Salmonella Outbreak: Red Onions Are Causing These Symptoms

Salmonella Outbreak Red Onions Symptoms

Getty Red onions.

A salmonella outbreak that has sickened people in at least 34 states has now been linked to red onions, possibly from Thompson International, Inc., the U.S. Food & Drug Administration said in a statement.

The FDA, Centers for Disease Control and state and local partners are investigating the Salmonella Newport outbreak and the possible connection to Thompson International, of Bakersfield, California. A recall has been issued on the company’s onions, asking retailers, customers and restaurants not to sell, eat, or serve any Thompson International onions, including red, white, yellow or sweet onions. Onions from Thompson International should be thrown out, the FDA statement said.

Salmonella can cause symptoms including a fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps, usually beginning between six hours and six days after being exposed to the bacteria, the CDC reported.

Here’s what you need to know:


The Salmonella Outbreak Stemming from Red Onions Includes Symptoms Such as Fever, Diarrhea and Stomach Cramps

Salmonella is caused by a bacteria that can cause symptoms in a patient between six hours and six days after exposure to the bacteria in most patients, according to the CDC. The illness usually lasts between four and seven days, and most people recover without treatment. In some cases, the illness may be severe and may require hospitalization.

In extreme cases, the salmonella infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, and then to other parts of the body. Children under 5 years old, seniors over 65 years old, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to contract a serious illness from the bacteria, the CDC said.

A total of 396 people have reported illness from the salmonella outbreak in 34 states. Fifty-nine people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. An outbreak has also been reported in Canada.

See a map of the reported cases here.

The states with reported salmonella infections as of July 29, 2020 are:

Alaska, with 6 illnesses, Arizona, with 14 illnesses, California, with 49 illnesses, Colorado, with 10 illnesses, Florida, with 3 illnesses, Idaho, with 5 illnesses, Illinois, with 10 illnesses, Indiana, with 2 illnesses, Iowa, with 15 illnesses, Kansas, with 1 illness, Kentucky, with 1 illness, Maine, with 4 illnesses, Maryland, with 1 illness, Michigan, with 23 illnesses, Minnesota, with 10 illnesses, Missouri, with 6 illnesses, Montana, with 33 illnesses, Nebraska, with 5 illnesses, Nevada, with 5 illnesses, New York, with 4 illnesses, North Carolina, with 3 illnesses, North Dakota, with 5 illnesses, Ohio, with 7 illnesses, Oregon, with 71 illnesses, Pennsylvania, with 2 illnesses, South Carolina, with 1 illness, South Dakota, with 11 illnesses, Tennessee, with 5 illnesses, Texas, with 1 illness, Utah, with 61 illnesses, Virginia, with 4 illnesses, Washington, with 2 illnesses, Wisconsin, with 5 illnesses and Wyoming, with 11 illnesses.


Officials Are Investigating Whether the Salmonella Outbreak Was Caused by Red Onions from Thompson International

Officials with the FDA, CDC and state and local partners conducted studies which indicated the salmonella outbreak was caused by contaminated red onions from Thompson International. The company is based in Bakersfield, California. Because of the way onions are grown, yellow, white and sweet onions from the company may also be contaminated, the CDC said in a statement. All Thompson International onions are included in an FDA recall.

“Epidemiologic and traceback information showed that red onions are the likely source of this outbreak,” the CDC said in a statement. “The traceback information collected identified Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA as a likely source of red onions in this outbreak. Due to the way onions are grown and harvested, other types of onions, such as white, yellow, or sweet, may also be contaminated.
Additional traceback is ongoing to determine if other onions are linked to the outbreak.”

The highest number of recorded illnesses from Salmonella Newport is in Oregon, with 71 reported illnesses, according to the CDC. Officials in Canada are also investigating a salmonella outbreak, which they believe can also be traced back to the California red onions.

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