Joe P. Asher
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family services has issued an advisory concerning salmonella in melons originating in southwestern Indiana.
According to a press release from Health and Family services, “The Department of Public Health (DPH) today reported that cantaloupes tested in the state public health laboratory carry the same strain of salmonella associated with a statewide outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.”
Cabinet for Health and Family Services Public Information Officer Beth Fisher explains the dangers of such an outbreak.
“The state Department for Public Health, working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella that our state lab has been able to link to cantaloupes,” said Fisher. “We know this particular strain has affected 50 Kentuckians, it’s considered a statewide outbreak which means we have observed this outbreak across the state.”
Fisher pointed out most of the cases have been found in western Kentucky.
“The majority of the cases have been concentrated in western Kentucky around the Owensboro area and the counties surrounding Owensboro — the far western counties,” said Fisher. “There have been two deaths associated with this outbreak and those two cases were from the western part of the state as well.”
According to Fisher, there have been cases outside of western Kentucky.
“It is a statewide outbreak, the majority of the cases are in western Kentucky, but we’ve seen cases in central and eastern Kentucky as well,” said Fisher.
Fisher explained the melons containing the illness have been traced to Indiana.
“The state lab was able to test two cantaloupes and they had a positive genetic match to this particular strain,” said Fisher. “Those cantaloupes have been traced to southwestern Indiana. If you believe you are in possession of cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana you should definitely discard those cantaloupes. If you’re unclear about where your cantaloupes come from and you are unable to obtain that information, when in doubt don’t eat them.”
According to Fisher, it is important to see a health care provider if salmonella is suspected.
“If you start to observe any symptoms, cramping, stomach problems, diarrhea, those types of things and you suspect you might have salmonella definitely follow up with your health care provider,” said Fisher. “Health care providers who believe they have patients that could be associated with this particular strain or believe they could be a victim of food borne illness should follow up with the local health department.”
The Harlan County Health Department confirmed they are unaware of any cases of salmonella in Harlan County.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com