WASHINGTON — Sixty-two people in eight US states have fallen ill this year from Salmonella related to fresh papayas imported from Mexico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The illnesses range from mid-January up to June 8, with the highest number occurring in April. Of those who’ve gotten sick, 23 have been hospitalized.
So far, no deaths are reported.
Salmonella, which rarely affects how food tastes or smells, lives in the intestinal tracts of animals, including birds and people.
If you’re not sure where your papayas have come from, throw them out
The CDC is advising folks in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to avoid eating whole, fresh papayas from Mexico. They also say not to eat fruit salads or mixes including Mexican papayas.
If you encounter papayas and have doubt about their country of origin, the CDC says to be on the safe side and throw them out. The agency recommends washing and sanitizing places where papayas are stored, including counter tops and refrigerator shelves.
Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration wants importers, suppliers, distributors and other food service providers to halt sales across all states of papayas imported from Mexico.
This year’s outbreak is associated with the Salmonella Uganda serotype (species) of the bacteria.
Those who are infected can develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps between 12 and 72 hours following the initial exposure. Patients usually recover on their own in less than a week, but some people do need to be hospitalized.
According to CDC data, 1.2 million Salmonella cases occur each year in the US, with about 450 of the cases leading to death.