The CDC Is Warning You To Be On the Lookout for These Symptoms
The health agency is currently investigating a mysterious outbreak across 25 states.
Living in a pandemic for the past 18 months has made any signs of a sniffle or sneeze cause for concern. And despite focusing on the threat of COVID, we're all still very much at risk of other serious infections that can make us sick. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning the public to be on the lookout for specific symptoms of a foodborne illness due to a recent outbreak across more than two dozen states. Read on to see what warning signs you need to know about.
The CDC is warning the public to be aware of any potential symptoms of salmonella poisoning.
In a notice published on Sept. 17, the CDC announced that it was actively investigating an outbreak of salmonella oranienburg infections that have spread rapidly since the first case was reported on Aug. 3. Genetic sequencing of bacteria samples from reported cases were matched in the national PulseNet system that linked the infections and confirmed a connection. However, officials are still trying to figure out exactly what foods could be getting people sick.
"State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick," the agency said in a statement. "CDC is analyzing the data and has not identified a specific food item as a potential source of this outbreak."
Salmonella can cause severe symptoms in people infected with the bacteria.
While the agency investigates the potential source of the infections, it's alerting the public to be on the lookout for any symptoms of salmonella poisoning. The list of possible warning signs includes diarrhea that is bloody, accompanied by a fever of 102 or higher, and doesn't subside after three days, vomiting so much you can't keep liquids down, and stomach cramps. You should also be on the lookout for any signs of dehydration, such as a dry throat or mouth, feeling dizzy when you stand up, and not having to urinate often.
The CDC advises that symptoms usually appear anywhere from six hours to six days after eating food contaminated with the bacteria. And while most people recover without medical treatment in four to seven days, some people such as children under the age of five, adults over 65, and those with weakened immune systems are at an elevated risk of severe illness from the disease.
The bacteria has sickened 127 people across 25 states since last month.
According to the CDC, the current salmonella outbreak has infected 127 people across 25 states, including 18 hospitalizations. Cases have spanned from coast to coast, with Texas and Minnesota so far reporting the most cases with 45 and 13, respectively. However, the agency warned that the actual number of infections was likely to be higher in reality.
"The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for salmonella," it said. "In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak."
The CDC also announced that it had identified a "subcluster" of people who became ill after eating at the same restaurant. Investigators hope this will help lead them towards eventually discovering the potential source.
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The CDC recommends everyone take precautions until they uncover the source of the outbreak.
Until the agency can pinpoint a contamination source, they advise the public to take precautions when handling and preparing food to avoid any potential infections. They recommend observing food safety practices such as washing hands, counter and prep surfaces, and utensils well and often; rinsing all fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or peeling them; separating all raw and prepared foods; and being sure to cook items for long enough at the right temperature to eradicate pathogens.
The CDC also recommends getting all perishable foods into the fridge within two hours. They also advise always to thaw frozen ingredients in the refrigerator and not on a countertop.