One person is dead and dozen more have fallen ill after a salmonella outbreak linked to Maradol papayas imported from Mexico affected 12 states. While no recall has yet been issued, health officials expect the number of people affected to rise until investigators can conclusively determine the source of the bacteria.
The upwards of 47 illnesses related to the salmonella infection began being reported in mid-May, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted in a report. Authorities first noted the outbreak in Maryland and tied it to papayas after 11 of 25 people that have fallen ill – or 44 percent – reported eating the tropical fruit.
In the last two months, similar cases have been reported in New Jersey, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and New York, which is where the single death was reported.
The CDC has narrowed down the infected fruits to Mexican Maradol papayas, sold under the Caribeña brand. Once infected with salmonella Kiambu, victims suffer from a range of symtpoms including diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Deaths stemming from salmonella Kiambu infection is rare, and the identity of the deceased New Yorker has not been released.
“Based on the available evidence, CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell Maradol papayas from Mexico,” the organization said concluded in its report.
“We also recommend not eating or selling Caribeña brand Maradol papayas imported from Mexico until we learn more about other possible brands that might be linked to this outbreak,” the CDC added.
If you have purchased a Caribeña brand Maradol papaya, the Food and Drug Administration recommends washing and sanitizing all display cases, refrigerators, and kitchen surfaces that might have come into contact with the contaminated fruits.