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Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak May be Linked to Contaminated Cilantro

— September 29, 2021

After a lengthy investigation into a salmonella outbreak, CDC investigators believe contaminated cilantro may be to blame.

For more than a month now, a salmonella outbreak has sickened 279 people across 29 states, according to the CDC. The outbreak was first identified back on September 2, 2021. At the time, only 20 people were ill from the outbreak. Since then, the federal agency has been investigating the outbreak, trying to determine its source. Fortunately, the CDC just announced that investigators believe the outbreak is linked to certain types of cilantro after tested revealed the “outbreak strain in a food container.

The CDC stated:

“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…Because multiple food items were present in the container and in the sample that was tested, it is not possible to know which food item was contaminated. We are using this information in conjunction with other available information to help narrow the list of possible foods linked to illness.”

Reports of illnesses began trickling in from August 3 to September 13 and the ages of the infected ranged from one to 89-years-old. Twenty-six of the infected people were hospitalized, but fortunately, no deaths have been reported. The states impacted by the outbreak can be seen in the chart from the CDC below:

CDC map of Salmonella outbreak
CDC map of Salmonella outbreak; image courtesy of the CDC,

The CDC further stated:

“The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.”

Symptoms of a salmonella infection may include dizziness, fever, and vomiting. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing symptoms of a salmonella infection should contact their healthcare professional. Positive infections should be reported to the local health department.


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