Health & Wellness

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Papayas

A CDC food safety alert for an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to papayas imported from Mexico has been posted at https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/uganda-06-19/index.html.

Key points:

  • CDC, FDA, and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating an  outbreak of Salmonella Uganda infections linked to whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.
  • Do not eat, serve, or sell whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico or food that contains papaya from Mexico in these states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
  • 62 ill people have been reported from eight states (Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas.)
  • 23 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Of 33 ill people with available information, 22 reported being of Hispanic ethnicity.
  • The hospitalization rate in this outbreak is 66 percent among people with information available. The hospitalization rate in Salmonella outbreaks is usually around 20 percent.
  • Most of the sick people in this outbreak are adults over 60.
  • Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 14, 2019, to June 8, 2019. Most illnesses have occurred since April.
  • Interviews with ill people and early product distribution information indicate the likely source of this outbreak is whole, fresh papayas from Mexico that were sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
  • This investigation is ongoing and CDC will provide more information as it comes available.

Advice to consumers, retailers, and restaurants:

  • If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Rhode Island, do not eat whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico. Throw the papayas away, even if some of them were eaten and no one has gotten sick.
    • Do not eat fruit salads or other foods that include papayas from Mexico.
    • If you aren’t sure the papaya you bought is from Mexico, you can ask the place of purchase. When in doubt, don’t eat the papaya. Throw it out.
    • Wash and sanitize places where papayas were stored: countertops and refrigerator drawers or shelves. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
  • The FDA strongly advises importers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as restaurants, retailers and other food service providers from all states to hold whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.

About Salmonella:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12-72 hours after eating contaminated food.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • See your healthcare provider if you are concerned about symptoms, such as a high fever (temperature over 102˚F), blood in your poop, diarrhea, or frequent vomiting that prevents keeping liquid down.
  • More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonella-food/index.html.

If you have more questions about this outbreak, please call the CDC media line at (404) 639-3286. If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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