The CDC has announced that contaminated red onions are likely the cause behind a massive salmonella outbreak first reported in July.
As of last week, 396 people in 34 states have fallen ill so far, and 59 of them have required hospitalization.
The CDC advises consumers “not to eat, serve, or sell” any onions produced by Thomson International, Inc.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified red onions as the likely culprit behind an ongoing salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 396 people in 34 states. So far, at least 59 people have been hospitalized with salmonella infection, with no deaths reported.
The CDC reports that Thomson International, Inc. in Bakersfield, California produced the contaminated red onions, advising consumers, stores, and restaurants “not to eat, serve, or sell” any of the company’s onions, including red, white, yellow, and sweet onions. Experts are investigating whether other varieties of onions could be tainted as well.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection that often causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps lasting between four and seven days, according to the CDC. Some people also experience nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Symptoms appear between six hours and six days after exposure.
Although the symptoms aren’t pleasant, most people recover without treatment, the CDC says. If you suspect a salmonella infection, contact your doctor and focus on keeping yourself hydrated. In some cases, hospitalization and antibiotics are required.
Oregon, Utah, and California are the hardest-hit states, with 71, 61, and 49 cases, respectively. Since its last update on July 24, patients in 11 new states have been linked to the contaminated red onions, meaning that this outbreak has the potential to grow much larger. (The CDC has a full list of impacted states here.)
This outbreak was first reported on July 10 with only 13 infections, rapidly growing in size and scope throughout the rest of the month. Infected people range in age from less than 1 year to 102 years old. A similar outbreak in Canada has also been linked to red onions from Thomson International, Inc.
Cases of salmonella usually take between two and four weeks to be reported, according to the CDC, leading to a delay in data. Until the CDC deems all red onions safe to eat again, make sure you know where your onions come from—and avoid them if you don’t.
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