New Mexicans Encouraged To Continue Eating Tomatoes Only From Safe List

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The New Mexico Department of Health urges New Mexicans to continue to follow national advice on eating only tomatoes that come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s safe list. Tomatoes continue to be the most common food under investigation that sick patients have eaten. The federal investigation is also looking into whether other ingredients commonly found in salsa could be associated with the national Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak.

“It’s important for you to eat tomatoes only if you know they came from a safe source,” said Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil. “We will continue to give people the best information we have at any given time to protect their health.”

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The Department of Health keeps working with federal investigators to help determine the source of the Salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 800 people across the country, including 97 people in 19 counties of New Mexico. At least 24 individuals from New Mexico have been hospitalized, and no one has died.

New Mexico patients report becoming sick between May 11 and June 20. So far, the number of cases peaked on May 23. New Mexico has not had clusters of cases around certain restaurants as other states have.

“Federal investigators are being prudent in considering other food items as possibly linked to the Salmonella outbreak,” Dr. Vigil said. “There could be other food involved in this outbreak, but evidence from sick patients also still point to tomatoes. These types of investigations are very difficult because people may not be aware of all the ingredients in foods or remember all the food items they ate.”

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. Some people may need hospitalization due to severe diarrhea. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

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