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53 people sickened by salmonella linked to raw tuna

By Danielle Haynes
53 people sickened by salmonella linked to raw tuna
A number of people who became ill with salmonella poisoning said they consumed raw tuna in sushi prior to getting sick. Health officials say 53 people have gotten sick from the same salmonella strain since March. Photo by Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock

SACRAMENTO, May 21 (UPI) -- A salmonella outbreak that has sickened 53 people in multiple states is likely linked to the consumption of raw tuna, California health officials said.

The California Department of Public Health on Thursday said 31 people in six counties in the state have been sickened by salmonella paratyphi b. Twenty-two others linked to the same strain of the the bacteria have become ill in Arizona, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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The illnesses took place between March 5 and May 13, and ages of the patients ranged from 1 to 83 years old. State and local health departments, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating the source of the outbreak.

The CPDH said most of the Californian patients reported eating raw tuna in sushi before getting sick. Ten of those patients were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

"As the investigation continues, this is a good reminder to Californians that there are sometimes risks when eating raw or undercooked meats, fish or poultry," CDPH Dr. Karen Smith said. "This is particularly true for young children, the elderly, or people with compromised immune systems who may be at an increased risk of severe illness."

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Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. The disease can cause death for more vulnerable populations or if not treated properly.

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