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Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas has sickened 17 in Illinois

Updated: July 26, 2011 4:58AM



A multistate salmonella outbreak associated with Mexican papayas has affected 17 people so far in Illinois, including residents of Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will counties, the state health department reported Monday.

Health officials have identified five cases in Chicago, four each in suburban Cook and DuPage counties, and one each in Kane, Lake, Will and Winnebago counties. Eight of those affected have been hospitalized, the Illinois Department of Public Health said.

Agromod Produce Inc. of McAllen, Texas, has recalled all Blondie, Yaya, Mañanita and Tastylicious brand papayas distributed nationwide and to Canada prior to Saturday.

State health department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said consumers should check the stickers on papayas they bought for those brand names. Any of the three brands of papayas should be thrown out or returned to where consumers bought them.

The cases of salmonella agona are believed to be associated with papayas from Mexico.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are using DNA analysis of salmonella bacteria to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak, which infected a total of 97 people in 23 states between Jan. 1 and July 18, the health department said.

Recent sampling by the FDA found the outbreak strain in two papaya samples collected at Agromod Produce and at the U.S. border destined for the company.

Salmonella bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Symptoms usually appear six to 72 hours after ingestion of the bacteria, but can take longer. People with any of these symptoms who have recently eaten papaya should contact their doctor and local health department.

Consumers with questions can call (800) 385-7658.



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