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More than 200 Victims Infected by Deadly Salmonella Outbreak

As of September 1, 2017, the deadly Salmonella outbreak currently sweeping our nation has impacted more than 200 victims in 23 states. 65 people have been hospitalized due to illness related to the outbreak and one victim from New York City has died.

This food poisoning outbreak involved four strains of Salmonella: Salmonella Thompson, Salmonella Kiambu, Salmonella Agona, and Salmonella Gaminara. Salmonella Thompson is by far the most prevalent of the strains; it was cited in 131 of the reported cases. Although Salmonella poisoning symptoms generally resolve themselves within a few days, they can require medical care in certain cases. When a victim does not receive the medical care he or she needs, he or she can die.

What Caused the Salmonella Outbreak?

47 Ill, One Dead from Salmonella Outbreak Spread by Papayas

A recent salmonella outbreak linked to the consumption of Maradol papayas left 47 victims sick and one dead. These victims hailed from 12 states:

  • New Jersey;
  • Iowa;
  • Maryland;
  • Kentucky;
  • Louisiana;
  • Massachusetts;
  • Minnesota;
  • New York;
  • Pennsylvania;
  • Texas;
  • Utah; and
  • Virginia.

Often, food poisoning outbreaks have “illness clusters” in one specific location, and this outbreak is no different. Although only five of the victims were from Maryland, an illness cluster was identified there. Illness clusters are defined as two or more people from different households reporting that they engaged in the same behavior, such as dining at a specific restaurant or attending the same event, within the same week of falling ill. Illness clusters help investigators identify the foods that could have caused their illnesses and track them down to specific retailers.

Tracing the Source of a Food Poisoning Outbreak

11 Victims Become Ill with Salmonella Poisoning in Montana

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services recently reported that 14 people in the state hailing from 11 different counties have become ill with salmonella poisoning, also known as Salmonellosis. More than one third of the victims are under 10 years old. This is not uncommon with food poisoning outbreaks; children and the elderly are more susceptible to food poisoning because they have weaker immune systems than healthy adults. Individuals with compromised immune systems and pregnant women are also cautioned to be especially vigilant of food poisoning hazards because of their increased risk of becoming ill.

In total, 372 people in 47 states have reportedly become ill with salmonella poisoning this year. This data comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although salmonella poisoning often resolves itself within a few days and rarely causes a victim to face prolonged suffering, it can have serious complications like endocarditis or meningitis if the infection spreads to these respective tissues. When salmonella poisoning is the result of an act of negligence, the victim can seek compensation for his or her damages through a personal injury claim.

What Causes Salmonella Poisoning?

Mouse Study Finds Food Poisoning Microbe Linked to Increased Appetite

A study from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that a bacterial protein known as SIrP can impact the appetites of mice infected with Salmonella strains that contain the protein. Two groups of mice were infected with Salmonella, one of which was infected with bacteria that contained the protein while the other was infected with bacteria that did not. The mice that were infected with the Salmonella bacteria that did not contain SIrP ate approximately 20% less food than the rodents in the other group and were much more likely to die as a result of their infection. The researchers found that the mice infected with Salmonella that produced SIrP continued to eat at a normal rate because the SIrP blocked the signals transmitted from the hypothalamus to the stomach that normally would slow their appetites.

Why would a food poisoning-inducing bacteria Salmonella produce a protein to keep its host eating at a normal rate? Because along with keeping the mice alive, it keeps the bacteria alive and ultimately, allows it to pass to new hosts. When a host stops eating, Salmonella has to move into other parts of its body, which can result in a serious illness that kills the host. Without a place to live, the Salmonella dies as well. But when the host continues to eat, the Salmonella can be excreted and then passed to a new host, allowing it to thrive.

What Does this Mean for Humans?

Following the Cucumber Recall, Salmonella Cases Continue to Appear

In mid-2015 the Centers for Disease Control reported a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella poisoning associated with cucumbers imported from Mexico. Individuals in 23 states became ill after eating these cucumbers, which were grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico and then sold in the United States by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. The specific strain of Salmonella, Salmonella Poona, is known to appear in affected individuals 12 to 72 hours after coming into contact with the bacteria and causing symptoms like cramping, fatigue, diarrhea, fever, and in rare cases, joint pain.

There is no way to completely eliminate your risk of being infected with Salmonella Poona or any other type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. This is especially true if you frequently eat food prepared in place other than your own kitchen, such as restaurants and cafeterias. In most cases, Salmonella poisoning resolves itself within a few days with rest and the intake of fluids. However, it can sometimes become severe to the point that medical intervention is necessary. When this is the case, a victim has the right to seek compensation for his or her losses through a food poisoning claim.

New Cases in the Outbreak

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