Two Cases of Salmonella in Tulare County

January 21, 2009 8:50:41 PM PST
The Tulare County Health Department announced two people have become sick from Salmonella Typhimurium, and is now testing to determine the source of the contamination.State health officials are now reporting California has the largest number of food poisoning cases in a salmonella outbreak linked to peanuts. Of the nearly 500 cases across the country, 62 are in California.

Doctors here at the Tulare County Health Department can't say which city the cases were reported in for confidentiality reasons, but they say the two people likely reported the symptoms to their doctor who notified the Health Department.

Health officials in Tulare County have submitted tests to the state taken from two local people who got sick from salmonella poisoning. Doctors believe the outbreak is connected to a nationwide outbreak linked to contaminated peanut butter.

"Recently we've had two cases of salmonella typhimurium here in Tulare we don't have the results back on the complete source investigation," said Health Services Director Ray Bullick.

Federal health officials believe the peanut butter was manufactured at a plant in Georgia owned by Peanut Corporation of America. The plant makes peanut paste that's used in a number of cookie or cracker products found in most grocery stores.

The Food and Drug Administration is advising people not to eat products like Oreos with peanut butter creme, Chips Ahoy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk and Little Dutch Maid Peanut Butter Creme Cookies.

Paul Young, the grocery manager at RN Market in Visalia, has already taken the products in question off the shelves. "We have it taken in the back room it's tagged in a certain area and it's blocked off so nobody will use it."

Health officials said most national brands of jar peanut butter is completely safe to eat. Young and other employees and customers are concerned that more people in Tulare County could become sick from recalled products. "Of course it's kind of scary because it's pretty local because it's right here around us. But you kind of just say make sure we take our product off the shelf that we know is affected."

Kern County has three salmonella cases right now.

Tulare County health officials said they'll know by Monday if the two cases here are directly related to the national peanut butter recall. Right now, they say the two are doing well, continuing to recover and are being closely monitored by their doctors.

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