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More maradol papaya salmonella reported, but no new LI cases

Salmonella in papayas has sickened at least 39

Salmonella in papayas has sickened at least 39 people in New York, officials said. Photo Credit: jar via Flickr Creative Commons

A nationwide salmonella poisoning outbreak spiked to 141 cases as of Friday, up from 109 on Tuesday, but no new cases have been reported on Long Island, health officials said.

The outbreak, first reported about two weeks ago, has been linked to yellow maradol papayas from a farm in Mexico, officials said.

Nassau County had eight reported cases earlier this week, but further testing revealed one of them was a different strain of salmonella, the county health department said. Suffolk County reported Friday it still had three cases.

There have been 39 reported cases in New York State and 27 cases in New Jersey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The 66 cases in the bi-state area account for almost half the 141 cases nationwide, and the 26 cases reported in New York City are the highest of any locality, officials said.

Hispanics account for 67 percent of those infected, the CDC said, but it did not provide a geographical breakdown for those cases.

The CDC referred questions about the distribution of cases — including four cases in Oklahoma and one in Wisconsin — to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA declined to discuss the distribution of cases and said in an email that it “is continuing to investigate and will post more information on our website as it becomes available.”

Yellow maradol papayas marketed under the brand names Caribeña, Cavi and Valery have been recalled by their distributors, the FDA said, adding that more brands may be announced as information becomes available.

One distributor is in the South Bronx and two are in Texas, according to the FDA website.

The CDC had recommended earlier this month that people not eat any yellow maradol papayas from Mexico but has since narrowed that to the three recalled brands.

There has been one death linked to the outbreak, in New York City, and 45 cases nationwide have required hospitalization, according to the CDC and the New York City Department of Health.

Most people infected with the salmonella bacteria develop symptoms — including diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps — within 12 to 72 hours, health officials say.

It can be serious and sometimes fatal in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems, health officials say.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover, health officials say.

The Carioca de Campeche farm in Campeche, Mexico, appears to be the source of the outbreak, according to the FDA. The farm is on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The CDC said laboratory evidence using genetic testing has connected some of the illnesses to papayas from the farm.

Key facts on the outbreak

  • Maradol papayas have a green skin that turns yellow as the fruit ripens.
  • A sticker on the maradol papaya should say if the papaya is from Mexico.
  • If you aren’t sure if the papaya you bought is a maradol papaya from Mexico, you can ask the place of purchase. Restaurants and retailers can ask their supplier.
  • When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.
  • Wash and sanitize countertops as well as drawers or shelves in refrigerators where maradol papayas were stored.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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