SALT LAKE CITY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising Americans to watch for symptoms of salmonella as a new outbreak grows rapidly without a clearly identified source.
The outbreak has sickened 40 Utahns so far and 212 people total, the CDC says, though more cases may be yet unreported.
"This outbreak is growing rapidly in size," the CDC wrote on its website. "A specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections."
The CDC "is not recommending that consumers avoid any particular food at this time."
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
Symptoms usually develop six hours to six days after exposure to the bacteria, the CDC says. The illness usually lasts from four to seven days, and most recover without treatment. However, 31 people nationwide have been hospitalized in connection with the current salmonella outbreak.
It has affected at least 23 states.
The CDC recommends people who have a salmonella infection:
- Talk to their healthcare provider.
- Write down the foods they ate the week before they got sick.
- Let the health department know about the illness.
- Answer questions from public health investigators. This may help them find the outbreak source and keep others from getting sick, too.
To prevent salmonella infection, the CDC recommends consumers:
- Clean: Frequently clean hands and surfaces. Before peeling, cutting or eating fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them.
- Separate: Keep foods you won't be cooking, like fresh fruit, greens and vegetables, away from raw meat, poultry and seafood
- Cook: Make sure foods you cook reach a temperature that is hot enough to kill the germs.
- Chill: Most perishable foods should be refrigerated within 2 hours; if it's 90 degrees or warmer outside, it should be refrigerated within 1 hour.