimes leading to kidney failure or brain damage.

On April 27, Gibson Farms Inc. initiated a voluntary recall and contacted their distributing customers. Distributors and retailers that may have received recalled bulk organic walnuts. The organic walnuts were distributed in natural food stores and co-ops in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Consumers who have the recalled walnuts on hand are urged to throw them away. If it is not clear what company distributed the organic walnuts they should be thrown away. The FDA is working to determine what specific stores received the walnuts. Some stores may have repackaged the bulk walnut halves and pieces into plastic clamshells or bags.

The recalled walnuts were sold in bulk boxes in 25-pound quantities and can be identified by lot 3325-043 and 3341-501 with expiration dates 5/21/25 and 6/7/25.

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten any organic walnuts and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. 

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients. 

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.