Precut cantaloupes linked to ‘severe’ salmonella outbreak, CDC says

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The public is being warned not to consume precut cantaloupes, including those in fruit cups, if it’s not clear whether Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupes were used, U.S. health officials said Thursday after more than a hundred salmonella cases cropped up across the country.

“Interviews with sick people and laboratory findings continue to show that cantaloupes are making people in this outbreak sick,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an alert Thursday. “CDC is concerned about this outbreak because illnesses are severe with more than half hospitalized, and people in long-term care facilities and childcare centers have gotten sick.”

There have been 117 salmonella cases in people across 34 U.S. states, according to the CDC. Two people have died, and at least 61 people have been hospitalized. Canada has reported 63 illnesses, 17 hospitalizations and one death linked to the fruit, according to CTV News.

Earlier this month, Malichita and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes were recalled. That has since expanded to include precut cantaloupe products from Kwik Trip, Bix Produce, Kroger, Sprouts Farmers Market and Trader Joe’s, according to the CDC.

People with weakened immune systems, the elderly and young children are more likely to get very sick from salmonella, the CDC said. Fourteen people who have gotten sick in this current outbreak resided in long-term care facilities, and seven were children attending child-care centers before they became ill, the CDC added.

The CDC advises checking with the store to ensure that whole cantaloupes without stickers are not of Malichita or Rudy brands and to wash and sanitize surfaces that may have touched the cantaloupe.

Symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain within six hours to six days after consuming contaminated food. Illnesses can last four to seven days.

Individuals at risk, including children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and those with compromised immune systems, may experience severe illnesses that requires medical attention.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the first cantaloupe recall in this outbreak on Nov. 9, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“If you cannot tell if your cantaloupe, including pre-cut cantaloupe or products containing pre-cut cantaloupe is part of the recall, do not eat or use it and throw it away,” the FDA said in a statement.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has expanded its recall notice to include some precut pineapples, honeydew melons and watermelons that were processed alongside Malichita cantaloupes.

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