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Salmonella outbreak doubles while CDC closes in on the source

Earlier this month, on Thursday, September 2nd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was made aware of 20 people sickened by a strain of Salmonella Oranienburg. Now more than 3 weeks later, there’s still no clear food source connected to the outbreak and cases have more than doubled. Though if recent reports are to be believed, the CDC may be getting closer to determining just where it originated.

20 people were sick with salmonella on September 2nd. By the 15th, that number had grown to 127. It now stands at least 279. We say “at least” because as explains, “...some people recover from salmonella without medical care and therefore are not tested for it. It can also takes [sic] up to four weeks to determine whether someone was part of an outbreak.” In addition to the confirmed infections, at least 8 individuals have been hospitalized with salmonella.

We mentioned that the CDC may be getting closer to determining the cause of the outbreak. Their tracing and testing has led them to condiment cups containing cilantro, lime, and onions. Though the onions “weren’t inside when the food was tested.” Unfortunately, since there are multiple food items inside the condiments being tested, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to determine from these tests exactly what food is the culprit. They hope to use this information and other available info to narrow down the possibilities.

Salmonella isn’t of major concern for young and healthy individuals. That’s part of the reason it’s so difficult to know just how many people have been infected. It’s possible others have been infected and fought it off without needing to go to the hospital or even report it to their doctor. For children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems though, salmonella symptoms can be severe.

While the CDC isn’t clear where this originated, you can help protect yourself. Thoroughly washing your utensils, hands, and foods is a start. Cooking your foods to a high temperature is another great way to limit your chances of contracting salmonella.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms consistent with salmonella such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps or dehydration; you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

To read USA Today’s full post on this developing story, click here: