What is Salmonella bacteria infection that has seen over 640 cases in U.S?

By: |
August 14, 2020 3:17 PM

The efforts at tracking all the stock of contaminated onion shipped from the company is meeting little success as the vegetable had also been shipped in packages of multi ingredient food products making the job difficult.

The infection could pose serious trouble in some cases causing fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in stool among others. (Credit: Indian Express)

Salmonella bacteria infection which has been linked to Onion has become a new cause of concern in the United States of America and Canada with health agencies in both the North American countries asking their citizens to not buy the onion supplied by the California-based Thomson International Inc, according to an Indian Express report.

What is Salmonella bacteria infection?
The salmonella bacteria in question is found in animals and its entry into the human body can cause salmonellosis, an infection that directly targets the human intestine. The infection could pose serious trouble in some cases causing fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in stool among others. The symptoms of the disease lasts for anything between 2-7 days and in some cases the bowel function could take months to regain normalcy.

Like the spread of Coronavirus, this infection also targets children and elderly citizens the most severely. It can also transmit from one person to another via contaminated water or food. In the present case, the disease is being spread through the contaminated onions which have been cultivated by Thomson International Inc. However, the mortality rate from the disease is less than 1 per cent.

How did the infection spread?
The spread of supply and distribution of the contaminated onions came to light on August 1 when the US Food and Drug Regulator (FDA) said that the company had decided to recall the white, yellow, red, and sweet yellow onions it had been shipped since the month of May. Spread all over the 50 states of the US, Canada and some parts of Columbia, the distribution chain of the company ranged from distributors, wholesalers, retailers including big chains like Walmart. The efforts at tracking all the stock of contaminated onion shipped from the company is meeting little success as the vegetable had also been shipped in packages of multi ingredient food products making the job difficult. Initially, only red onion was feared to have got contaminated but later on anticipating cross-breed infection, the company rescinded the entire supply of onion.

How many cases of infection have been traced?
According to the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so far 640 cases of infection have been traced spanning over 43 states of the US. Similarly, 239 cases have been traced in Canada. While many of the patients required to be hospitalised, none have succumbed to the infection so far.

What measures have been taken to curb the infection?
Both the US as well as Canadian governments have advised their citizens not to consume any variety of onion if they are not sure where the onion was produced. Instructions have also been issued to the restaurant and hotel owners not to use the onion with Thomas International Inc label in the food they serve to their customers.

In the coming days the number of infections are expected to increase as the symptoms of the disease surface after a period of 1-6 days. The US food regulator FDA has said that their investigation is on and further inputs will be shared soon.

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