Contaminated papaya sickens 62, sends 23 to hospital – PennLive

People in Pennsylvania have been warned not to purchase papaya imported from Mexico due to more than 60 cases of salmonella infections related to the fresh fruit in the United States.

That warning came from officials at U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, who this week announced that 62 people who consumed papaya had become ill since the beginning of the year. Most of those illnesses, officials said, were reported in April.

The most recent infection was reported June 8, officials said. Infections were reported in eight states.

Of those infected, 23 people had to be hospitalized, according to the warning, which also noted that there have been no deaths related to the infections.

The warning has been issued for Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. People in those states have been told not to purchase fresh papaya imported from Mexico.

People who already have purchased papaya from Mexico should refrain from eating it, officials at the CDC said.

“Throw the papayas away, even if some of them were eaten and no one has gotten sick,” officials said.

They also offered further instructions, which are printed below:

  • Do not eat fruit salad or other mixes that include papaya from Mexico.
  • If you aren’t sure the papaya you bought is from Mexico, you can ask the place of purchase. When in doubt, don’t eat the papaya.
  • Wash and sanitize places where papayas were stored.

“The FDA strongly advises importers, suppliers and distributors, as well as restaurants, retailers and other food service providers from all states to hold whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico,” CDC officials said.

According to officials at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, salmonella is bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever.

After infection, symptoms typically being to show within 72 hours, lasting several days with most people recovering without treatment, FDA officials said.

“Most people with salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps,” officials said. “More severe cases of salmonellosis may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool and, in some cases, may become fatal.”

About 450 people in the United States die from salmonella every year, FDA officials said, noting that children younger than 5, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to severe illness.

“This investigation is ongoing,” officials at the CDC said.

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