There have been reports from 43 states, in the past several weeks, regarding the current Salmonella outbreak. To date, six deaths and 470 illnesses have been attributed to the condition, and many consumers have questions that require answering. To understand the nature of the outbreak, it is important to look at Salmonella and its characteristics.
The type or strain of Salmonella that has been identified in the current outbreak is called, “Salmonella Typhimurium”. There are several strains of Salmonella, each with their own unique, genetic codes or mutations. The peanut butter that has been linked to the Salmonella outbreak has tested positive for Salmonella Typhimurium and all contaminated samples contain the similar genetic coding, indicating the same original source. Many people have become sick with Salmonella Typhimurium after eating peanut butter, in some cases; their illnesses did not develop until a week after consumption. However, through state and federal testing, the strain of Salmonella has been identified and the investigation has shown that the culprit was in fact, peanut butter.
As more products are determined to be contaminated with Salmonella, they will continually be recalled. The original source of contamination has currently been linked to a facility owned by the Peanut Corporation of America. Though they do not directly sell peanut butter or peanut butter products to consumers, they do sell to companies that use the peanut butter in their products.
The Food and Drug Administration as well as the Centers for Disease Control have been working diligently to investigate the matter. In fact, anyone who experiences any symptoms of Salmonella poisoning is advised to see their health care provider, but can also report their condition to either the FDA or the CDC themselves. Additionally, state health departments are making reports readily available to the FDA and CDC of any illnesses detected.
If you suspect that you might have Salmonella poisoning it is imperative to see your health care provider immediately. Salmonella has the potential to be life threatening and secondary infections can occur. For healthy individuals, Salmonella is often short lived, and healing takes place within one week. However, for those who have compromised or weakened immune systems, are elderly, or for the very young Salmonella can be serious. Symptoms of Salmonella include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramps, and chills. Blood might be present in stools and dehydration is a possible complication. To ensure that your health situation is monitored and that you get treatment that will help speed our healing, visit your health care provider immediately.
For more information regarding the current Salmonella Outbreak, please visit the FDA’s website here: FDA Salmonella Outbreak