State and local health investigators have now identified 16 cases of Salmonella Poona linked to this multistate outbreak in Pima County, with 85 total cases in Arizona and 418 cases in 31 states nationwide. All of these cases are part of a national outbreak linked to cucumbers grown in Mexico and distributed by California-based companies.
In Pima County, most cases are in older adults and children; with four of the total cases in adults over 55 and nine in children younger than 12. Six of the Pima County cases have led to hospitalization and one person in Pima County has died.
According to the Pima County Health Department, the person who died was an older female who had serious underlying health conditions and died while being treated for her illness in an area hospital.
“This circumstance is a saddening reminder that illnesses that often don’t cause a high level of harm to most people can have a devastating effect on those in our community that are most medically vulnerable,” said Health Department Director, Dr. Francisco Garcia.
Earlier this month a national recall was issued for cucumbers distributed by a California company. The cucumbers were sold under the “Limited Edition” brand name and were voluntarily recalled by the producer. Pima County Health Department has been actively participating in the recall by taking samples and notifying retailers where individuals indicated they might have consumed cucumbers from their location.
The Health Department has four important reminders for the public and food business owners:
- If consumers or businesses are not sure if their cucumbers were recalled, they should ask the place of purchase or the supplier. When in doubt, do not eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.
- Grocery operators, restaurant management and the public can receive timely information concerning recalls when they are issued by signing up for recall alerts by visiting www.fda.gov/Food and clicking on “Recalls, Outbreaks & Emergencies”
- People who prepare food in nursing homes, assisted living, health and childcare settings, or other venues where medically vulnerable individuals should take extra precautions to ensure that they are not using recalled cucumbers.
- All restaurants handlers should ensure that appropriate food safety rules and regulations are followed during every step of food preparation and serving.
The likelihood and severity of infections from diseases like Salmonella are heightened in young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems due to conditions like heart disease, COPD, HIV, or other illnesses.
Salmonella infection symptoms usually include headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and sometimes vomiting beginning 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated food or beverage. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. People concerned about their symptoms should see their health care provider.