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The CDC Says These Foods May Be The Source of a 29-State Salmonella Outbreak

Cilantro, lime, and onion found in a takeout container may be to blame.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been investigating a Salmonella outbreak since the beginning of September that has infected 279 people in 29 states and resulted in 26 hospitalizations, and so far three foods have been identified as a possible source.

In an update posted on Sept. 24, the CDC says that samples were taken by state and local officials from restaurants where the sick people ate and that a takeout condiment cup containing cilantro and lime tested positive for the bacteria. A sick person also said onion was also present in the container, but officials say none was inside during testing. However, because nothing is confirmed as to the exact source, there is no recall of any of the three foods yet.

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"Because multiple food items were present in the container and in the sample that was tested, it is not possible to know which food item was contaminated," the CDC says in the alert. "We are using this information in conjunction with other available information to help narrow the list of possible foods linked to illness."

Related: These Two Serious Nationwide Food Recalls Were Just Announced

Of the individuals who are part of this cilantro, lime, or onion Salmonella outbreak, 81 live in Texas, 40 live in Oklahoma, 23 in Illinois, 22 in Virginia, and 19 in Minnesota. The first reported illness was on Aug. 3, with a majority of cases popping up a few weeks later at the end of the month and into early September. The CDC says this is common, as it usually takes about three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

Yet the total number of infections could be higher than 279 for two reasons. One because some people who recover from Salmonella poisoning may not even be tested for it. And two because symptoms can also take up to six days to develop. These include diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, dizziness, and a fever. The CDC says that should you feel any of these, talk to your healthcare provider, write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick, and report the illness to your local health department.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda
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