OK…so we’ve heard about the nationwide Salmonella outbreak of recalled peanut butter products, but what are the symptoms of this foodborne illness?
Symptoms include: diarrhea, sudden onset of headache, fever and abdominal pain. Nausea and vomiting can also occur. These symptoms can last for several days. Salmonellosis (the official name) can be most severe in infants, young children, the elderly and in people whose immune systems are compromised.
Diagnosis is made by a stool culture, and treatment usually consists of supportive care in preventing dehydration and controlling fever and pain. Antibiotics are reserved for severe complicated illness. Symptoms usually last 5-7 days.
As of January 21st, there are 488 confirmed cases of Salmonellosis in 43 states with 8 deaths. In Colorado there are 12 cases with one hospitalization. Brand name jars are not thought to contain Salmonella (at least as far as we know). The products of concern are primarily cookies, crackers, and ice cream that incorporate “peanut paste” produced by the American Peanut Corporation located in Blakely Georgia.
Peanuts are produced in three major geographic areas of the United States: the Southeast (Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Oklahoma), Virginia and the Carolinas, and the Southwest (New Mexico, Texas). Out of all of these geographical regions, Georgia is the leading peanut producer in the United States (followed by Texas), which is why this outbreak is such a concern.
Make sure to call your health practitioner if you develop any symptoms of Salmonellosis, and of course, avoid peanut butter products for now.