Packaged salad contained bat, possible rabies exposure

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are helping the Florida Department of Health investigate a dead bat that was found in a packaged salad purchased from a grocery store in Florida.

According to a CDC statement, the two people who bought the salad have been prophylactically treated for rabies, a potentially deadly disease. The CDC said the bat's remains were too deteriorated to test for rabies, so the agency could not rule out the disease.

"It's extremely rare for rabies to be transmitted through mucosal membrane contact with a dead animal," CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told CIDRAP News. "The likelihood of transmission is a theoretical risk, but we're taking every precaution."

The bat was found in a salad mix, produced by Fresh Express and packaged in a clear container. The company, of Orlando, Fla., issued a recall of its product, the Organic Marketside Spring Mix, on Apr 8, according to an FDA notice. The recalled salads were sold only in Walmart stores in the southeastern United States.

According to the CDC, stores have removed all remaining packages of the salad mix from their shelves.

Salad poses little rabies risk

Though the CDC said the risk of rabies is low for people who had eaten the salad before the recall, they recommend that any uneaten salads be discarded.

"People who have eaten the recalled salad product and did not find animal material are not at risk and do not need to contact their health department. CDC recommends that anyone who ate the recalled salad product and found animal material in it contact their health department for evaluation," the CDC said.

See also:

Apr 8 CDC statement

Apr 9 FDA recall notice

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