Oklahoma now second in U.S. in onion-related salmonella cases

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State and national health officials are warning Oklahomans of a salmonella outbreak now traced back to onions. ProSource Produce has issued a voluntary recall of onions, which have been identified as the source of that outbreak in 37 states.

Oklahoma is now second in the country with 100 infections, only behind Texas with 165. The state also has 15 hospitalizations. Nationally, there have been 652 infections and 129 hospitalizations.

State Epidemiologist Jolianne Stone says salmonella outbreaks aren’t uncommon, but what is uncommon is an outbreak that’s concentrated in our area. She’s also imploring Oklahomans to take the warning seriously, because it can create issues — especially for those with underlying conditions.

“In individuals younger than 5 or greater than 65 years of age, they may be at more risk for severe illness,” she said. “You can have salmonella that can sometimes get in your blood, especially if you’re immune compromised.”

She also says symptoms can linger, in some cases even longer than a week, even in the more mild cases.

“The most common symptoms of salmonella are gonna be diarrhea and fever,” she said. “You will have some nausea and vomiting…and they do last for a number of days. So it’s not like a 24-hour bug like you may typically see.”

The onions come from Chihuahua, Mexico. That’s partly why it’s affecting Texas and Oklahoma more than other states.

Stone says you should look through your pantry and discard any onions with a ProSource label.

“If you have onions like me that might be sitting on your counter that have no label on them, and you’re not sure, given the extent of illnesses here in Oklahoma and Texas, it would be recommended to go ahead and discard those onions as well,” she said.

Stone adds that they have received many questions on whether people can just cook the bacteria out of the onions, but that’s not advised.

“There’s not a guarantee that it’ll be cooked thoroughly or that it will be safe to eat even after cooking,” she said. “Just go ahead and discard it.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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