State health officials are investigating two cases of salmonellosis linked to a regional outbreak of the disease involving pre-cut melon sold at Oregon and Washington grocery stores.
The Oregon cases—one each in Multnomah and Wasco counties—appear to be connected to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections that also involves 16 ill people in Washington. None of the Oregon cases were hospitalized.
Individuals who fell ill reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe or watermelon purchased at Kroger stores, including Fred Meyer and QFC, as well as Rosauers and Central Market stores in Washington and Oregon. Their symptoms occurred between Oct. 29 and Nov. 15.
The two Oregon cases reported purchasing products from Fred Meyer stores in Oregon. Federal regulatory officials are investigating to determine the origin of the Salmonella contamination. Meanwhile, public health officials in Oregon and Washington are advising people who purchased the products between Oct. 25 and Dec. 1 to immediately throw them away. Persons who ate the melon do not need to seek medical attention unless they become ill.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps one to three days after exposure. Salmonellosis is usually diagnosed by laboratory testing of a stool sample, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.
Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections can occur. Infants, elderly people, and those with weakened 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 body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Each year, 400 to 500 cases of salmonellosis are reported in Oregon, including 15 cases of Salmonella Newport annually between 2006 and 2015. Testing of patients’ Salmonella strains by Oregon and Washington State Public Health Laboratories indicated a common origin for the Salmonella Newport strains in this outbreak.