U.S. investigation into Salmonella outbreak under watchful eye of Mexico

U.S. investigation into Salmonella outbreak under watchful eye of Mexico

by Sue Jones
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Officials in Mexico are monitoring the U.S. investigation into a Salmonella outbreak associated with onions from the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak stretches across 37 states and has sickened 808 people, as of an Oct. 29 update from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Several recalls of onions from Mexico have been initiated in the United States and Canada in relation to the outbreak.

A day before the CDC’s outbreak update, the Mexican Ministry of Economy issued a statement saying it is monitoring the investigation, according to a report in the produce trade publication FreshPlaza.

“As part of its commitment to the protection and defense of Mexico’s commercial interests abroad, the Ministry of Economy is closely monitoring the investigation that seeks to determine the source of contamination that led to the outbreak reported on Oct. 20 and linked to fresh onions,” the Mexican government stated.

The Ministry also stated that it was communicating with the authorities of the United States and Canada to ensure that the processes were carried out in compliance with the international commitments in the North American region to avoid unnecessary trade disruptions.

About Salmonella infections
Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled onions and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized. 

Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

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