Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Onions in US Is a New Threat, Say CDC and FDA

  • Salmonella infection is spreading in 43 States affecting hundreds of people

  • At least 80 infected persons were admitted in hospitals

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, another health issue is exploding in the U.S. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a salmonella outbreak, commonly caused by contaminated food or water, has infected 640 people in 43 states.

At least 85 people were hospitalized due to the outbreak caused by onions. On Friday, August 7 CDC in its advisory said, "If you don't know where your onions are from, don't eat, serve, or sell them or any food prepared with them."

Warning Issued

Salmonella Outbreak in US (Wikipedia)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also issued a warning against the consumption of onions from Thomson International Inc. It said "Red, Yellow, White, and Sweet Yellow Onions" are being recalled because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. As per CDC, some of these onions were sold at stores including Walmart, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Giant Eagle, Food Lion, Publix, and H-E-B under several brand names.

There are several companies, including Taylor Farms and Giant Eagle, which have already recalled onions and foods made with these onions such as chicken salad, macaroni salad, fajita stir-fry, and pizza. People are advised to throw such affected items if they have at their homes. CDC also asked people not to eat them or "try to cook the onions or other food."

What is Salmonella Infection?

It is an organism that can cause serious, as well as fatal infections in young children, elderly people, AIDS patients, and others with have compromised immune systems. Salmonella infection, also known as salmonellosis, is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract.

The bacteria usually live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Typically, people with salmonella infection develop no symptoms, but some people can often experience fever, diarrhea—which may be bloody—nausea, vomiting, and cause abdominal pain.

Life-threatening complications can also develop if the infection spreads beyond the intestine. The risk of contracting salmonella infection becomes higher if someone travels to countries with poor sanitation.

Salmonella Bacteria Pixnio
  • Causes

People get infected with salmonella if they eat foods that have been contaminated by feces. Commonly infected foods include raw meat, poultry, seafood, raw eggs, fruits, and vegetables.

Food items get contaminated when prepared by people who don't wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing a diaper. As per Mayo Clinic, the infection can spread if people touch something contaminated, which include pets, birds, and reptiles, and then unconsciously putting the unwashed hand or fingers inside the mouth.

  • Treatment

Patients may need special care in the hospital, though death is rare in these cases. Most of the infected require only fluids to recover and it may take less than a week. In terms of severe infections, people may require medical care, including IV fluids and sometimes antibiotics.