A shipment of papayas is believed to be the source of a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 50 people and caused at least one death so far, the CDC announced on Friday, July 21.
According to the CDC, 47 people in 12 different states have been infected with salmonella after eating papayas. 12 of the victims were sickened badly enough to have been hospitalized, and one person has died from the infection.
It’s not clear where in the supply chain the contamination may have occurred, but so far people have been sickened in Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Maryland. Several of the salmonella cases in Maryland came from papayas purchased at the same grocery store.
The symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Infections can be much more severe in young children, very old people, and people with compromised immune systems. The people sickened in this outbreak are between the ages of 1 year old and 95.
There are several varieties of papaya available in restaurants and grocery stores. The type that has been implicated in the outbreak is the yellow Maradol papaya, which is a very large variety of papaya. They usually weigh between three and five pounds. The fruit’s skin starts out green but turns yellow as they get ripe, and the flesh inside is orange.
The CDC is recommending that nobody buy or eat yellow Maradol papayas for the time being. If a person is not sure whether or not a papaya is a yellow Maradol papaya, the CDC recommends asking the place where the papaya was purchased. If a person cannot confirm whether or not a papaya is a yellow Maradol, it’s best to just throw the papaya out.