On Tuesday, the warning about salmonella-contaminated tomatoes was expanded to include the entire country.
So far there have been no confirmed deaths, but the death of a Texas man was still under investigation, Dr. Ian Williams, chief of the OutbreakNet Team at the CDC, said during a Wednesday teleconference. The man had cancer and consumed pico de gallo, which is made with 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.
FDA officials have said the outbreak seems to be linked to certain types of raw and 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 should be washed before eating, officials advised.
The FDA recommends consuming raw, red plum, raw, red Roma or raw, red round tomatoes only if you know they have been grown and harvested from these areas: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Belgium, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico.
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.
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