Papaya from Mexico is responsible for a deadly Salmonella outbreak that has killed one person and hospitalized a dozen more.
Yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico have been tied to the Salmonella Kiambu strain, according to the US Food & Drug Administration, with 47 people infected, 12 of them hospitalized. Salmonella illnesses tied to the papayas have been confirmed in Texas, Louisiana, Utah, Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.
The illnesses began being reported May 17, 2017 with people ranging in age from less than 1 year to 95; the Salmonella Kiambu-related death was reported in New York City.
Caribena brand papayas have been identified as one brand linked to the outbreak; the FDA says more brands will be announced once the information is available.
Grande Produce announced a limited recall of Caribena brand papayas distributed from July 10, 2017 to July 19, but the FDA recommends avoiding ALL Caribena brand Maradol papayas. The fruit are green before they turn yellow — the FDA says they should not be eaten no matter what their color.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends people not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell Maradol papayas from Mexico until more is known. If you’ve had papaya in your home, wash and sanitize counter tops, drawers, refrigerator shelves, or any place papaya have been stored.
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, stomach pain, and abdominal cramps and usually occur 12 to 72 hours after being infected.
Children younger than five years are at the highest risk of contracting Salmonella, along with the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
Talk to a health care provider if you think you may be ill from eating possibly contaminated papayas or have diarrhea for more than three days, especially accompanying any of the other symptoms.