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Salmonella outbreak tied to raw salmon sold in California, Arizona

(File: Getty)

(NEXSTAR) – More than 30 people have been sickened in a salmonella outbreak that investigators have traced to raw salmon from a California- and Arizona-based seafood distributor.

So far 21 people in California, 11 in Arizona and one in Illinois are confirmed cases, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but the tainted product may have reached additional states. Thirteen of those who fell sick had to be hospitalized but all survived.

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. “This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella.”

Investigators spoke with 16 people, 12 of whom recalled eating sushi, sashimi or poke. Eleven people were able to remember the type of fish they ate and nine confirmed that it was raw salmon. FDA investigators used that information to trace the cases back to fish distributed by Mariscos Bahia, in Pico Rivera, California, and Phoenix, Arizona. Genome sequencing tests are ongoing, but at least one swab at the Mariscos Bahia facility matched the outbreak strain.

The FDA warns that other types of fish processed there – including halibut, sea bass, tuna and swordfish – might have been contaminated as well.

The raw salmon was sent to restaurants in California and Arizona, and Mariscos Bahia said it wasn’t sold for retail. The distributor has agreed to a voluntary recall, according to the FDA, and will be contacting the customers who received recalled product.

Restaurants are urged to stop selling salmon or other types of fish purchased from Mariscos Bahia on or after June 14, 2022. If the fish was frozen for future use, it should not be sold or served.

Diners in California and Arizona should ask the restaurant if any salmon, halibut, Chilean sea bass, tuna or swordfish came from Mariscos Bahia, and whether or not it arrived fresh or frozen, before eating it, the FDA says.

Salmonella cases are usually accompanied by diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps that set in anytime between six hours and six days after swallowing the bacteria. People under the age of 5, over 64 or with weakened immune systems may get severely ill and require hospitalization.

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