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Press Release

Contra Costa Salmonella case linked to multi-state outbreak

June 6, 2008

A Contra Costa woman has been identified as having the same type of Salmonella Saintpaul connected to an ongoing outbreak in several other states.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed Friday that the woman had Salmonella Saintpaul, which has been linked to eating tomatoes. The woman, who is over 35 and a Contra Costa resident, was not hospitalized and has recovered. Contra Costa Public Health officials are still investigating where the woman may have contracted the illness because she had recently traveled to a state where several other cases have occurred.

Raw tomatoes are likely the source of the outbreak though the specific variety and where they came from has not been confirmed but could include Roma or red round tomatoes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consumers limit their tomato consumption to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and homegrown tomatoes.

Salmonella is a common illness and Contra Costa County averages about 123 cases annually, said Francie Wise, Communicable Disease Program Chief for Contra Costa Health Services.

"The fact that a case in Contra Costa is connected to a larger outbreak in other states is a reminder of the very mobile community in which we live in and that fresh produce comes from many sources," Wise said.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts 4-7 days. Although people usually recover without treatment, severe infections may occur. Infants, elderly persons, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body, and can cause death.

If severe diarrhea last longer than two days in an adult, one day in a child under four years old or eight hours in an infant under six months, the person's health care provider should be consulted.

For more information about the outbreak, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

For more information on Contra Costa Health Services, visit

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