An outbreak of a strain of Salmonella never seen before in humans in California has sickened some 25 people as of April 20, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Sushi public domain image/Luke via wikimedia commons
Sushi public domain image/Luke via wikimedia commons

According to health officials, eighteen of these cases reside in California. (7 reside in LA County, 4 in Orange County, 2 in Riverside County, 1 in Santa Barbara County, and 4 in Ventura County) There are 7 out-of-state cases, most of whom had travel to Southern California.

20 percent of those infected required hospitalization for their illness.

The investigation into the outbreak, though still ongoing, shows that 10/10 people who completed detailed food questionnaires stated they had consumed sushi, and over 80% reported having eaten raw tuna.

This strain of Salmonella (Paratyphi B var. L(+) tartrate + (Java), pattern JKXX01.1495) had never been seen in animals or humans before March 2015.

CDPH has noted that a closely-related strain was responsible for a salmonella outbreak in California and Hawaii in 2010. The 2010 outbreak was found to be linked to raw tuna imported from Indonesia.

This strain is genetically different from the 2010 strain, so it appears the 2 strains are unrelated at this time.

Related: Sushi, sashimi and worms, oh my!

Salmonella is most commonly acquired from undercooked poultry, eggs and meat. Unpasteurized milk, juices and cheeses, nuts, nut butters and sprouts have also been sources of outbreaks. Salmonella can also be transmitted by pets with diarrhea or by pet birds and reptiles. Thorough hand washing with soap and water before eating and food preparation can prevent salmonella from being transmitted to food. Salmonella species can be killed by thoroughly cooking foods to a temperature of 165°F.

Related: California cities top list of ‘Most Polluted’