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Papaya Salmonella Outbreak

by John Gomez | Last Updated: July 29, 2011

The US Center for Disease Control has added two new victims to the list of those sickened with Salmonella Agona from contaminated papayas.  Since January 1, 2001 the nationwide total count of victims sickened with Salmoneela Agona from contaminated papayas sits at 99 victims in 23 different states.  The outbreaks are distributed throughout the states as follows:  Texas (25), Illinois (17), Georgia (8),New York (7), California (7), Washington (5), Arizona (3), Minnesota (3), Missouri (3), New Mexico (3), Louisiana (2), Nebraska (2), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (2), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (1), Colorado (1), Nevada (1),  Massachusetts (1),  New Jersey (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), and Tennessee (1).

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) samplings of the salmonella victims has already identified tow papaya samples with the Salmonella Agona strain in two of the salmonella victims.  One of these samples was collected at Agromod Produce, Inc. in McAllen, Texas and the other was collected at the United States border destined for Agromod Produce, Inc.  These papayas had been imported from Mexico.  The FDA, Agromod Produce Inc., and Mexican health officials are working closely together to find out how these papays became contaminated.

Texas-based Agromod Produce Inc. issued a nationwide recall of all papayas produced since January 1 under these brand names: Tastylicious, Blondie, Yaya, and Mananita.  The papayas were imported from three different states in Mexico and distributed to major retail, restaurant, and hotel chains across the United States and Canada.

This specific strain of Salmonella Agona associated with this outbreak is comprised of four closely related PFGE patterns that have been rarely identified before.  Three of these four PFGE patterns were first identified beginning in 2010.  A total of 119 cases from 14 states were reported between May 28, 2010, and September 10, 2010.  Distribution of age, sex, ethnicity, and state of residence among ill persons was similar to the distribution seen in the current outbreak.  The source of that outbreak was never determined, but now state officials are looking to see if there is a connection to the current outbreak.

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