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228 People in 22 States Sickened in Ongoing Salmonella-Tomato Outbreak
Date:6/12/2008

hern Florida, which was not harvesting at the time the outbreaks began, has been ruled out as a source for the contamination.

Several other states have been excluded but, beyond that, Acheson said, "anywhere else is essentially open for question in terms of whether that is the source."

On Thursday, FDA officials said the number of people sickened during the outbreak had risen to 228 in 22 states, with 25 people hospitalized.

The death of a man in Texas who died is still being investigated, Dr. Ian Williams, chief of the OutbreakNet Team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during Wednesday's teleconference. The man had cancer and consumed pico de gallo, which is made with tomatoes.

The actual number of people infected is likely to be many more, Williams said. "Many people with salmonella infection don't have stool specimen tests," he said.

On Tuesday, the warning about salmonella-contaminated tomatoes was expanded to include the entire country.

The outbreak was first identified in May with a cluster of approximately 20 people in New Mexico infected with salmonella which had the same genetic footprint. Another cluster was then identified in Texas.

Officials were then able to trace the outbreak to contaminated tomatoes.

The particular type of salmonella involved, Salmonella Saintpaul, is virulent and relatively rare, accounting for only about 400 reported cases annually in the United States, Williams said.

Acheson reiterated that the outbreak of salmonella contamination seems to be linked with certain types of raw, red tomatoes and products containing these tomatoes. In particular, the agency said, raw, red plum tomatoes, raw, red Roma tomatoes and raw, round red tomatoes should be avoided at this time.

Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached appear to be safe. But all tomatoes s
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