Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pre-Cut Melon Pops Up in 9 States


On April 12, 2019 a recall was issued by Caito Foods for pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau linked to pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods, LLC.

At this time, there have been 93 cases associated with this outbreak across 9 states. The onset of illness date ranges from March 4, 2019, to March 31, 2019. Information is available for 53 individuals and indicates that 23 have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported at this time. CDC also notes that the majority of the ill are over the age of 50 years.

The ill range in age from less than 1 year to 98 years, with a median age of 53; 57% of the ill are female. Affected individuals live in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

As part of the epidemiological investigation, the ill answered questions about their consumption and exposures in the week prior to becoming ill. Of the 39 interviewed people, 30 reported eating pre-cut melon purchased from grocery stores including pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, or fruit salad mix. Four other individuals reported eating pre-cut melon from outside the home.

Using this information, investigators contacted the grocery stores where the products were purchased and determined that Caito Foods supplied the melons to the stores.

The CDC also used the PulseNet system to identify cases of Salmonella connected to this outbreak, as the outbreak identified by PulseNet on April 2, 2019. DNA fingerprinting was also performed on bacteria from the ill via pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing. According to the outbreak report, the whole genome sequencing indicated that the isolates from the ill individuals were closely genetically related, indicating the ill likely share a common source of infection.

On April 12, 2019, a recall was issued by Caito Foods for pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing 1 of these melon products that were distributed from their facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In June 2018, a Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon distributed by Caito Foods was declared. The outbreak was resolved in late July, with a total of 77 cases, which resulted in 36 hospitalizations across 9 states.

Common symptoms associated with Salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If you are a health care provider practicing in one of the states affected by the outbreak, be cognizant of any patients who present with such symptoms.

The CDC will provide updates about the outbreak as information becomes available.

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