Update: As of Thursday, September 14, Maradol papayas have been linked to 235 salmonella illnesses across 26 states, according to the CDC. Among those who have gotten sick, 78 have been hospitalized and two people have died, one in New York and one in California. Four farms in Mexico have been identified in four different outbreaks: Carica de Campeche, Rancho El Ganadero, El Zapotanito, and Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecomán y Costa Alegre farms. The CDC urges consumers not to eat and restaurants not to sell papayas from these farms.
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A multi-state outbreak of salmonella poisoning has been linked to papayas, according to a report from the CDC. A total of 47 people have been sickened across 12 states, and one person in New York City has died.
The CDC has warned that people should not eat Maradol papayas, the strain thought to be associated with the illnesses, as an investigation continues. Restaurants have been recommended not to serve the papayas, and retailers have been urged not to sell them. So far, 12 people have been hospitalized for illness.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, according to the CDC. Salmonella is fairly common — as the CDC notes, it causes an estimated one million foodborne illnesses in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths. Most people develop symptoms within 12 to 72 hours after infection, and while most recover within four to seven days without treatment, in some cases, symptoms can be severe enough to cause the patient to be hospitalized. In rarer cases, it may also result in death — salmonella poisoning is especially harmful to young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.
The CDC urges anyone who may have Maradol papayas to throw them out, and to wash and sanitize countertops as well as drawers or shelves in refrigerators where the papayas were stored. If you aren't sure whether you've bought a Maradol papaya, you can always ask your restaurant or retailer.
The investigation is still ongoing, and the CDC will provide further information when they have it. In the meantime, you may want to play it safe when it comes to your summer fruit.
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