The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationExternal are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS showed that isolates from ill people were closely relatedly genetically. This means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.
The multistate investigation began on April 2, 2019, when PulseNet identified the outbreak. As of April 24, 2019, 117 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Carrau have been reported from 10 states – Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Alabama.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 4, 2019, to April 8, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than one to 98 years, with a median age of 53. Fifty-eight percent are female. Of 88 people with information available, 32 (36%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 weeks.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods LLC of Indianapolis, Ind. is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Forty-six (73%) of 63 people interviewed reported eating pre-cut melons purchased at grocery stores, including pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, or a fruit salad mix or fruit tray with melon. Five additional people reported eating pre-cut melon outside the home.
Information collected from stores where ill people shopped indicates that Caito Foods LLC supplied pre-cut melon to these stores. On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods, Inc. recalledExternal pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Ind.