Salmonella Cases from Eating Raw Tomatoes Found in Florida, North Carolina

June 16, 2008

A Southwest Florida man is the state’s first victim of the salmonella outbreak tied to raw tomatoes.

State Health Department officials say the unidentified man got sick after eating tomatoes during a visit to New York.

Health Department spokeswoman Judi Spann said June 13 that this is the only case in Florida, so far. Officials are barred from providing any other information about the case, including the man’s condition.

North Carolina health officials say a North Carolina resident tested positive for the Salmonella strain that has been associated with eating contaminated tomatoes.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported June 12 the person is thought to have been exposed while traveling in Texas, which has had the highest number of cases in the country with 68. The person’s name was not released.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says the person did not require hospitalization and is said to be recovering.

North Carolina tomatoes have not been implicated in the outbreak.

Health officials say salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, particularly in young children, frail or elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.

Raw tomatoes have sickened 228 people in 23 states since mid-April.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is searching for the source of the salmonella, and says tainted tomatoes could have come from Florida. But all Florida tomatoes in grocery stores and fast food restaurants have been cleared as safe to eat.

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