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Salmonella Outbreak under Investigation

Around 172 people in 18 states has been infected by a salmonella outbreak according to health officials on Monday.//

These bacteria have been assumed to have spread through some form of produce including tomatoes. However the illness has not been linked to any specific product, chain, restaurants or supermarkets as yet.

No deaths have occurred in the outbreak that is caused by a common form of salmonella bacteria. Health officials state that eleven people have been hospitalized.

Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "We're very early in the investigation."

The outbreak was detected two weeks ago through a national computer lab system which looks for patterns and matches in reports of food-borne illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also joined the CDC’s investigation and will try to help trace the outbreak to its origin.

According to Dr. Chris Braden, a CDC epidemiologist investigating the outbreak, most of the cases are in adults, and more than 60 percent are women.

The states involved are Arkansas, Indiana, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Salmonella generally cause a nonfatal, diarrhea-causing illness in addition to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and headache.

While there are about 2,500 types of salmonella, Braden said that the type in this outbreak - Salmonella typhimurium - is one of the most common and infection may be got from different sources such as water, soil, animal feces, insects, kitchen surfaces, factory surfaces and raw meats, poultry and seafoods.

Over the past year several outbreaks of food-borne illness have repeatedly made headlines. Certain brands of packaged spinach, carrot juice, lettuce, beef and unpasteurized milk we re recently recalled when found to be tainted with illness-causing bacteria.

Statistics show that over 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur in the U.S. each year with about 1.3 million of those cases linked to food according to Braden.

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