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CDC Announces Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked with Frozen Shredded Coconut

The CDC is investigating a multistate Salmonella outbreak that has been linked to frozen shredded coconut products.

Just as the United States is recovering from multistate Salmonella outbreaks linked with Maradol papayas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they are investigating another multistate Salmonella outbreak.

This time, the cases have been linked back to frozen shredded coconut.

“This appears to be the first-ever Salmonella outbreak tied to coconut that the CDC has confirmed,” reported the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

As of January 12, 2018, a total of 25 individuals from 9 different US states have been infected; strains of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- have been identified in 24 individuals and Salmonella Newport has been identified in 1 individual.

The following US states have been affected: Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, and California which reported the majority of the cases (9). An individual from Canada was also reported to be infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-.

According to the CDC, the illnesses started between May 11, 2017, and November 4, 2017; 6 of the individuals required hospitalization due to their illness. At press time, no associated deaths have been reported.

The investigators identified Coconut Tree Brand frozen shredded coconut as the source of the outbreak. Sixteen of the infected individuals were interviewed by investigators and 10 of them reported consuming coconut. Furthermore, 8 of the 10 individuals who reported eating coconut reported having "an Asian-style dessert drink" that contained the ingredient.

Evershing International Trading Company recalled all of its 16-ounce frozen coconut products on January 3, after Salmonella was identified in a sample of its coconut product that was obtained in a restaurant in Massachusetts.

“The frozen coconut linked to this outbreak was used as an ingredient in Asian-style dessert drinks served at restaurants. The product was also sold in grocery stores and markets in several states,” the report reads. “Frozen shredded coconut can last for several months if kept frozen and may still be in retail stores or in people’s homes.”

Most individuals who are infected with Salmonella tend to present with symptoms 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria, according to the CDC. Salmonella infections usually resolve on their own within 1 week with a treatment of oral fluids. More severe cases may require intravenous rehydration. Antibiotic treatment should only be considered in those patients with serious illness, “such as severe diarrhea, high fever, bloodstream infection, or condition requiring hospitalization,” or those who are, “considered at high risk for serious disease or complications, such as infants, adults over 65 years old, and people with weakened immune systems,” according to the CDC.

Although children under 5 are more likely to be infected with Salmonella, the CDC reports that the median age of individuals in this outbreak is 19.

The CDC urges anyone who has consumed frozen shredded coconut and is experiencing any of the following associated symptoms to contact their health care provider:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps

To stay up-to-date on the latest case counts associated with this outbreak, be sure to visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.