3 isle salmonella cases linked to peanut taint


POSTED: Sunday, February 01, 2009

Three salmonella infections in Hawaii associated with peanut butter or products with peanut butter have been reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Janice Okubo, state Health Department spokeswoman, said the salmonella in the three cases “;has the same footprint”; as the strain caused by peanuts.

One case in November and two in December are “;genetically linked”; to the type in the peanut cases, she said.

She said the source of salmonella wasn't confirmed in the Hawaii cases. “;All three were interviewed and we were not able to find a link.”;

All three recovered from the illness, she said.

As of Jan. 28, 529 people from 43 states and one person from Canada had been reported infected with the peanut-related strain, according to the CDC.

In a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Thursday, the CDC said 116 patients were hospitalized with the salmonella infections from Sept. 1 to Jan. 16 and the infection might have contributed to eight deaths. The average age of the patients was 16, it reported.

It said studies “;have indicated significant associations between illness and consumption of any peanut butter and specific brands of prepackaged peanut butter crackers, but no association with national brand jarred peanut butter sold in grocery stories.”;

Findings indicate peanut butter and peanut paste produced at one plant - the Peanut Corp. of America in Blakely, Ga. - and used as ingredients in foods by other companies are the source of the outbreak, the CDC said.

Although reported cases have decreased in recent weeks, the outbreak appears to be continuing, it said, recommending that consumers not eat any peanut butter or products with peanuts that have been recalled.

Recalled products are listed on the Food and Drug Administration Web site at http://www.fda.gov/ oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html. Information also is available by calling (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636).