The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the investigation of a multistate Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

"Limited Edition"  Pole Grown cucumbers/CDPH
“Limited Edition” Pole Grown cucumbers/CDPH

Since July 3, 2015, 285 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 27 states. 53 ill people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported from California. More than half of those sickened were children younger than 18 years.

The one fatality associated with this outbreak is a 99-year-old San Diego woman who died on Aug. 17, according to county health officials.

Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, CA initiated a voluntary recall of their garden cucumbers today, after being informed of the epidemiologic association between these cucumbers and the Salmonella Poona outbreak. The recalled garden cucumbers can be identified in distribution channels as “Limited Edition” brand pole grown cucumbers. The labeling on these cases indicates the product was grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico. These cucumbers were distributed between August 1 – September 3, 2015.

Limited Edition cucumbers were distributed in the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah and reached customers through retail, food service companies, wholesalers, and brokers. Further distribution to other states may have occurred.

Domestically produced cucumbers are not believed to be involved in this outbreak.

The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Alaska (8), Arizona (60), Arkansas (6), California (51), Colorado (14), Idaho (8), Illinois (5), Kansas (1), Louisiana (3), Minnesota (12), Missouri (7), Montana (11), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (15), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (3), South Carolina (6), Texas (9), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (9), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (3).

People who are sick with Salmonella usually experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps about 12 to 72 hours after they eat something contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Most people are sick for 4 to 7 days and can get better without treatment.

People who are at high risk for Salmonella infection include: infants, elderly, immunocompromised, including persons on immunosuppressive therapies or medications, and pregnant women. It is important for people at high risk to follow the standard CDC guidance about Salmonella. People can decrease their risk of Salmonella infection through proper food handling and preparation and by practicing proper hand washing and hygiene practices.

The CDC says recalled cucumbers may be in consumers’ homes, restaurants, and grocery stores and advise the public: Consumers should not eat recalled cucumbers, restaurants should not serve recalled cucumbers, retailers should not sell recalled cucumbers and if you aren’t sure if your cucumbers were recalled, ask the place of purchase or your supplier.

When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63