The Centers for Disease Control is advising anyone that has fresh papayas from Mexico not to eat them after 62 people were sickened and 23 people were hospitalized with Salmonella in connection with the fruit.
Twelve cases have been reported in New Jersey. Other cases have been reported in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. Most of the sick people in this outbreak are adults over 60.
There have been no deaths reported.
The illnesses started on dates ranging from January 14, 2019 to June 8, 2019 and most illnesses have occurred since April 2019. Some illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks, the CDC said.
Two people who lived in different households got sick in Connecticut after eating papayas purchased from the same grocery store location in the week before becoming ill. This provides additional evidence that papayas are a likely source of this outbreak, the CDC said.
In interviews with the CDC, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 21 people who were interviewed, 16 reported eating papayas.
The FDA and regulatory officials in several states are collecting records to determine the source of the papayas that ill people ate. Early product distribution information available at this time indicates that papayas that made people sick were imported from Mexico. This traceback investigation is ongoing.
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.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection:
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
- In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
- Children younger than 5 years, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.