However, "at this we have not found any samples of tomatoes or peppers positive for Salmonella saintpaul," Steve Sundlof, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told reporters at the teleconference.
Tauxe added, "Neither tomatoes nor jalapenos explain the entire outbreak at this point. We're presuming that both of them cause illness."
When it comes to tomatoes, officials said the advice to consumers remains the same: Avoid raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these raw tomatoes.
On Wednesday, Tauxe added that people at risk of infection, including infants and elderly people, should avoid eating jalapeno peppers.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea in humans. Some 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States each year, although the CDC estimates that because milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be 30 or more times greater. Approximately 600 people die each year after being infected.
However, the strain of salmonella saintpaul had been previously considered rare. In 2007, according to the CDC, there were only three people infected in the country during April through June.
Visit the CDC for more on the salmonella outbreak.
SOURCES: July 9, 2008, teleconference with David Acheson, M.D., associate commissioner for foods, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Robert Tauxe, M.D., deputy director, foodborne, bacterial and mycotic diseases division, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Steve Sundlof, director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA
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