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2 Deaths & 100s of Illnesses in Salmonella in Cucumbers

Sep 15, 2015

Two deaths and nearly 350 Salmonella infections in 30 states have been traced to cucumbers found in restaurants and grocery stores, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The cucumbers, known as "slicer" or "American" cucumbers, are shipped in black, green, yellow and craft colored cartons labeled Limited Edition Pole Grown Cucumbers. The cucumbers are typically 7 to 10 inches long with a diameter of 1.75 to 2.5 inches, United Press International (UPI) reports. The cucumbers are sold in stores in a bulk display, without individual or plastic wrapping and in restaurants they are an ingredient in salads.

Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, within 12 to 72 hours of ingestion of the tainted food. The illness typically lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment, the CDC reports. But for some people, the illness can be serious enough to require hospitalization. The infection can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and other parts of the body, requiring treatment with antibiotics. Those at greatest risk include children under five, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems.

Federal and state health authorities identified clusters of people made ill in separate geographic areas and worked to trace back the food they ate to a common supplier. The investigation indicated that Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, of San Diego, Calif., was the common supplier of cucumbers that were eaten by the people in these illness clusters.

As of September 8, the CDC reports that 341 people in 30 states were infected with strains of Salmonella Poona. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Alaska (9), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (72), Colorado (14), Hawaii (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (12), Missouri (8), Montana (10), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (18), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (8), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (7), Texas (18), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (10), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3). Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015. Seventy people have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported, one in California and one in Texas.

Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce issued a recall for all Limited Edition cucumbers shipped from August 1 through September 3 after the FDA confirmed the Salmonella cases were linked to the cucumbers, according to the CDC.

"The safety and welfare of consumers is the highest priority for our company," said Fred Williamson, president of the company said in a news release. "We are taking all precautions possible to prevent further consumption of this product and are working to learn if and how these cucumbers are involved in the ongoing outbreak."

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