June 6, 2008
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A Contra Costa woman has been identified as having the same type of
Salmonella Saintpaul connected to an ongoing outbreak in several other
The California Department of Public Health confirmed Friday that the
woman had Salmonella Saintpaul, which has been linked to eating tomatoes.
The woman, who is over 35 and a Contra Costa resident, was not hospitalized
and has recovered. Contra Costa Public Health officials are still
investigating where the woman may have contracted the illness because she
had recently traveled to a state where several other cases have occurred.
Raw tomatoes are likely the source of the outbreak though the
specific variety and where they came from has not been confirmed but could
include Roma or red round tomatoes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consumers
limit their tomato consumption to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes
sold with the vine still attached and homegrown tomatoes.
Salmonella is a common illness and Contra Costa County averages about
123 cases annually, said Francie Wise, Communicable Disease Program Chief
for Contra Costa Health Services.
"The fact that a case in Contra Costa is connected to a larger
outbreak in other states is a reminder of the very mobile community in
which we live in and that fresh produce comes from many sources," Wise
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and
abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Infection is usually
diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts 4-7
days. Although people usually recover without treatment, severe infections
may occur. Infants, elderly persons, and those with impaired immune systems
are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe
infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the
bloodstream and then to other parts of the body, and can cause death.
If severe diarrhea last longer than two days in an adult, one day in
a child under four years old or eight hours in an infant under six months,
the person's health care provider should be consulted.
For more information about the outbreak, visit the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention website:
For more information on Contra Costa Health Services, visit
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