Papayas poison more than 100 with salmonella in US

  • Published
A photo of the maradol papaya - a large oval fruit with an orange colour. One fruit is cut in half, showing the dark seeds clustered in its coreImage source, CDC
Image caption,
The large maradol papaya, imported from a farm in Mexico, is the suspected source

A deadly salmonella outbreak linked to papaya fruits has infected more than 100 people in the United States.

The outbreak across 16 states has killed one person in New York state, and seen 35 patients hospitalised.

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) said that maradol papayas imported from Mexico are the "likely source".

It believes the outbreak started at a single farm in Campeche, Mexico, which sells papayas under the Caribena, Cavi and Valery brands in the US.

A recall has been issued for the brands suspected of contamination.

But the CDC is urging the public and restaurants to throw away any maradol papayas from Mexico while they investigate.

"When in doubt, don't eat, sell or serve them, and throw them out", it said.

Testing by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found five different strains of salmonella on a range of samples.

Infections were recorded as far back as May, and by 21 July 47 cases were recorded.

Less than three weeks later, the case count had more than doubled to 109.

The documented cases are concentrated in the states of New York and New Jersey, the CDC said, which together account for 62 cases.

Other states affected so far are: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Salmonella bacteria can induce symptoms including diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever.

Usually, the infection runs its course in less than a week and most patients do not need treatment.

But in serious cases it can require hospitalisation for antibiotic treatment.

Risk of salmonella infection is usually linked to animals and animal food products - like eggs, milk and meat.

However, fruit and vegetables can also be contaminated from farm activities or contact with infected animals.