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Salmonella outbreak from unidentified source expands to 29 states; CDC says strain found in takeout container

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Salmonella outbreak from unidentified source expands to 29 states; CDC says strain found in takeout container

The CDC said it was “not possible” to determine which component of the takeout meal was contaminated, as the container contained multiple food items. (Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded a “significant” number of new infections amid a multi-state outbreak of salmonella stemming from an unknown food source.

At least 279 infections have been linked to the strain observed in the outbreak, 26 of which have required hospitalization, according to the latest CDC case count made public on Friday. Last week, the CDC had only confirmed 127 infections linked to the unidentified food source, including 18 hospitalizations.

The outbreak has also expanded to a total of 29 states, or four more than when the CDC first reported the infections last week.

No deaths have been linked to the outbreak.

Salmonella Oranienburg, the strain observed in this outbreak, began sickening people on Aug. 3 and grew “rapidly” in the following weeks, according to the CDC. The agency estimates that the actual number of sick people is “likely much higher” than 279, as many infected individuals often recover without seeking treatment or getting tested.

It can also take up to four weeks to determine if a sick person is indeed part of the outbreak, the agency says.

Investigators have yet to determine a food source linked to the outbreak, though the strain has since been identified in a takeout container provided to a restaurant customer, per the CDC’s lab data.

“State and local officials have collected food items from some of the restaurants where sick people ate,” the CDC wrote in Friday’s update. “The outbreak strain of Salmonella Oranienburg was found in a sample taken from a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime. The sick person reported that the condiment container also contained onions, but none were left in the cup when it was tested.”

The CDC says, however, that it is “not possible” to determine exactly which ingredient or component was contaminated, as the takeout container contained other foods.

Health officials are currently gathering additional data, per the CDC.

In a statement shared with Nexstar days before the CDC’s latest update, the agency said it was continuing to see “a significant number of new cases reported each day.”

The statement, issued by Belsie González, MPH, the senior public affairs specialist for the CDC, added that “it remains important that people report symptoms to their healthcare provider and local health department.”  

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and possible nausea, vomiting or headache. Those experiencing more severe symptoms — including dehydration, prolonged vomiting, prolonged diarrhea, or diarrhea with a fever of over 102 degrees F, among other symptoms — should contact a doctor immediately.

A complete list of the number of infections and where they were reported can be found below.

  • Texas: 81
  • Oklahoma: 40
  • Illinois: 23
  • Virginia: 22
  • Minnesota: 19
  • Massachusetts: 10
  • Maryland: 9
  • Wisconsin: 8
  • Arkansas: 7
  • Kansas: 6
  • New Mexico: 6
  • California: 5
  • Connecticut: 5
  • South Dakota: 5
  • Michigan: 4
  • Nebraska: 4
  • New Jersey: 4
  • Pennsylvania: 4
  • Missouri: 3
  • Florida: 2
  • New York: 2
  • North Carolina: 2
  • Utah: 2
  • Indiana: 1
  • Iowa: 1
  • North Dakota: 1
  • Oregon: 1
  • South Carolina: 1
  • Tennessee: 1

More information on this outbreak and salmonella infection can be found at the CDC’s website.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

Could the Broncos be getting a new quarterback again?

With a week left before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, one oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance at landing embattled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

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Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse

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Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two years ago, Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from its app store over concerns about the platform being used as a tool to trade and sell maids in the Mideast.

After publicly promising to crack down, Facebook acknowledged in internal documents obtained by The Associated Press that it was “under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity” that saw Filipina maids complaining on the social media site of being abused. Apple relented and Facebook and Instagram remained in the app store.

But Facebook’s crackdown seems to have had a limited effect. Even today, a quick search for “khadima,” or “maids” in Arabic, will bring up accounts featuring posed photographs of Africans and South Asians with ages and prices listed next to their images. That’s even as the Philippines government has a team of workers that do nothing but scour Facebook posts each day to try and protect desperate job seekers from criminal gangs and unscrupulous recruiters using the site.

While the Mideast remains a crucial source of work for women in Asia and Africa hoping to provide for their families back home, Facebook acknowledged some countries across the region have “especially egregious” human rights issues when it comes to laborers’ protection.

“In our investigation, domestic workers frequently complained to their recruitment agencies of being locked in their homes, starved, forced to extend their contracts indefinitely, unpaid, and repeatedly sold to other employers without their consent,” one Facebook document read. “In response, agencies commonly told them to be more agreeable.”

The report added: “We also found recruitment agencies dismissing more serious crimes, such as physical or sexual assault, rather than helping domestic workers.”

In a statement to the AP, Facebook said it took the problem seriously, despite the continued spread of ads exploiting foreign workers in the Mideast.

“We prohibit human exploitation in no uncertain terms,” Facebook said. “We’ve been combating human trafficking on our platform for many years and our goal remains to prevent anyone who seeks to exploit others from having a home on our platform.”

This story, along with others published Monday, is based on disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel. The redacted versions were obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including the AP.

Taken as a whole, the trove of documents show that Facebook’s daunting size and user base around the world — a key factor in its rapid ascent and near trillion-dollar valuation — also proves to be its greatest weakness in trying to police illicit activity, such as the sale of drugs, and suspected human rights and labor abuses on its site.

Activists say Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, has both an obligation and likely the means to fully crack down on the abuses their services facilitate as it earns tens of billions of dollars a year in revenue.

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HelloFresh, EveryPlate and more now part of extended onion recall

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You may need to toss your onions as salmonella outbreak has been linked to the vegetable

If you haven’t already thrown out your onions, you should check your vegetables again.

The Food and Drug Administration has extended the onion recall, caused by a salmonella outbreak, to several more brands. The salmonella outbreak was first reported last week and initially only included fresh whole red, white or yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource.

The recall now includes onions from HelloFresh, EveryPlate, Potandon Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms.

HelloFresh said in a statement on Saturday they recommended disposing of onions received during the specified time period

“HelloFresh has been informed by one of its ingredient suppliers that it is conducting a voluntary recall of its onions due to the potential presence of salmonella bacteria,” the company said. “Please discard all onions received from July 7, 2021, through Sept. 8, 2021.”

The CDC is still working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to the outbreak.

Officials said recently both individuals and businesses should check onions and if it is unknown where they are from, throw them away. It is also recommended to wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with these onions.

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