Produce cone of silence? 275 sickened with Salmonella from cucumbers in US

Cucumbers don’t often show up on the food safety radar, unless they’re imported from Mexico, which has been linked to outbreaks of E. coli O157 and Salmonella.

cucumberNow the U.S. has its own homegrown outbreak of Salmonella on cucumbers, and maybe we missed something, but this is the first public notification.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in August 2014, PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance, detected a multistate cluster of Salmonella enterica serotype Newport infections with an indistinguishable pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern (XbaI PFGE pattern JJPX01.0061).

cone.of.silence.get.smartOutbreaks of illnesses associated with this PFGE pattern have previously been linked to consumption of tomatoes harvested from Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the Delmarva region and have not been linked to cucumbers or other produce items.

To identify the contaminated food and find the source of the contamination, CDC, state and local health and agriculture departments and laboratories, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory investigations. A total of 275 patients in 29 states and the District of Columbia were identified, with illness onsets occurring during May 20–September 30, 2014. genome sequencing (WGS), a highly discriminating subtyping method, was used to further characterize PFGE pattern JJPX01.0061 isolates. Epidemiologic, microbiologic, and product traceback evidence suggests that cucumbers were a source of Salmonella Newport infections in this outbreak. The epidemiologic link to a novel outbreak vehicle suggests an environmental reservoir for Salmonella in the Delmarva region that should be identified and mitigated to prevent future outbreaks.

 Outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections linked to cucumbers — United States, 2014

CDC MMWR 64(06);144-147

Kristina M. Angelo, Alvina Chu, Madhu Anand, Thai-An Nguyen, Lyndsay Bottichio, Matthew Wise, Ian Williams, Sharon Seelman, Rebecca Bell, Marianne Fatica, Susan Lance, Deanna Baldwin, Kyle Shannon, Hannah Lee, Eija Trees, Errol Strain, Laura Gieraltowski,