For Immediate Release
June 4, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Kansas Identifies 3 Cases Linked to Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak

As of June 4, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has identified three cases that are linked to a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul bacterium infections. Kansas is currently one of nine states affected by the outbreak. Two of the cases are in south-central Kansas and one is in southeast Kansas.

An epidemiologic investigation conducted by the New Mexico and Texas Departments of Health and the Indian Health Service using interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons has identified consumption of raw tomatoes as the likely source of illnesses in New Mexico and Texas. The specific type and source of tomatoes are under investigation; however, preliminary data suggest that large tomatoes, including Roma and red round are the source.

KDHE is coordinating with local health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in the outbreak investigation. As a precaution, KDHE and CDC are advising consumers to do the following:

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Every year, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis (Salmonella infection) are reported in the United States. Because many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be thirty or more times greater. Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than winter.

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