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Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Send Many to Hospital

A trio of food-related outbreaks – including salmonella and E. coli infections – have come to the attention of KinderMender. We are alerting our patients and recommending they dispose of any household food items they believe could be hazardous.

Salmonella Outbreaks

On April 15, the Louisiana-based Jensen Tuna voluntarily recalled individually packaged, one-pound bags and 20-pound boxes of frozen ground tuna. Lot numbers were z266, z271, and z272. Products were distributed to distributors in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Washington, and may have reached additional states. To date, 13 Salmonella Newport illnesses have been reported. All pediatric populations are at risk, particularly children who eat sushi. No deaths have occurred, but 15% of those getting ill as a result of affected products have been hospitalized. Restaurants and retailers have been urged to contact their distributors, and not to sell or serve frozen, ground tuna if there is any doubt whatsoever.

Officials are also investing a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections that are related to pre-cut melons supplied by the Indiana-based Caito Foods LLC. Ninety-three illnesses have been reported as of April 12. No deaths have occurred, but all pediatric populations are at risk.

Caito Foods LLC recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products that had been distributed in clear, plastic clamshell containers. Distribution states included Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Click here for a list of stores.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop the following symptoms 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated product:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps

Children younger than 5 years of age, individuals with compromised immune systems and hemoglobinopathies, pregnant women, the elderly, and those suffering from gastrointestinal tract disease are more likely to contract a severe salmonella illness.

E.Coli Outbreak

Preliminary information suggests that ground beef may be the source of a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O103 infections. No common supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified. As of April 23, 156 infections have been reported and 13 percent of those who became ill were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

At this time, the CDC is not recommending consumers to avoid eating ground beef, and retailers have not been told to stop selling or serving the product.

People usually become ill 3-4 days after swallowing the E. coli germ, which leads to the following symptoms:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea (often bloody)
  • Vomiting

Symptoms can last from 5-7 days. Hydration and supportive care are the preferred methods of treatment for E. coli infections. Ground beef should always be handled and prepared carefully to avoid foodborne illness, and proper handwashing is encouraged to cut down on the transference of germs.

If your child experiences any of the above symptoms seek medical assistance. KinderMender’s four convenient locations are open daily.

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