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Pennsylvania Department of Health Investigates Salmonella Cases Linked to National Outbreak
Date:6/19/2008

Investigation Shows No Link to Pennsylvania-Grown Tomatoes

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four illnesses caused by Salmonella Saintpaul have been confirmed among Pennsylvania residents, State Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson announced today. These cases are linked to the current multi-state Salmonella outbreak associated with tomatoes that has produced at least 277 cases nationwide.

One case each has been identified in Bucks, Butler, Lancaster, and Warren counties, and illness onset dates occurred in May. Investigations of these cases are underway. At this time, the Department of Health investigation indicates at least two of the individuals appear to have been exposed outside of Pennsylvania.

"The Department of Health is working very closely with our partners at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and with other state health departments to thoroughly investigate these cases," Dr. Johnson said. "We know from specialized tests of the Salmonella performed at our state public health laboratory that these cases are part of the larger national outbreak."

At this time, FDA is advising U.S. consumers to limit their tomato consumption to those that are not the likely source of this outbreak. Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said that Pennsylvania tomatoes were cleared and not associated with the outbreak.

"Pennsylvania grown tomatoes were not the source of the recent salmonella contamination, and Pennsylvanians should know that our tomatoes are safe," said Wolff. "Consumers can continue to seek out locally grown, fresh tomatoes of all types, including round, roma and plum red tomatoes, especially those designated as PA Preferred."

Currently, the only Pennsylvania tomatoes on the market in any volume are greenhouse tomatoes. Local greenhouse tomatoes are being harvested now, and tomatoes grown in high tunnels or unheated greenhouses will start ripening in volume later in June.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and sometimes can affect the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting. Approximately, 2,000 cases of Salmonella are reported each year in Pennsylvania.

Onset of illness usually occurs in 24 to 72 hours, and patients typically recover in five to seven days. Patients often do not require treatment unless they become severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Individuals with severe diarrhea may require re-hydration, often with intravenous fluids.

For more information on salmonella, visit the Department of Health at http://www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman

(717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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