Next up in Summer Fun: Salmonella Melons

While it’s not technically summer just yet, the summer fun is already starting. Freshly cut melons including watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and fruit medley products have been linked to a salmonella outbreak across five states. Customers in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio are advised to avoid any tasty fruit they have bought pre-cut from Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon.

According to the CDC: 60 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported, 31 people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. It is believed that “pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana is a likely source of this multistate outbreak.”

Is salmonella serious? It can be:

Symptoms of salmonella begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. This can last about four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, those who develop severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Those who are very young, who are very old or who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications and severe cases of illness.

 

Waiter, There’s Still Salmonella in My Kratom

An outbreak of salmonella linked to the herbal supplement kratom continues to grow. Kratom is used in low doses as a stimulant and in high doses as a pain reliever. Because kratom gives users a “legal high” it has skyrocketed in popularity, though its effects are not entirely understood. Additionally, the FDA, which would like to classify kratom as an opiate, has linked 44 reported deaths to the use of kratom.

According to the most recent update by the CDC, 35 states are now reporting outbreaks linked to kratom, with a total case count of 87. This is over double the number of cases reported earlier in March. Additionally, 35 percent of those infected have been hospitalized. No common brands or suppliers have been identified and because of this, the CDC recommends against consuming any kratom. This hasn’t stopped stores from advertising the product though, as evidenced by this brightly lit sign down the street from me:

I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, but certainly there’s a better use for $40 than risking diarrhea for days and potential hospitalization.

Reminder: Guinea Pigs are Rodents

Rodents carry disease. I’m not going to go down the Internet rabbit hole and debate whether the guinea pig is a rodent or not, but I will let this quote from the CDC do it for me:

This outbreak is a reminder that pet rodents such as guinea pigs, regardless of where they are purchased or adopted, can carry Salmonella bacteria even when they look healthy and clean…Pet rodents are not recommended as pets for children younger than 5 years, and should not be kept in childcare centers.

Yes, the adorable pet guinea pig/rodent you are keeping as a pet could be carrying the Salmonella bacteria. Nine people in ten states have reported Salmonella cases linked to pet guinea pigs, prompting an advisory from the CDC. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people will recover without treatment. In some cases, hospitalization may be required. Salmonella can be more severe for children under than five, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.

The CDC’s advice for pet rodent owners: wash your hands, don’t eat or drink while playing with your pet rodent, and be aware that any surfaces your pet rodent scurries across could be contaminated. Most importantly (in my opinion): “do not kiss, nuzzle, or hold pet rodents close to your face.”

Salmonella Infected Kratom

Kratom, a controversial plant used by people as an opiate substitute and recreational drug, has been linked to a salmonella outbreak. Health officials are warning that people should avoid kratom entirely, and smoke marijuana instead. Just kidding about second part.

Kratom, an “herbal supplement,” is used in low doses as a stimulant and in high doses as a pain reliever. According to WebMD,  “Its leaves have been used for hundreds of years to relieve pain. They can be eaten raw, but more often they’re crushed and brewed as tea or turned into capsules, tablets, and liquids.” Because kratom gives users a “legal high” it has skyrocketed in popularity, though its effects are not entirely understood. And desperate for something to ease the opiate epidemic, kratom has taken on a cult like following among some people.

The CDC reports that so far, 40 people have been infected with salmonella-laced kratom in 27 states. No deaths have been reported. The Washington Post sums up the two sides in the ongoing kratom battle:

Rapidly rising in popularity, kratom is hailed as a readily available pain remedy that is safer than traditional opioids (such as oxycodone), an effective addiction withdrawal aid and a pleasurable recreational tonic. Kratom also is assailed as a dangerous and unregulated drug that can be purchased on the Internet, a habit-forming substance that authorities say can result in opioid-like abuse and death.

Regardless, your kratom is likely tainted with salmonella so stop using it, unless you’re willing to risk days worth of diarrhea.

Not the Papayas!

As my coworkers can attest, I love papayas. I can be frequently found in the kitchen scooping out the bulbous and slightly gooey black seeds, and generally making a bit of a mess.

The CDC is reporting an outbreak of salmonella that has been traced to Maradol papayas. So far, 47 people in 12 states have been infected, and one has died.

Symptoms of salmonella begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. This can last about four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, those who develop severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Those who are very young, who are very old or who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications and severe cases of illness.

CNN: Deadly salmonella outbreak linked to papayas

Until the deadly papaya issue is resolved, I can recommend cantaloupe as a substitute, though of course it’s not quite the same. Cheers to fruit & food safety!