Salmonella outbreak linked to fresh papayas sickens at least 62 people in 8 states, CDC says

Dozens of people in eight U.S. states have been infected with a strain of salmonella after eating fresh papayas imported from Mexico, according to federal health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 62 people have so far been infected with the strain of Salmonella Uganda, of which 23 have been hospitalized.

The illnesses started on dates ranging from Jan. 14 to June 8, with most of the illnesses occurring since April.

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"Epidemiologic evidence and early product distribution information indicate that whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico and sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are a likely source of this outbreak," the CDC said.

At least 62 people in 8 states have been sickened with salmonella after eating fresh papayas imported from Mexico, according to federal health officials.

At least 62 people in 8 states have been sickened with salmonella after eating fresh papayas imported from Mexico, according to federal health officials. (CDC)

While no deaths attributed to Salmonella have been reported, the agency is advising that consumers in those states not eat any, whole fresh papayas from Mexico. Health officials are also advising people not to eat fruit salads or other mixes that include papayas from Mexico.

"If you aren’t sure the papaya you bought is from Mexico, you can ask the place of purchase," the agency states. "When in doubt, don’t eat the papaya. Throw it out."

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also advising importers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as restaurants, retailers and other food service providers across all states to halt sales of whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.

Whole, fresh papayas from Mexico and sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are the likely source of the outbreak.

Whole, fresh papayas from Mexico and sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are the likely source of the outbreak. (iStock)

Of those sickened so far, 24 were in New York, 14 were in Connecticut and 12 were in New Jersey.

Symptoms of salmonella usually develop 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria, with most people developing diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.

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"In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized," according to the CDC. "Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body."

Federal health officials say that children younger than 5-years-old, pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

The CDC estimates that Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the U.S. every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of those illnesses, according to the agency.