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Imported Cucumbers Linked to Salmonella Outbreak that Has Sickened 73 People in 18 States

Update Date: Apr 26, 2013 10:10 AM EDT

Cucumbers imported from Mexico have been linked to a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 73 people in 18 states. As a result, the country has blocked the firms linked to the outbreak from importing the produce until they can prove that it is no longer tainted with the bacteria.

According to NBC News, most of the victims were in the western portion of the United States. In fact, 28 of them lived in California, while the next hardest-hit state, Arizona, had nine victims. Though no one has died in the outbreak, USA Today reports that 27 percent of infected people, or 14 people, were hospitalized.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the outbreak began in early January, with the majority of cases occurring in early March. However, the health agency notes that, because of the amount of time that it may take for people to show symptoms of contamination, cases may still continue. The last known case of the Saintpaul strain of Salmonella occurred on April 6.

The source of the outbreak has been traced to two firms in Mexico called Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse, both from the area of Culiacan, the Los Angeles Times reports. The cucumbers were then distributed by Rico Rico of Arizona.

Because of the outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration has prevented the growers from importing any more cucumbers until they receive proof that they are no longer contaminated. In the meantime, the cucumbers from the firms have been removed from stores and can no longer be obtained on the market.

People who eat foods that have been tainted with Salmonella develop symptoms like abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting within one to three days of contamination. Though the illness can last for four to seven days, most people are able to recover without treatment. However, some people may require hospitalization, especially for effects like dehydration.

People with the greatest risk of severe cases of Salmonella are children younger than five years old, elderly adults and people whose immune systems have already been compromised.

A recent report issued by the CDC found that produce was the greatest culprit for food poisoning because people often eat them raw.

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