The CDC widened its cantaloupe recall Thursday. Photo by James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Wikimedia Commons
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people to avoid eating certain pre-cut cantaloupes due a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 117 people in 34 states.
Symptoms of the illness, linked to the cantaloupes by lab results and interviews with sick patients, are severe with more than half of those affected hospitalized, including 14 people in long-term care facilities and 7 kids in childcare centers, the CDC said.
Malichita brand and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes have been recalled, and the CDC has added many pre-cut cantaloupes to the recall, including those from Kwik Trip, Bix Produce, Kroger, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Trader Joe's stores.
The CDC advises facilities that care for people at higher risk of illness to avoid serving cantaloupes if they don't know the brand, and especially if the melons are pre-cut.
Health officials warn all consumers to avoid cantaloupe chunks and fruit mixes with cantaloupes at restaurants and grocery stores and not to eat any recalled whole or pre-cut cantaloupe products. They advise consumers to discard any pre-cut melons to be on the safe side.
"If you have any, throw them away or return them to the store," the CDC said. "If the whole cantaloupe does not have a sticker, check with the store to make sure it is not a Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupe. Wash items and surfaces that may have touched the cantaloupe using hot soapy water or a dishwasher."
Severe Salmonella poisoning symptoms include diarrhea that lasts for three days, a fever of 102°F or higher, persistent vomiting combined with a lack of consistent urination, which can lead to dehydration, a dry mouth and throat, and dizziness.
Symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the Salmonella bacteria. Most people recover without medical treatment in 4 to 7 days.
The CDC advised long-term care facilities, childcare centers, hospitals and businesses not to use any recalled products, including those that are pre-cut, or whole Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupes, even if they've been washed.
"Washing does not remove all germs and does not make recalled products safe to eat," the CDC said. "Wash and sanitize items and surfaces that may have come in contact with recalled cantaloupes."