Watermelon suspected in Norwegian Salmonella outbreak

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A Salmonella outbreak in Norway with nearly 20 people sick has been linked to watermelon.

Folkehelseinstituttet (FHI) reported that of 13 sick people interviewed so far, all had eaten watermelon in the days before illness. The melons were purchased from various retail stores.

Eighteen people are part of the monophasic outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium and eight of them have been hospitalized.

The patients are aged from 1 to 87 years old, 10 are men and eight are women. They live in six different regions of the country with the most cases in Møre og Romsdal and Vestland but a few in Trøndelag, Rogaland, Troms and Finnmark and Innlandet.

Melon participates in the expert meeting on risk assessment
Mattilsynet (the Norwegian Food Safety Authority) said it was highly unlikely that watermelons associated with the outbreak would still be on the market. The fruit has a shelf life of three to four weeks. Most people got sick from late June to mid-July.

Efforts are underway to trace the origin of the implicated watermelons. The melon usually grows on the ground in countries with a warm climate.

To reduce the risk of infection, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s advice on safe handling includes not using melons with deep damage to the skin, washing the melon and wiping it dry before cutting it. into pieces, wash hands and equipment with soap and water after handling the melon and keep the sliced ​​melon cool.

Melons have caused other outbreaks with several types of bacteria, said Taran Skjerdal, a researcher at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.

“In this outbreak, it’s Salmonella. In other countries, there have been large outbreaks of Listeria and several other foodborne pathogens. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization have chosen to place particular emphasis on melons in an international risk assessment. Work will begin in October,” said Skjerdal, who is part of the expert panel conducting the assessment. .

About Salmonella
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste tainted. Anyone can get a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctor about possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria, because special tests are needed to diagnose salmonellosis. Symptoms of Salmonella infection can mimic other illnesses, often leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, the diarrhea can be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized.

The elderly, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop serious illness and serious, sometimes fatal, conditions. Some people are infected without getting sick or showing symptoms. However, they can still transmit the infections to others.

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