August 18/Atlanta/Scripps Howard News Service -- California and Nevada patients stricken with typhoid fever may be part of a rare outbreak of the disease linked to a frozen tropical fruit product used to make milkshakes and smoothies.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta last week confirmed seven cases of typhoid fever -- three in California and four in Nevada. Two additional cases are under investigation but are considered "probable," CDC officials said.
A San Francisco patient, whom public health officials would not identify, was hospitalized briefly but has since fully recovered, said Dr. Susan Fernyak, director of communicable disease control and prevention at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The woman has been linked to the product, but her case has not yet been confirmed as part of the outbreak.
Virtually all victims contracted the disease outside the United States.
"It's not rare in the developing world, but it's unusual in the U.S., outside of someone who has had some association with international travel," Fernyak said.
Nationwide, only about 400 cases of typhoid fever are reported each year, according to the CDC. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21.5 million people each year.
Symptoms include fever, headache and muscle aches, often requiring hospitalization, and occasionally resulting in death. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Typhoid fever, caused by a type of bacteria called Salmonella typhi, is contracted when food and water are contaminated by an infected individual and are then consumed by other people. The illness can develop up to five weeks after ingestion.
People who think they might have become ill from eating frozen mamey fruit pulp should consult their health care providers immediately.
CDC officials said the illnesses began between April 10 and July 23. Infected individuals range in age from 4-31 years old.
From the August 19, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
For more of the latest news from the food and beverage industry, visit Prepared Foods' Daily News