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7 cases of Salmonella infection linked to onions in Ottawa County

Update: The Ottawa County Department of Public Health says 7 cases have been confirmed, not 10 as the department previously reported.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich — Update, 8/5/2020:

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health says that seven Salmonella infection cases linked to onions have been confirmed in Ottawa County. 

Previously, the department reported 10 cases. 

The department's Communications Specialist and Public Information Officer Kristina Wieghmink said the three additional cases reported earlier were determined to be out of jurisdiction or under review.

"The contaminated onions from Thomson International Inc could still be in homes and people should throw them out or any onions if they do not know where they're from," Weighmink said. 

"Symptoms usually begin 6 hours to 6 days after infection and last 4 to 7 days. If someone believes they may have been infected, we ask for them to contact us to help our investigation."

Original Story, 8/3/2020:

Ottawa County has 10 confirmed cases of Salmonella infection linked to a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella in onions, according to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.

The CDC announced July 31 that the outbreak is associated with onion types from Thompson International Inc. Affected onion types include red, white, yellow and sweet varieties.

Nationally, 396 cases have been reported in 34 states, according to the CDC. 59 people have been hospitalized due to Salmonella infection, but no deaths have been reported.

If residence of Ottawa County experience symptoms of Salmonella infection, they are asked to report their illness to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health and talk to a healthcare provider.

Those who report their illness can expect a call from the department, during which they will be asked to answer questions about their illness and foods they ate before becoming sick.

“This information is vital for public health officials to identify the source of this outbreak and to take steps to prevent additional illnesses,” a statement from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health reads.  

Below is a list of symptoms associated with Salmonella infection, as provided by the CDC:

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 6 hours to 6 days after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

The CDC also recommends the following:

  • At home, check your refrigerator and kitchen for any of these onions or fresh foods made with them.
    • Check the package or look for a sticker on an onion to see if it is from Thomson International, Inc. If it is, don’t eat it. Throw it away.
    • If you can’t tell where your onions are from, don’t eat them. Throw them away.
    • If you made any foods with onions and you don’t know where they are from, do not eat them. Throw them away, even if no one got sick.
    • Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops, refrigerator drawers, knives, and cutting boards.
  • When you eat out or shop for food, check with restaurants and grocery stores to make sure they are not serving or selling onions from Thomson International Inc., or fresh foods prepared with them.
    • If they don’t know where their onions are from, don’t buy the product.
    • People sickened in this outbreak reported eating raw onions in freshly prepared foods, including salads, sandwiches, wraps, salsas, and dips.

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