Salmonella outbreak more than doubles in a week; Illinois cases reported

No food source has been attributed to the outbreak, but state and local officials from infected states have collected food samples from restaurants where sick people ate and found salmonella in a condiment cup containing cilantro and lime.

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To help avoid possible salmonella contamination, the CDC recommends people practice food safety measures such as cleaning utensils, hands and foods, as well as separating different foods and making sure all food is cooked to a high enough temperature. 

To help avoid possible salmonella contamination, the CDC recommends people practice food safety measures such as cleaning utensils, hands and foods, as well as separating different foods and making sure all food is cooked to a high enough temperature.

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A recent salmonella outbreak with no known food source has more than doubled in infections in over a week.

On Sept. 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionreported 127 people in 25 stateshad been infected with salmonella, resulting in 18 hospitalizations. Last week, the CDC announced the number of reported illness had more than doubled:279 people have been sickened,and the outbreak has reachedanother four states. An additional eight people have now been hospitalized because ofsalmonella.

On Sept. 2, 20 people were reported sick by the strain of SalmonellaOranienburg. Since then, the CDC says the outbreak has”grown rapidly.”

No food source has been attributed to the outbreak, but state and local officials from infected states have collected food samples from restaurants where sick people ateand found salmonella in a condiment cup containing cilantro and lime. The cup also had onions, but they weren’t inside when the food was tested.

“Because multiple food items were present in the container and in the sample that was tested, it is not possible to know which food item was contaminated. We are using this information in conjunction with other available information to help narrow the list of possible foods linked to illness,” the agency said in a statement.

Health officialsalso believetrue number of infections is much higher than reported as some people recover from salmonella without medical care and therefore are not tested for it. It can also takesup to four weeks to determine whether someone was part of an outbreak.

CDC data shows the outbreak has stretched across the U.S.; Texas, 81, and Oklahoma, 40, have the most cases. Other notable states with outbreaks include Illinois, 23, Virginia, 22, and Minnesota, 19. The infected people have ranged in age from less than a year old to 89 years old; 59% of sick people are females. No deaths have been reported.

Symptoms of salmonella infectioninclude diarrhea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps and dehydration, which can begin six hours to six days after being exposed to the bacteria,according to theCDC.Most people recover without treatment after four to seven days.

Childrenunder the age of 5,people65 years and olderand those with weakened immune systemsmay experience more severe illness from salmonella.

Last month,862,000 pounds of uncuredantipasto productswere recalledfor possible salmonella contamination that caused sickness inpeopleacross 17 states.

The CDC recommends people practice food safety measures such as cleaning utensils, hands and foods, as well as separating different foods andmaking sure all food is cookedto a high enoughtemperature.The agency also recommends refrigeratingperishable foods within two hours and thawing foods in a refrigerator.

Contributing: Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY

Read more at usatoday.com

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