By SARA ARTHURS
A Hancock County woman was among those sickened by a multistate salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Caito Foods LLC on Friday recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fruit medleys containing at least one of those melons that were produced at its facility in Indianapolis, the Associated Press reported.
The salmonella outbreak in eight states has been linked to pre-cut melon sold at Walmart, Costco, Jay C, Payless, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens and Kroger stores. It started around the end of April and has spread into Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Missouri.
The Ohio Department of Health confirmed to The Courier on Monday that Ohio’s sole case of salmonella infection linked to this outbreak was a 73-year-old Hancock County woman who became ill in May and was hospitalized.
However, it wasn’t until Friday that the CDC announced the connection to the multistate outbreak, said Karim Baroudi, Hancock Public Health commissioner.
He said one of the core functions of public health is to follow up on infectious disease.
“That’s why we exist,” he said.
Healthy individuals infected with salmonella generally experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. But salmonella can produce serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
The CDC’s website states that, as of Thursday, 66 percent of the salmonella patients had been hospitalized and no deaths had been reported.
It takes an average of two to four weeks from the time a person becomes ill until the illness is reported, so illnesses that occurred after May 20 might not yet be counted, the CDC website states.
Epidemiologist Chad Masters said Hancock Public Health has been in contact with the family of the woman who got sick, and his understanding is that she is recovering.
Masters said he didn’t know where the woman purchased her melon.
Anyone who bought pre-cut melon or any items containing pre-cut melon from any of the stores is being urged to throw the product away.
Hancock Public Health is also contacting local businesses listed in the recall issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Due to the possibility that products shipped between April 17 and June 7 could still be on store shelves, this recall extends to both retailers and consumers.
Anyone seeking further information can call 844-467-7278 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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