Salmonella, now we really know. My my, we could never let you go
Just because the Covid-19 coronavirus is spreading, doesn’t mean that Salmonella will social distance itself from humans or simply go away. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that there is yet another Salmonella outbreak occurring. This time it’s Salmonella Newport that so far has resulted in at least 125 people getting ill in 15 states, resulting in 24 hospitalizations but no deaths.
Mamma mia! Not another another Salmonella outbreak. That makes well over 30 such outbreaks since the start of 2018.
The first reported illness of this outbreak began on June 19, 2020. The youngest case has been two years old, the oldest 92 years old.
Public health officials haven’t yet identified the source of this latest outbreak. So, according to the announcement, the “CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating any specific foods, or that retailers stop selling any specific foods.”
That means that you’ll have to wait and see what food may join the list of foods that have already caused Salmonella outbreaks over the past two and half years. This buffet of foods includes cut fruit, ground beef, papayas, Kawaran tahini, frozen raw tuna, pre-cut Melon, Butterball ground turkey, tahini produced by Achdut Ltd. raw chicken products, ground beef, Gravel Ridge Farms shell eggs, raw turkey products, Hy-vee spring pasta salad,Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal, pre-cut melon, dried coconut, chicken salad, raw sprouts, and frozen shredded coconut. Pig ear dog treats have also caused a Salmonella outbreak. But you really shouldn’t be munching on these unless you typically say, “woof.”
Fortunately, the majority of Salmonella infections are not super-serious. Typically, after being infected with Salmonella, symptoms will start six hours to six days later. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Now, symptoms tend to last no more than four to seven days, so don’t worry about dipping too far into your 5,000-roll stash of toilet paper.
Sometimes, though, the bacteria can get into your bloodstream, spread to different parts of your body, and cause potentially life-threatening problems. You are at higher risk of this happening if you happen to be either less than five years old or 65 years and older. Very few people fall into both age categories, physically at least. There are people older than 65 years or even over 70 who behave like they are less than five, but that’s another story. Chronic health conditions or medications that weaken your immune system can also put you at higher risk.
Here’s one good thing about 2020. A lot of the things that you should be doing to prevent Covid-19 coronavirus infections can help prevent Salmonella infections as well. These include regularly disinfecting surfaces, frequently washing your hands, and thoroughly cooking your food. So who knows how Salmonella outbreaks the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic may have indirectly prevented?
Ah, but here’s a 2020 twist. Diarrhea and fever sound a bit like the diarrhea and fever that are listed on the CDC’s “Symptoms of Coronavirus” website. So if you are having such symptoms, how can you tell if you have a Salmonella rather than a Covid-19 coronavirus infection? Or something else that can cause such symptoms? Or some combination of these? Well, you can’t really diagnose Covid-19 without testing.
Time will tell if and how the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic delays investigation into the source of this latest Salmonella outbreak. The pandemic is already taxing the limited amount of available public health resources. But microbes like Salmonella don’t care about that. They will keep on doing what they do. And that includes causing bad doo-doo.