Health officials are raising a red flag about whole, fresh papayas from Mexico amid a salmonella outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are warning consumers in six states to not eat the fruit, but also are advising distributors, restaurants and retailers “from all states to hold whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico,” the FDA said in a statement.
“This hold is intended to prevent or limit further distribution of potentially contaminated papayas that may already be in the supply chain until more information on the potential source of papayas linked to the outbreak becomes available,” the FDA said.
According to the CDC, there have been 62 reported cases from eight states since January. Twenty-three people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
“The hospitalization rate in this outbreak is 66% among people with information available,” the CDC said. “The hospitalization rate in Salmonella outbreaks is usually around 20%.”
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The consumer papaya warning is for Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. At this time, it does not apply to Florida and Texas, which each had one reported case.
“If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Rhode Island, do not eat whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico. Throw the papayas away, even if some of them were eaten and no one has gotten sick,” the CDC said. “Do not eat fruit salads or other foods that include papayas from Mexico.”
There have no recalls on Mexican papayas but the FDA said it is increasing import screening for whole, fresh papayas as it investigates the source of the outbreak.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, and they usually develop 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated product, according to the CDC.
Contributing: David M. Zimmer, North Jersey Record
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko