Sushi is the prime suspect of the latest Salmonella outbreak, but government officials say the food-borne illness hasn't been traced to a particular food yet and investigations are still underway.
The most recent Salmonella outbreak went public on Wednesday and has infected a total of 93 persons in 19 States and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
Ten of the people infected have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Investigations are being carried out to find the source of the outbreak, but no conclusive evidence has been found. If a specific source is identified, the CDC will identify it to the public and put precautionary measures into place.
The CDC urges people who suspect they have been contaminated by the illness to consult a health care provider.
The main symptoms of Salmonella are diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which often start 72 hours after infection.
While the illness usually lasts between 4-7 days in most patients, if the diarrhea gets too severe they must be hospitalized, according to the CBC.
Salmonella can get dangerous if it is not treated properly with antibiotics. It can spread to the intestines and bloodstream and can even cause death.
State public officials are currently interviewing people who have contaminated the illness to find out what they ate prior to their symptoms.
In the initial interviews many people reported eating sushi and sashimi in a variety of locations, which has led people to speculate the raw fish as a prime source. Out of the 51 people who were interviewed, 35 reported that they had eaten sushi.
Salmonella outbreaks linked to sushi are rare, according to Curtis Allen, spokesperson for the US Food and Drug Administration. There's no reason to avoid eating it. Even if the infections are eventually traced to the raw fish itself, it would the way it was prepared or what it came in contact with such as the ice it was packed in, Allen told the Boston Globe.
The number of ill people identified in each state with the outbreak strain is as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (4), District of Columbia (2), Georgia (4), Illinois (8), Louisiana (2), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (4), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (6), New York (23), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (4), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (8).
The CDC gives the following advice:
- The investigation has not conclusively identified a food source.
- The investigation is ongoing into individual food items and their sources.
- CDC and FDA are working together on the investigation and will provide updates as soon as they are available.
- If a specific food source is identified for this outbreak, public health officials will alert the public and take further steps to prevent additional illnesses.
- Persons who think they might have become ill from eating a potentially contaminated food product should consult their health care providers.