Deadly Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Yellow Maradol Papayas

Forty-seven people in 12 states have become infected with salmonella believed to be linked to yellow Maradol papayas, CDC Health Officials reported on July 21, 2017.

Twelve people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Investigators are working to learn where the contamination occurred in the supply chain,” the CDC said.

States reporting illnesses related to this outbreak are Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Maryland. The one death was in New York.

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As part of an ongoing investigation, health officials discovered that several people in Maryland, where five cases have been confirmed, said they had eaten papayas from the same grocery store in the week before their illness began.

Samples collected from those individuals and from the unnamed grocery store tested positive for two different strains of Salmonella – Salmonella Kiambu and Salmonella Thompson. The Salmonella Kiambu strain is linked to the cases in other states however, it is not yet clear whether Salmonella Thompson is part of this multistate outbreak.

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers

CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell yellow Maradol papayas until we learn more.

  • If you aren’t sure if the papaya you bought is a yellow Maradol papaya, you can ask the place of purchase. Restaurants and retailers can ask their supplier.
  • When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.
  • Wash and sanitize countertops as well as drawers or shelves in refrigerators where papayas were stored.

Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from eating contaminated papaya.

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop the following signs and symptoms 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria:
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Abdominal cramps

An estimated 1.2 million cases of salmonella infection occur in the US annually, with 450 deaths, according to the CDC.