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Metro Newsroom

Salmonella Case in Louisville Linked to National Outbreak in Tomatoes

Friday June 13, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (June 13, 2008) Laboratory tests have confirmed that a case of Salmonella in a Louisville woman is Salmonella Saintpaul and that its genetic fingerprint links it to the national outbreak in tomatoes. The woman was ill in May and has since recovered. Privacy regulations prohibit the disclosure of any other information on the identity or health status of the patient. 

Since April, 228 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in at least 24 states. This Louisville case is the first case in Kentucky linked to the outbreak.
Consumers are advised to avoid eating varieties of raw tomatoes associated with this outbreak. These are raw red plum, red Roma, and round red tomatoes, and products containing these raw tomatoes.  Since early this week local grocery stores and restaurants have voluntarily pulled these products. Consumers should be aware that raw tomatoes are often used in the preparation of fresh salsa, guacamole, and pico de gallo, are part of fillings for tortillas, and are used in many other dishes.

Tomato varieties not linked to the outbreak and safe to eat include cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and tomatoes grown at home.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts 4 – 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may occur. Infants, elderly persons, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites, and can cause death. In these severe cases, antibiotic treatment may be necessary.