Conn. Residents Sickened by Salmonella Linked to Papayas from Mexico

A salmonella outbreak linked to papayas from Mexico that is already being blamed for one death in the US has sickened at least four people in Connecticut, according to public health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 109 people in 16 states have been sickened by the Salmonella outbreak. The outbreak is being blamed for the death of a person in New York City.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a July news release that it and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with state health officials to track cases of the foodborne illness linked to Caribena brand Maradol papayas, which have a yellow skin when ripe and a salmon-colored flesh.

Genetic testing has linked salmonella found in papaya samples from a Maryland grocery store with samples taken from sickened people, the CDC said.

The Maryland Department of Health said in July that three of five papayas bought at a Baltimore grocery store were contaminated with salmonella. Interviews revealed that several ill people in Maryland shopped at the store and bought papayas, which helped officials identify a source.

The FDA and CDC, along with state and local partners, are still investigating the outbreak. The FDA is advising that consumers avoid Caribena and Cavi brands of Maradol papayas, and all varieties of papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm located in Campeche, Mexico. Certain lots of Cavi brand papayas were recalled by Agroson’s, LLC, on Aug. 4. The company said the fruit was distributed on July 16 – July 19, and available to customers until July 31. Anyone with these papayas should throw them away.

Papayas from Carica de Campeche have tested positive for multiple strains of Salmonella, including Salmonella Kiambu, Salmonella Thompson, Salmonella Agona, Salmonella Senftenberg, and Salmonella Gaminara

Cases have been reported in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and fever. Young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections.

Anyone unsure about whether the papaya they bought is a Maradol from Mexico should not "eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out," the FDA said.

For more information from the CDC, click here.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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