Federal officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Kiambu, which has infected 47 people from 12 states. Evidence so far points to the yellow Marabol papaya as the likely source of Salmonella outbreak.
Multistate Salmonella Outbreak
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and public health and regulatory officials are currently investigating an outbreak that has spread in 12 states so far.
Illnesses started on May 17 until June 28, and as of July 21, 47 individuals have been reported to be infected with Salmonella Kiambu strain. Ages of the infected people range from less than a-year-old to 95 years old, 67 percent of whom are female. Among the individuals with available information, 12 percent were hospitalized and 58 percent are of Hispanic ethnicity.
The state of New York has the highest number of cases at 13, followed by New Jersey with 12 cases, Virginia with six cases, and Maryland with five cases. Pennsylvania has four recorded cases while Iowa, Minnesota, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Utah, and Texas each have one case. One death from the infection has been recorded from New York City.
Maradol Papayas Test Positive
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) shows that many among the individuals infected with Salmonella Kiambu are closely related genetically, which points to a common source of infection. In the interviews, infected people were questioned about their consumption in the week prior to being ill, and 44 percent of the 25 people interviewed reported eating papayas.
In Maryland, a few of the infected reported eating papayas purchased the fruit from the same store. Upon testing by the Maryland Department of Health, one of the samples turned out positive for Salmonella Kiambu strain, while another tested positive for Salmonella Thompson strain. Both samples were of the yellow Maradol papaya kind.
Because of the results, the CDC recommends the public to not eat papaya, for restaurants to not serve papaya, and for sellers to refrain from selling them until further information is gathered. As of now, authorities are investigating where exactly in the supply chain the papayas got contaminated.
Recent Salmonella Outbreak
Each year, an estimated 1 million foodborne illnesses are caused by Salmonella infection, leading to 19,000 hospitalizations and as many as 380 deaths. Often, people who get infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after the infection.
Though Salmonella infections can be contracted from various sources, recent recorded outbreaks link the infections to small turtles, organic products, and backyard flocks.