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Salmonella Outbreak Over, U.S. Says
Date:8/28/2008

FDA lifts advisory against eating raw Mexican jalapeno and serrano peppers

THURSDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials declared Thursday that the nationwide salmonella outbreak has ended and that the consumer advisory against eating raw jalapeno and serrano peppers grown in Mexico has been lifted.

"Based on the available information and reports, it appears that this outbreak is over," Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of foodborne, bacterial and mycotic diseases, said during a teleconference.

The CDC's announcement was based on the falling number of new cases since early July, Tauxe said. "By early August, the number of cases was down to the number of cases we would expect to see anyway in the absence of a major outbreak. There are some cases of this infection that occur every year," he added.

The last cluster of infections associated with restaurants occurred in early July, Tauxe said. "This is also an important indication that this particular outbreak is over," he said.

The outbreak, the largest outbreak of food-borne illness in the United States in the past decade, sickened 1,442 people, hospitalized 286, and was implicated in two deaths between April and August. It was originally thought to be caused by tomatoes grown in Florida or Mexico. Eventually, the outbreak was traced to two farms in Mexico that grew jalapeno and serrano peppers, according to a report in the Aug. 29 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted the warning on eating raw jalapeno and serrano peppers from Mexico on Thursday because the outbreak appeared over.

Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's associate commissioner for foods, said at the teleconference that none of the peppers associated with the outbreak are in circulation and that the agency has completed its field
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