Deadly salmonella outbreak: 64 more cases linked to papayas

One death, 109 infections, including 35 hospitalizations in 16 states have resulted from salmonella linked to yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

“CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell Maradol papayas from Mexico until we learn more,” the agency said on its website.

Large, oval fruit weighing 3 pounds or more, Maradol papayas have green skin that turn yellow when ripe; inside, the fruit is salmon-colored.

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours of infection. Most recover without treatment, though the illness usually lasts between four and seven days.

An investigation is ongoing, with 64 people from 15 states added since the outbreak was annouced two weeks ago, according to the CDC. States where people have fallen ill are Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Some samples of Caribeña brand’s yellow Maradol papayas tested positive for salmonella.

People began falling ill May 17, the CDC said; those affected range in age from less than 1 year old to 95. The Maryland Department of Health first informed federal authorities that several ill people had purchased papayas at the same Baltimore location. On July 19, Maryland reported that some samples of Caribeña brand’s yellow Maradol papayas tested positive for salmonella in its preliminary examination and warned consumers to avoid consuming the fruit.

Shortly afterward, the US Food and Drug Administration identified Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico as a likely source of the outbreak.

The agency tested papayas from the farm and identified five strains of salmonella.

On July 26, Grande Produce, which distributes Caribeña papayas from Carica de Campeche, recalled the fruit it had supplied to US markets between July 10 and July 19.

The FDA has increased its testing of papayas from Mexico to see whether fruit from other farms might be contaminated.