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Outbreaks involve two types of salmonella. A third involves Florida cucumbers

Miami Herald - 6/13/2024

The Florida cucumbers recalled this week tested positive for salmonella — but not the kind of salmonella in the outbreak that the FDA and CDC anticipated.

Cucumbers might still be involved in that outbreak — and perhaps another outbreak with a third kind of salmonella.

Here’s what to know about the three kinds of salmonella under investigation:

Florida cucumbers and their salmonella

When the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture found salmonella in cucumbers from Lake Worth’s Fresh Start Produce, prompting a recall from the company, there was a preliminary link to the salmonella Africana outbreak being tracked by the CDC.

MORE: 320 sick in 2 salmonella outbreaks. One outbreak has been linked to Florida cucumbers

But the FDA announced Wednesday that “the specific strain of salmonella found on Fresh Start Produce Sales Inc. recalled cucumbers was identified as salmonella Bareilly and does not match any ongoing outbreaks.”

Fresh Start’s cucumbers shouldn’t be available in stores.

“The Florida grower that supplied the recalled cucumbers to Fresh Start is no longer growing and harvesting cucumbers for the season,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

READ MORE: Florida produce company recalls product sold only at Publix after finding salmonella

Salmonella Africana

Cucumbers remain the leading suspects in the salmonella Africana outbreak that’s reached at least 28 states and 196 people (many people in salmonella outbreaks get better without medical attention, so aren’t counted in outbreak numbers). Of the 85 people spoken to by state and local investigators, the CDC said, 74% said they ate cucumbers.

As for where those 196 people are, Pennsylvania has 29; New York has 23; Florida has 22; Virgina has 18; Georgia has 16; South Carolina has 11; 10 each in Ohio and Tennessee; and 20 states report illness numbers in the single digits.

READ MORE: Salmonella causes nationwide recall of ground pepper

Salmonella Braenderup

The CDC and FDA say the salmonella Braenderup and Africana “outbreaks share several similarities, including where and when illnesses occurred and the demographics of ill people. Investigators are working to determine whether the two outbreaks could be linked to the same food vehicle.”

But the only information on the Braenderup outbreak so far is that it’s hit 185 people in 24 states.

What is salmonella?

Salmonella’s a foodborne illness that brings four to seven days of fever, diarrhea and stomachaches to about 1.35 million in the United States annually, according to the CDC. About 26,500 of those people get hospitalized, usually with bloody diarrhea. About 420 people in the country die from salmonella each year.

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