Deadly salmonella outbreak expands to 19 states; some papaya brands recalled
Thirty-two more salmonella cases, including 10 hospitalizations, linked to yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico have been reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, bringing the number of people affected to 141 across 19 states. This includes one death and 45 total hospitalizations.
The salmonella outbreak has been linked to Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm, which are sold under brand names including Caribeña, Cavi and Valery.
The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration have updated their advice to urge consumers to not eat papayas from the farm or from the brands Caribeña, Cavi and Valery.
Some companies have issued a recall of the brands.
Maradol papayas are large, oval fruit weighing 3 pounds or more. They have green skin that turns yellow when ripe; inside, the fruit is salmon-colored.
Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours of infection. The illness usually lasts between four and seven days, though most recover without treatment.
There have been cases in three more states since the previous outbreak update August 4; people have fallen ill in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Illnesses were reported from May 17 through July 27. However, illnesses occurring after July 14 may not have been reported yet. The CDC said those affected range in age from less than 1 year old to 95, and 67% are Hispanic.
The Maryland Department of Health first informed federal authorities that several ill people had purchased papayas at the same Baltimore location. On July 19, Maryland reported that some samples of Caribeña brand’s yellow Maradol papayas tested positive for salmonella in its preliminary examination and warned consumers to avoid consuming the fruit.
Shortly afterward, the FDA identified Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico as a likely source of the outbreak. The agency is investigating whether more brands may also be contaminated with salmonella.
HLB Specialties, a US papaya importer, released a statement Friday that emphasized the differences between brands, varieties and countries of origin.
“The outbreak is limited to one specific grower in the south of Mexico, Carica de Campeche, and the brands they distribute. Papayas from Guatemala, Brazil, Formosa papaya and other Maradol papaya brands from Mexico are not linked to the outbreak and are safe for consumption,” the statement said.
Consumers unsure whether their papayas are from the Carica de Campeche farm can ask the store, and restaurants or retailers can ask their suppliers. However, the CDC urges consumers, restaurants or retailers to throw out the fruit if in doubt. Areas where Maradol papayas have been stored should also be thoroughly sanitized.