June 9, 2008
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency has received confirmation that a 4-year-old child who traveled to Texas has tested positive for Salmonella. The child was exposed to the disease in Texas. This case is related to the multi-state outbreak associated with consuming raw tomatoes.
Since mid-April, more than 145 persons nationwide have been infected with Salmonella Saintpaul, the same strain of the disease identified in 16 states, including California.
“HHSA Community Epidemiology and the County’s Department of Environmental Health will continue monitoring the situation and will inform the public of any new local cases,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer.
To date in 2008, there have been 138 Salmonella cases in San Diego County. The total does not include the one related to the tomato outbreak.
The California Department of Public Health recommends Californians use caution in selecting tomatoes based on guidance from the Food and Drug Administration. FDA has no indication that tomatoes grown in California are associated with this outbreak. FDA preliminary data suggest that raw red plum, raw red Roma, or raw round red tomatoes are the cause. At this time, consumers should limit their tomato consumption to tomatoes that have not been implicated in the outbreak. FDA guidance is available on its Web site.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection. 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.
The Centers for Disease Control Web site has general information about Salmonella and updates on this outbreak.