On Black Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an ominous warning that there was an outbreak of Salmonella infections—an outbreak that had swiftly doubled since the organization first noted the issue a week prior, on Nov. 17.
The Friday update noted that since the Nov. 17 report, “an additional 56 people” were infected with the “outbreak strain” of Salmonella.
That brings the U.S. total count to 99 infections across 32 states.
Since the Nov. 17 update, another 28 people have also been hospitalized, bringing total hospitalizations to 45.
On top of all that, Minnesota has also reported two deaths linked to the Salmonella outbreak.
Now, the Public Health Agency of Canada—an official arm of the country’s government—has announced that the same outbreak has claimed a life north of the border, as well as an additional “63 laboratory-confirmed cases” of Salmonella in Canada.
Canada has also seen 17 individuals hospitalized due to the issue.
As to the source of this sudden international outbreak, the CDC notes that “interviews with sick people and laboratory findings” support the thesis that this Salmonella originated with cantaloupes.
The issue has triggered a recall of a variety of cantaloupe brands, which the CDC noted in a separate release.
Various brands and products of cantaloupes that have been recalled include:
- “Vinyard” brand pre-cut cantaloupes
- “ALDI” whole cantaloupes
- “Freshness Guaranteed” and “RaceTrac” brand pre-cut cantaloupes
- “Malichita” or “Rudy” whole cantaloupes, that include the number 4050 and “Product of Mexico/produit due Mexique”
The “Malichita” and “Rudy” cantaloupes were also specifically called out by the Canadian government, which labeled both types of whole cantaloupes as “the likely source of the outbreak.”
Given that those cantaloupes were from Mexico, the lack of oversight on this produce is galling to Dr. Marc Stiegel, a clinical professor of medicine, according to Fox News.
“The cantaloupes come from Mexico, and the bacteria could be from food handlers, animals, or irrigation contamination,” Siegel told Fox.
Siegel said this whole outbreak and recall was a “further wake-up call that produce grown in a place where the U.S. has little to no control can be packaged and sold in many states, endangering many people.”
According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of a Salmonella infection include: Diarrhea (potentially bloody), fever, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or a headache.
Symptoms usually start within the week of infection, if not much sooner (the CDC notes that symptoms can manifest in as little as six hours), and can last from four days up to a week.
As of Sunday afternoon, the CDC investigation into the Salmonella outbreak is still considered “active."