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6-State Salmonella Outbreak Is Worse Than Reported, CDC Says—These Are the Symptoms

The agency warns that more people have been infected with salmonellosis than we know.

News of Salmonella infections has been a constant lately, with a wide range of potential culprits, including flour, ground cumin, and tahini sauce. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning about yet another Salmonella outbreak spanning six states. As of May 23, the agency was aware of 18 people infected with salmonellosis since late February, with two people ending up in the hospital. Now, the CDC says that the outbreak may be even more severe. Read on to find out more about the latest salmonellosis cases, and what symptoms you should be looking out for.

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Illnesses have been tied back to cookie dough.

papa murphy's cookie dough

Did your mom ever warn you not to eat raw cookie dough? She was certainly onto something. The latest Salmonella outbreak has been linked to Papa Murphy's raw dough, specifically the chocolate chip cookie dough and the s'mores bars dough, officials said.

Of the 14 sick people interviewed, 12 reported eating food products from Papa Murphy's. Nine people specifically reported eating the brand's raw cookie dough the week before feeling sick (even though the dough is meant to be cooked beforehand), and one individual said that they ate the cookies after they were baked.

As a result of an ongoing investigation, Papa Murphy's temporarily stopped selling both doughs—but it might not be the only affected brand or product. According to the CDC, two people infected with Salmonella said they didn't eat Papa Murphy's products, with investigators now "working to identify the contaminated ingredient in the raw cookie dough."

Per the CDC, the cookie dough and s'mores bars dough both have unpasteurized eggs and raw flour, which can contain Salmonella and E. coli germs.

There are likely more salmonellosis infections than have been reported.

A young woman lying on the couch with symptoms of COVID, the flu, or a cold

So far, people infected with Salmonella were from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Utah, and Missouri, according to the CDC. Washington has the most reported cases, with six sick people, followed by Idaho and Oregon, which have four confirmed salmonellosis infections. However, the agency stated that more states could be affected.

"This outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses, and the true number of sick people is likely much higher than the number reported," the CDC said. "This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella."

Beyond that, some illnesses might not be recorded yet, as the CDC notes it takes between three and four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

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Be on the lookout for these symptoms.

Shot of a young man checking his temperature while lying on the couch at home

Salmonella symptoms appear between six hours and six days after consuming the bacteria, according to the CDC. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, which usually resolve without treatment in four to seven days.

However, if you experience more severe symptoms like diarrhea and a fever greater than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea for over three days with no improvement, bloody diarrhea, vomiting that prohibits you from keeping liquids down, or signs of dehydration, you should call your doctor, the CDC says.

According to the CDC, children younger than five and adults over 65 are at risk for more severe infections, as are those with weakened immune systems.

Double-check your fridge and freezer.

young woman searching inside a refrigerator at home

The CDC is asking the public to check their fridges and freezers for Papa Murphy's chocolate chip cookie dough and s'mores bars dough. If you do find some tucked away, the agency and Papa Murphy's say it should be thrown away immediately—even if you didn't get sick. Any items or surfaces that touched the dough should be sanitized or washed with hot soapy water or run through the dishwasher, if possible.

In general, you should avoid eating raw cookie dough unless the label clearly states that it is safe to be eaten raw. Brands that do sell safe-to-eat raw dough typically use heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs, or no eggs, per the CDC.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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