Deadly US Salmonella outbreak tied to cantaloupe infects 99


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A multistate outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to whole and diced cantaloupe has more than doubled in just 1 week, to 99 cases, has hospitalized at least 45 Americans, and has killed 2 people in Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late last week.

The outbreak has also affected at least 63 Canadians, killing 1, according to Canadian authorities.

Minnesota hardest-hit state

Since the CDC first announced the outbreak on November 17, officials have confirmed an additional 56 cases, for a total of 99 infections in 32 states. Minnesota has recorded the most cases, 13, followed by Missouri (9), Ohio and Wisconsin (8 each), and Arizona (7). Minnesota has also confirmed the only 2 deaths associated with the outbreak.

An additional 28 people have been reported hospitalized, for a total of 45 hospitalized patients. Illness-onset dates range from October 17 to November 10, 60% of patients are male, and 88% are White. Patients vary in age from less than 1 year to 100.

The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher.

"Interviews with sick people and laboratory findings continue to show that cantaloupes are making people in this outbreak sick," the CDC said.

"The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses," the agency added. "This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported, as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak."

Wide range of recalled fruit

The Food and Drug Administration had previously posted recall notices for Vinyard and Aldi cantaloupe related to the outbreak. Last week it added several new recalls.

The CDC said whole cantaloupes involved in the recalls might have a sticker that reads, "Malichita" or "Rudy," with the number 4050, and "Product of Mexico/produit du Mexique."

The Vinyard recall includes cantaloupe cubes, melon medleys, and fruit medleys sold in Oklahoma stores from October 30 to November 10. The Aldi recall involves whole cantaloupes, cantaloupe chunks in clamshell packaging, and pineapple spears in clamshell packaging with best-by dates from October 27 to October 31, 2023. That fruit was sold in Aldi stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

New recalls involve whole cantaloupe sold under the Rudy, Trufresh, Crown Jewels, and Pacific Trellis brand names. In addition, Freshness Guaranteed and RaceTrac brand pre-cut cantaloupes and fruit have been recalled.

"Investigators are working to identify any additional cantaloupe products that may be contaminated," the CDC said. It added, "Do not eat any recalled cantaloupes and other fruit products. Throw them away or return them to where you bought them."

63 cases confirmed in Canada

In an update last week, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said that, as of November 24, officials have confirmed 63 cases of Salmonella infection caused by the Soahanina, Sundsvall, and Oranienburg strains that were linked to eating cantaloupe.

Quebec is the most affected province, with 35 cases, followed by British Columbia and Ontario (12 cases each). Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador reported 2 cases each. PHAC said 17 patients have been hospitalized, and 1 has died, though it didn't specify where.

Do not eat any recalled cantaloupes and other fruit products.

Patients became sick from mid-October to mid-November 2023. The age range of patients is the same as in the US outbreak. About half of the patients (51%) are male.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued recalls on November 1, November 14, and November 17 for Malichita brand cantaloupes sold from October 11 to November 14. On November 24, the CFIA added Rudy brand cantaloupes sold from October 10 to November 2. The recalls include cantaloupe as well as honeydew, pineapple, watermelon, and various fruit trays.

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